Crafting the Perfect Sauce – Efficiently Navigate Trends in the Food and Beverage Industry

Digital Solutions

The entire food and beverage industry appears to have been affected by growing consumer interest in experiencing new food and drink flavors. When I was growing up, chicken wings only came in two varieties: plain or with buffalo sauce. However, within the last few years, the sauce market has exploded with new flavors, with everything from jalapeño-cheddar to Cajun buttermilk sauce.

An ELN can help reduce product development within the food and beverage industry
Today, there are a plethora of new sauces for chicken wings.

The sauce market is not the only arena where new flavors have appeared. Chip manufactures have also released a steady flow of flavors, and beverage companies appear to be releasing a new flavored tea every week.

This growing demand has created some challenges for the food and beverage industry. It has put pressure on research centers to more quickly identify consumer trends and develop new products based on these trends. It has also decreased the timing of the product development lifecycle from months to weeks.

One way that companies like Heinz and Chr. Hansen have addressed these challenges is by implementing an electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) within their research and development sectors. The benefits they have found with the use of an ELN are as follows:

Centralized Data Repository for Food and Beverage Companies

Under the old business models, information was often stored in silos within each department and was not typically shared with others. Sometimes the data was stored within the pages of a manual laboratory notebook. Other times, it was captured on a spreadsheet that was stored locally on someone’s desktop computer. In any case, the information was not easily accessible to others.

With an ELN, data is gathered on a centralized database. This information can be securely shared with individuals in other parts of the company based on pre-established access profiles. A centralized repository with shared information allows researchers identify consumer trends in real time by comparing sales data against product ingredients to determine what consumer’s desire most in their food or beverages.

Automated Documentation for Food and Beverage Companies

Under the old business model, results from experiments were recorded manually into laboratory notebooks. This was a time consuming and laborious process that required researchers to focus primarily on recording data rather than analyzing it.

Laboratory Notebooks are not shareable
While traditional laboratory notebooks retain their information, they are not efficient in capturing and sharing data.
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Alternatively, electronic laboratory notebooks can be designed to capture data directly from laboratory equipment and automatically populate it into the results section. With this automation, researchers can spend more time focused on reviewing the data, as they no longer need to cut and paste results into a notebook.

Simplifying documentation enables food and beverage laboratories to decrease the product development lifecycle on new products by freeing up more time that can be spent on product development. If it took five hours a week to record results into a laboratory notebook in the past, these five hours can now be applied to more important matters.

Both Heinz and Chr. Hansen have gained a competitive edge over their competition through the implementation of an ELN. The companies have found it useful in centralizing data to help spot trends and reducing manual labor so researchers can spend more time where it matters most.

If you would like to learn more about the benefits associated within an ELN, please visit our website today.

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