What food formulation and product development services does AURI offer?

Clients can work one-on-one with AURI’s food scientists in our food development kitchen to review and/or reformulate products or processes (the development kitchen is located in AURI’s Marshall, MN facility).  In keeping with the AURI mission, our technical and business development staff can provide guidance and suggest connections to available local ingredient sources. However, AURI does not provide complete concept to commercialization food product development services.

 

What nutrition calculations and facts labeling services does AURI offer?

AURI scientists provide nutrition fact labels based on calculated values. The nutrient values are based on compiled data on ingredient nutrition from a number of databases including the USDA National database. The nutrition facts labels are generally quite accurate given the large pool of data housed in these databases. Occasionally we may also use lab analyses to confirm some of the calculated values (for example, sodium content).

 

Operators of retail food establishments may be interested in a fact sheet on food labeling from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.

Note: AURI’s food lab is neither A2LA nor ISO certified.  As such, the data we generate cannot be used to validate federally-regulated on-pack claims, such as “Good source of protein.”  It can, however, be used to provide guidance during development of such products.  Additionally, AURI cannot use analytical analyses to calculate a Nutrition Facts label given the limited capability and capacity to analyze for all required nutrients.

For certified lab results or label claims see:

 

What analytical services does AURI provide?

AURI offers lab analyses for food components. Services include % fat, protein, moisture, ash, and carbohydrates, total sugars, mineral analysis (proximate analysis). If necessary, these analyses may confirm AURI’s nutrition calculations for nutrition facts labels.

In addition to the proximate analysis, other analytical services include: alcohol, caffeine, amino acid, and fatty acids. AURI is continually updating its analytical abilities and if an analytical service is not listed, we invite you to contact AURI to discuss your needs.

 

What regulatory assistance services does AURI offer?

AURI technical staff can provide general guidance and assistance in navigating food regulations. Some examples of regulation guidance and assistance include general safety, FDA, USDA, FSIS, MDA, MDH, Labeling, Licenses, and Inspections. AURI will work with you to provide business and product guidance specific to your needs that help further your goals.

Regulatory Websites:

Licensing:

 

What recipe standardization and scale up services does AURI offer?

AURI can review your recipe and help you convert it into a formula, when necessary. The process of converting a formula includes measuring the weight of each ingredient and calculating percentages to get a total formula weight of 100%. This would be the first step in standardizing the recipe.

Scaling up a recipe for standardized production varies greatly depending on the product and process. An AURI scientist will review the information and provide guidance on production options (e.g., commercial kitchen, co-packer or your production space).

Once you have determined your production scale, it is essential to document the “how” related to making your product.  The purpose of this documentation is to provide a “how to” guide that will ensure product consistency from both a consumer experience (taste, texture) and food safety perspective.  The following 2 documents will help you get started:

  • Product Specification Template. This document provides a template for instructions on “how” to make your product, as well as the key characterizing product attributes.
  • Process Flow Diagram Example. This document is an example demonstrating how to visually represent the process you use to manufacture your product.

 

When and how would I provide AURI Scientists with my product’s technical information?

Once you have initiated a project and received confirmation on the next steps regarding your project from AURI’s Program Specialist, you’ll be asked to complete the Nutritional Panel Request form if the project includes one or more of these services:

  • Review and/or reformulate products or processes
  • Nutrition facts label
  • Recipe
    • Review
    • Conversion
    • Reformulation
    • scale up
    • standardization

Information needed to prepare the form include product name, formula or recipe, preparation method, thermal process or cook method, serving size, weight of one serving, net weight of total sell unit, product detail and claims or comments. This information helps us determine the ingredients and equipment needed to plan your lab development work.

 

I’m concerned about sharing my product recipes /processes with AURI. How is my confidential information protected?

A general confidentiality agreement is included in the application for an AURI project.  If food clients at the 20 and 33 percent cost-share levels would like a specific non-disclosure agreement (NDA), they will be asked to use AURI’s attorney approved NDA. This will save time and allow AURI to quickly begin work. Note that the term of the AURI confidentiality agreement and NDA are set at 3 years, allowing a client ample time to protect any intellectual property created. Rest assured, though, that any intellectual property and trade secrets are confidential and will not be shared at any time.

AURI is a nonprofit organization with a desire to see clients succeed and move forward.  As we are funded primarily by the state of Minnesota, AURI is required to report outcomes and impacts to the state legislature.  Your basic company information may be used to supplement our annual reporting to the state of Minnesota.  (Confidential information such as recipe, process, and marketing plans would, of course, be exempted from this reporting requirement).  In general, we take our lead from the client regarding what can be shared (public use details and anything you would share publicly through your own website, promos, or articles).

 

Does AURI offer process authority review services?

AURI does not directly offer process authority review.  However, AURI scientists can get you started by assessing your current process for food safety compliance and product categorization. If a process authority is needed (for example, if you have an acidified product), we can direct you to the appropriate process authority resources.

 

What shelf-life assessment services does AURI offer?

A product’s shelf life can best be described as the amount of time, under typical storage conditions, a product can:

  • Be safely consumed. This is the product’s Microbiological Stability.
  • Best represent the manufacturer’s intended product quality experience (i.e., taste, texture, appearance, etc.). This is the product’s Quality Shelf Life.

A product’s shelf life should represent the shorter of the above 2 components.

AURI can provide excellent guidance and guidelines on defining your product’s shelf life, but does not have the capability to definitively determine.  Because a product’s shelf life is both difficult and time consuming to define, please contact us to discuss your individual project goals.

 

What microbiological testing services does AURI offer for?

AURI’s analytical lab can test for Aw, % moisture, pH, and basic microbiological counts, including Total Plate Count, Total Coliform Bacteria, and Total Yeast and Mold spores. Results will assist us in assessing the stability and potential shelf life of the product.

Note:  AURI does not test for human pathogens, e.g., E.coli, salmonella, listeria, etc. For these tests, contact information to relevant labs such as:

 

How do I get a UPC?

“Universal product codes — UPCs — are the 12-digit numbers that appear under the barcodes on many U.S. products. They are given out by GS1 US, a nonprofit group that sets standards for international commerce.”  Wall Street Journal How-To Guide

AURI does not offer UPC registration services.  You can purchase a unique UPC from GS1 US directly, or from a UPC reseller.  However, if you intend to use a reseller for cost reasons, be advised that 6 stores (Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, WalMart, Federated Group and Kroger’s) will not accept UPC’s purchased from a reseller.

 

I’ve decided to use AURI’s services. How do I get started?

First, look through our no cost and low cost service fee schedule at https://www.auri.org/help/projectfees/

Second, if you feel you’re ready to begin a project, we’ll look at the feasibility of the project. You may begin the process by completing AURI’s food project contact form.