Are you planning on cooking up a storm for the family over the Easter bank holidays? Whether you’re planning on sticking to the traditional favourites or have decided to be a bit more experimental, your quest will most likely begin with a recipe book or a website.
You’ll pick up a cookery book (or navigate to a recipe listing) and find a collection of recipes categorised by type. Once you’ve selected a dish, you’ll find a lovely picture of the meal all plated up, followed by a list of ingredients and the method to carry out for whipping it up. Stock up on the ingredients, follow the instructions, and Bob’s your uncle.
All right, let’s admit that cooking in your home kitchen is not always as simple as the recipe had promised (I’m looking at you, Mr Oliver). And yet, I think we’d all agree that home cooking is a breeze compared to bulk food preparation for a commercial business.
If your day job entails managing the recipes and specifications of food production, Lakeview has a software tool that takes care of the ‘management’ while you enjoy the process.
Recipe Management Software
Lakeview’s Recipe Management tool is a Structures Module adapted for the food and beverage industry to enable specialist functions such as allergen tracking, cost control by seasonality, and new product development.
Recipe Information Management
The most basic feature of the Recipe Management module is that it allows you to pull all your recipe information into the computer system. For each food item that the warehouse manufactures, the module holds the product code, the product description, the ingredients list, and the
Timing and Preparation Instructions
More than simply storing your recipes and product specifications, the tool calculates ingredient quantities and instructions based on the volume that’s being prepared. Should you decide to use your cupcake recipe to create pound cakes, you can be assured that stirring, whipping and baking time will be adjusted automatically.
To take it one step further, the recipe management tool is also integrated with your stock module. This means that it calculates the true cost of a particular batch of a recipe, including:
- The actual price of ingredients based on the cost of that particular batch of raw materials. Because the module is integrated with real-time information, you can adjust your sales price to price fluctuations.
- The expense of the manufacturing process, including the cost of the electricity used for running the machines for the period and the labour costs.
Product Specifications and Allergy Labelling
Up to 8% of children have a proven food allergy and 1% of people have coeliac disease whereby eating wheat or gluten will make them seriously ill. Yet food producers, wholesalers and distributors often struggle with incomplete data on the source of their ingredients which leads to inconsistent and inadequate food labelling.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in conjunction with DEFRA brought in new allergen labelling laws in late December 2014 in an attempt to address this issue. This affects all food producers. Especially manufacturers who produce many products with multiple ingredients sourced from a variety of suppliers.
Lakeview’s, integrated software solution helps in complex situations like these. The recipe management tool keeps track of the basics, as well as more granular information.
- The basics: It stores product specifications with each recipe to keep track of nutrient values and allergen content. You can even attach drawings and diagrams relating to the product. This information is easily integrated with your website to make it available to consumers.
- Granular data: Because the recipe tool is integrated with the software’s stock module, it’s able to track the origin of each ingredient from the farm to the moment the finished product ships out.
New Product Development (NPD)
The recipe management module is also particularly helpful for NPD as you can log different versions of your method and different combinations of ingredients for a single recipe. This lets you keep track of your improvements and helps you to revert back from failures, ensuring that only your best version goes into production.
Trend Analysis on Seasonality
When coupled with Lakeview’s Business Intelligence tool (a standard feature of the core package) you can do trend analysis on the seasonality of fruit and vegetables.
Need to make good on an on-going order of tinned apples over the next 12 months? By drawing on stock file information you can query the availability of apples in the UK. You might find that you’ll be able to get it for a good price from June or July onwards, with the last harvest coming in over September. By accurately predicting the fluctuations in availability and price you can prepare accordingly, by either adjusting your production schedule or advance ordering products from another region. Should you choose to produce all year-round, you can log seasonality suppliers for each recipe, to ensure that high-quality raw ingredients are automatically purchased at the best price.
Integrated Food and Beverage-Specific Software
ERP software packages for small and medium sized businesses are not difficult to come by and yet, food and beverage manufacturers will miss out if they opt for a generalist solution. With functions like recipe management, batch traceability, shelf life, stock rotation,