Before you even began working in the food industry, you knew that the products you turned out could only be as good as the ingredients you put into them. Keeping high standards for your inputs will help you maintain the quality and consistency of your final product. Here are four ways to make sure that happens.
Use Quality, Local Sourcing
There are lots of ways to cut costs in the food industry, but there are no good options for cutting corners. That’s especially true of your ingredients. Backing down to a lower grade or getting ingredients shipped further is a recipe for nothing but problems. Verify the quality of ingredients as you begin to use them. If they’re not up to your standards, find a new source. Buy locally to reduce transit times and your carbon footprint. This can also help you avoid delays from major traffic disruptions like snowstorms and hurricanes.
Follow Proper Storage Procedures
Food ingredients have a number of natural enemies, mainly moisture and temperature. Sunlight is also a potential problem. Talk with suppliers about special storage guidelines for the products you buy from them. Ensure that your employees are using good sense, too; it does no good to store your kaiser buns at optimum temperature and humidity if the trays collapse after being stacked haphazardly.
The most fundamental thing you learn working in food service management is how to handle inventory. If you order too much of an input, costly ingredients spoil before they can be used. If you order too little, you run out and must stop production. Study your use carefully. Understand seasonal trends and adjust orders accordingly. Ensure strict rotation of stock to make sure the oldest viable ingredients are used first.
Every input for your products should be checked for quality. Never assume that the ingredients you buy today are as good as they were a month ago or a year ago. Make sure that your inputs maintain the same handling characteristics and lead to consistent quality in the final product. If a supplier begins to decline in quality, start looking for a new source that sustains better standards.
The final products heading out the door carry your company’s name, but they were made with ingredients that shipped in under someone else’s. As you manage ingredients, remember that your products can only be as good as the products behind them.