Starting your own food business can be daunting however, there are many options available to assist you along your journey. Here we give information on the various resources and agencies that will make the process easier for you;
First things first, contact the HSE, they will put you in contact with an appropriate competent authority to register your business which is most often your local Environmental Health Officer (EHO). All food businesses must be registered regardless of the size or where it is operated from - be it your own home, a food truck or a kitchen unit.
Once you have identified the premises you wish to operate from, your EHO will offer you advice on the health and safety aspects of your business and on your proposed plans and ideas. Your EHO will clarify any queries you have regarding your legal obligations under food safety laws and regulations including design and layout, training and food safety management systems. It is always a good idea to engage with a professional food safety officer as they have proven experience and knowledge on meeting the necessary requirements.
Local Enterprise Office (LEO)
Contact your Local Enterprise Office. Your LEO will give you advice and mentoring and provide you with business plans and training programmes to help you find your feet.
Dublin Food chain
The Dublin Food Chain is a marketing and network forum that represents many food/beverage businesses in Dublin. The Dublin Food Chain is a collaborative initiative of Bord-Bia and Local Enterprise Offices in Dublin. They support and mentor SMEs through their journey of starting a food business.
Dublin Food Chain offer:
The Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI)
The FSAI offer information on legislation and regulations that are vital when starting a food business. They offer advice and information on food safety training, how to set up your food safety management system, labeling regulations, nutritional content information, and advice on the correct steps involved in product withdrawal/recall.
The FSAI host seminars such as ‘Small Food Business Start-Ups’ where they assist small food businesses or those with the hopes to start a food business. The seminar allows participants to gain advice and hear talks from experts on how to manage food safety, what to expect from an inspection, registering a small food business and information of food safety regulations.
Bord-Bia offers consulting services for SMEs to help improve their strategic capabilities and have a number of specific initiatives;
Bord-Bia vantage: this is an online resource center for small food businesses. It provides information for early stage food businesses including financial product development distributor and export information.
Bord-Bia's Brand Forum: Works with Irish food and drink companies to develop and grow their brands and their business. It provides its members with a range of branding tools that are consumer centric and commercially pragmatic. The Forum provides practical thought leadership and best practise in branding.
The Brand Forum hosts quarterly events, which present its members with an opportunity to step back from daily challenges to be inspired, informed and to connect with industry colleagues. The Brand Forum Events give the opportunity to participants to hear from expert brand speakers from food/beverage industries worldwide. They provide talks from expert grant speakers from the food industry as well as Q&A sessions.
The Kick start your own food business programme
This is a short two day programme that accommodates those with a food idea or those at the very early stages of starting a food business. This programme will provide participants with useful information for starting up a food business.
The covered topics include:
· The role of various agencies such as LEO and Bord-Bia.
· Food safety (HACCP, Nutritional content, labelling)
· The finances involved in setting up your own food business.
· Information of the Irish food sector
· Identification of the pit falls associated with starting your food business
· The role of packaging and branding
· Distribution options and direct selling.
The Food Academy Programme
The Food Academy programme’s aim is to provide small food businesses with a solid foundation to progress on to retail shelves. The ‘Food Academy’ programme promotes entrepreneurship and is designed for people looking to develop and grow their food/beverage business. It is a collaboration between SuperValu, Bord-Bia and The Local Enterprise Office. It is the next step after the ‘kick start your food business programme’ and is delivered through one-to-one mentoring and workshops. The programme involves four workshops where participants will cover six modules.
The modules include the following topics:
· Market Background
· Understanding Consumers
· Technical Issues
· Growing sales
The participants are given the opportunity to pitch their idea to a panel of SuperValu representatives and will then receive mentorship and expert advice from the panelists, allowing them make any necessary changes to ensure their success. Participants are given the opportunity to trial their product in their local stores over a 12 week period. This allows businesses get real, honest feed-back from consumers.
Over the last two years Newmarket Kitchen has facilitated the start up and growth of a number of Irish food businesses. From small, artisan brands to large caterers and everything in between.
The number one problem for a lot of food startups is the cost required to set up. You've got to find a suitable HSE approved facility, purchase expensive kitchen equipment, pay for electricity, gas, water, waste, wi-fi and pest control. All before producing a single product.
Enter Newmarket Kitchen, a food incubator for Irish food businesses. For one monthly payment, Newmarket Kitchen provides everything you need to set up and grow your business. Allowing you to focus on what's most important, producing the best possible product.
Check out the infographic below to see some of our achievements over the past twelve months and why, more than ever, there is a need for food incubators such as Newmarket Kitchen.
A co-packer is a company that manufactures and packages foods or other products for their clients. Services can additionally include: research & development, warehousing, distribution, and other assistance depending on the company.
Why Use a Co-Packer?
How Do I Find the Right Co-Packer?
Make a list of co-packers in your area that manufacture products similar to yours and set up interviews with them.
WHEN INTERVIEWING CO-PACKERS:
• Know your production costs.
• Make sure your business plan is up to date. This should include a marketing timeline that details projected sales by month, quarter, and year to gauge your ordering pattern. Prepare the following information for your meeting with a potential co-packer:
• Product specifications (SPECS): These are the characteristics that identify your product. These include: name, description, weight, packaging, nutritional values, labeling, and product ID # (UPC number).
• Process Instructions: Describe how your product is currently made. Detail specifics such as “mix ingredients gently for 1 minute” or “heating mixture to a temperature of 230°F.” This information will help your co-packer match their processing equipment to the manufacture of your product.
• Ingredients: List all components and necessary specifications. (Ex: “dried fruit, diced – ½”.”) Also, make sure to ask who is responsible for sourcing, ordering, and storing the ingredients.
• Product testing: If you haven’t already, run tests to determine shelf life and stability. Outside labs can be utilized to determine the needs for product stability and food safety.
• Professional Advice: Consult with your accountant, attorney, and your insurance company to see what will be required to protect your interests.
• Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreement: Before handing over your recipe, make sure you have your attorney draw up a confidentiality agreement. Do not be surprised if you are asked to sign a
similar agreement. The manufacturer may want to protect their processes or they have clients that require confidentiality/nondisclosure.
• Tour the Manufacturing Plant: Ensure the facility has proper equipment and processes to produce your product. Walk through the facility and have them take you through the process from start to finish.
• Sanitation: Check the quality programs that are in place. Ask if they have any audited certification, i.e.: HACCP and others that you may require.
• Inspection: Determine where ingredients and finished products will be stored. If ingredients need refrigeration before processing, is the space adequate and the temperature maintained? If the finished goods require certain conditions, are they present? For example, chocolate should be stored at 65*F or below. Review logs that document inspection, testing, and quality control.
• Referrals: Ask for a list of current customers from the manufacturer. Call this list to see if the businesses are happy with the co-packer’s performance in terms of quality, on-time performance, and overall reliability.
• Financials and Company History: You want to make sure your co-packer is financially sound. You do not want any surprises during the middle of a production run for your product. Find out how long they have been in business and their experience level in contract packing.
• Cost: Ask for formal quote for your product. There are many factors that will determine your final cost. Are there any specific processes or special handling involved in your product that will affect pricing? How much product are you going to order? Pricing can run a broad range. Your co-packer will have minimum requirements for production runs usually based on cases, euro volume, or full shifts. Get several quotes for comparison.
The Bottom Line
Understanding your production process extremely well is imperative. The better you understand your own cost and quality drivers, the better you will be at working with your manufacturer. If you look like you are very prepared, you will have a better chance of engaging the correct co-packers. Far too many food entrepreneurs expect the co-packer to educate them.
Given that every co-packer is very different, do not settle on a co-packer who seems to be less than ideal for your company. You will be able to find a co-packer that will work with you to best fit your needs, you just need to know what you want.
How Newmarket Kitchen Can Help
Now that you know what a co-packer is and how to go about finding the right one, all you need is a place to perfect your recipe.
Newmarket Kitchen provides commercial kitchen facilities to food start-ups looking to develop a product, test new recipes and produce small to medium sized batches in order to test the market.
A perfect example of this is Sadie's Kitchen, who came to Newmarket Kitchen in 2015 with an idea to create Ireland's first 100% natural bone broth. After many late nights and a lot of hard work the brand took off and it wasn't long before Sarah approached a co-packer manufacturer to take over production, leaving her to focus on managing, marketing and growing the business.
You can find a full list of Sadie's Kitchen stockists here.
If you'd like more information on space in Newmarket Kitchen please contact Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. Do staff have to be trained in food safety/hygiene?
It is a legal requirement that staff who are involved in a food environment are trained and/or supervised commensurate with their work activity. The responsibility for the supervision and training of staff lies with the proprietor of the food business.
Staff responsible for the development and maintenance of the food business's Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system must have received adequate training in the application of the HACCP principles. There is, however, no legal requirement for individuals to undergo certified training programmes.
Q. Does Newmarket Kitchen carry out food safety/hygiene training?
Yes, Newmarket Kitchen carries out regular level 1 and 2 food safety training. Click here for more information on the next training at Newmarket Kitchen
What's unique about the food safety training held in Newmarket Kitchen is that it is a mixture of theory and practical work, with access to a fully operational, commercial kitchen.
Guide to Food Safety Training Level 1 and Level 2
If you have anymore questions please contact email@example.com
Having a nutrition declaration on prepacked foods becomes mandatory from 13 December 2016.
When providing nutrition information FIC requires that the declaration consists of:
(a) The energy value and
(b) The amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt
The content of the mandatory nutrition declaration may be supplemented with an indication of the amounts of one or more of the following:
(f) Any of the vitamins or minerals listed in point 1 of Part A of Annex XIII to FIC, and present in significant amounts as defined in point 2 of Part A of Annex XIII to FIC
Once the mandatory and the supplementary nutrients are declared, no other nutrient can be added to the nutrition declaration as it is a ‘closed list’. Where another nutrient, not on this list, must be declared on the label, as a result of a requirement of the nutrition or health claims legislation (Regulation (EU) No. 1924/2006), the nutrient must be declared below, but not in, the nutrition table.
For more information, please see FSAI