Frequently Asked Questions
Q) How much does it cost to begin commercial production of my recipe?
Costs vary significantly from recipe to recipe. A dry rub using inexpensive ingredients that do not require cooking would be much cheaper than a recipe that utilizes lots of expensive ingredients and requires a considerable amount of cooking. Foods that must remain in cold storage have higher overheads than those stored at room temperature. At FTC we recommend a conservative approach and suggest you produce minimal amounts of product and replenish your inventory in a staircase manner as your sales increase.
The same conservative method should apply to selecting your container/packaging, labels and in controlling your GA (general administrative) costs.
Q) How does FTC shortcut the process of starting a food business?
FTC uses a network of certified food industry professionals to expedite the conversion of your recipe into a Manufacturer's Formula, generate your Nutritional Facts & Ingredients Statements, Shelf Life Testing, etc.
Our certified affiliates provide prompt food analysis and documentation at discounted rates but the actual amount involved in the testing process varies from recipe to recipe. Your FTC consultant will explain the applicable analysis required for your food product and the individual timeframe needed for each recipe's completion.
Q) How do I know my recipe won't be stolen?
FTC provides you with a comprehensive Nondisclosure Agreement before any specific information about your secret recipe is requested. The only people who will ever see your recipe are FTC consultants and our affiliates performing the analysis and/or batch quotes. We do not retain your recipe in our database and six months after completion of your projects, destroy all sensitive materials relating to your secret recipe.
Q) Suppose I want to sell to restaurants instead of grocery stores, is there any difference?
Most of the analysis and documentation required by the FDA apply to both stores & restaurants. Your product must be produced in a commercially viable, FDA approved manner within state and federal food safety guidelines in order to be sold to the public. When selling to the food service industry (restaurants, caterers, delis, etc) you may be required to carry additional liability insurance (which is very affordable) and some restaurant & hotel chains require inspection of your facility before issuance of a purchase order. The food service industry is appealing because they generally purchase larger volumes of product and the container/labeling costs are usually greatly reduced when compared to product packaged for retail sale in stores & online vendors.
Q) What's my first step?
Getting your recipe on paper is the first thing to do and is one of the most
important things to start with. This is called "setting your recipe." Every
pinch, dollop, smidgeon, dash and drop of your ingredients must be weighed
and accounted for, regardless what your product is. Invest in a digital
scale and weigh everything in grams, list your ingredients with the gram
weight next to each. Then write down the steps you take for every aspect of
the recipe. Cooking times, intervals for adding ingredients, setting times,
etc all must be detailed. Once you have completed this step, you're on your
way. FTC will provide you with a Service Agreement and a Nondisclosure
Agreement prior to providing recipe data forms to you.
Q) Do I have to get a UPC code?
Yes! Everyone in food industry uses barcodes now. In fact, you will need more than one. Regardless whether you intend to sell to retailers (stores) or food service (restaurants) you will need UPCs. Stores will often want two or three barcodes for each product. One for the individual unit which appears on every product label, one for a case purchase and perhaps a third for a pallet sized purchase (should you land a big account who orders by the pallet). UPC codes are utilized by your wholesale customers to track inventory and generate payments to you. UPC usage is not optional, you must secure barcodes. If you need help in this, just ask your FTC consultant for directions. This service is provided free of charge.