Deriving Strategic Advantages from Extended Shelf-Life
Rodgers, S. (2007) Deriving Strategic Advantages from Extended Shelf-Life Journal of Cullinary Science & Technology, 5 (2/3). pp. 111-129. ISSN 1542-8044
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The perishability of food service products can be reduced by refrigeration and packaging technologies. Both the institutional and commercial sectors take advantage from the "time buffer" between food production and consumption in bulk food production. Setting up a central production unit requires the knowledge of technological and operational concepts. It consists of conceptualization, product development and implementation stages. First, the size of the capital investment required, the availability of current food service technologies, reports on operational efficiencies as well as mandated food safety measures are analyzed. Second, menu engineering and product development to minimize mechanical damage during bulk preparation and product deterioration during storage/re-thermalization are conducted. Third, the possibility of extension of the product shelf-life, which is linked to the degree of heating, packaging, and "natural" preservation, is explored. The main technical difficulty here is the balance between the severity of processing, which determines food quality, and the acceptable level of food safety risks. The modification of processing to derive operational advantages requires challenge studies, which are expensive. However a complex product is not easily copied by competitors, as it requires investment and technological "know-how."
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