In food industry, it’s the processes and ingredients that make the difference. A pinch of this and a tonne of that and abracadabra! You have a product that sells and sells. Those exact lists of procedures, ingredients, formulas and such are so important to food and drink makers. And it seems most of the food industries claims to have a unique and special food recipe. They try their best to protect their product formulation and infact some invest a lot of money to protect it. Coca-Cola’s 127-year-old recipe, which manufacturers claim is still used today, sits in this overstated secure vault at the World of Coca-Cola museum, in Atlanta. But relax; you don’t need a 100million dollar vault to protect your secret product. Here are the 7 secret steps offered by experts from Food Buddies to protect your food product formulation.

7 Simple steps to protect your food product formulation

Identify what secrets you want to protect and develop a policy or program to safeguard them. Your secret formulation or process should be documented in an internal registry. Identify the possible areas of breaches and leaks and find out which department is more vulnerable. Once identified, companies should take additional measures to secure those critical areas.
 

Framing a Policy

Identify what secrets you want to protect and develop a policy or program to safeguard them. Your secret formulation or process should be documented in an internal registry. Identify the possible areas of breaches and leaks and find out which department is more vulnerable. Once identified, companies should take additional measures to secure those critical areas.
 

Raw Material Coding

Raw material that is sourced from a vendor should have unique coding instead of its common/local name. Special ingredients like flavors/ additives can be unloaded and repacked with unique codes before entering the process area to maintain the supplier secrecy. For a curd processing, the flavor will be good only when milk has 70% aldehyde & 4.5% fat and processed within 4 hours of receptioning time. Suitable lot should be given a specific code and the curd processing should be carried out every day when that particular lot arrived.
 

Process Breakup

The Series of process involved can be split up in the mid- level and can be manufactured in two different units. In Unit A raw material will be converted to semi-finished products/ Premix and in Unit B semi-finished product will take out a completion. In a curd processing unit, the curd culture, which is the mixture of two or three cultures, can be done separately in one place and the fermentation can take place in other.
 

Multi – Level Operation Maintenance

Every Individual operator should be given only a specific task and should be made to known only particular process parameters. For Curd Processing the optimum temperature and time for culture inoculation should be known only to one person and he should not be aware of processing parameters like time, temperature and PH. This can be achieved by allocating separate person for each process.
 

Maintaining Unique Ingredients With Non Traceability

Maintaining two or three Special ingredients with non – traceability. The source of cultures used for processing the curd should not be known to all people. The cultures can be given separate codes and the sources should be maintained with secrecy, that the traceability should not be made possible.
 

Maintaining Raw Material Specifications

Among the raw material suppliers, have a unique supplier for atleast one ingredient and that particular specification of the raw material must be supplied only to you. For Curd processing unit the milk supplier should be made to supply milk with unique specifications like 70% aldehyde, 4.5% fat exclusively for your unit.
 

Contracts

Sign confidentiality agreements and non-disclosure forms with all relevant employees. Having employees sign contracts can be useful for keeping recipes confidential or preventing employees from competing within a certain time and geographic limits, but they only give recourse against the parties to the contract. Inform and educate all employees on the value of product secrecy and make them aware of your safety program. Limit access to buildings, databases, or documents that contain your secret product formulation.

Of all the above discussed ways the most effective and easiest way is to giving your employees the most valued unconditional trust, which the most important element of harmonious, synergetic and  effective work and building your second line leaders.

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