In the culinary arts, the “gold standard” is the top of the taste experiences—a qualified chef working in a state-of-the art kitchen with the best quality ingredients, using his or her specific talents, experience and creativity to bring a unique culinary vision to life. The gold standard often begins with one perfect dish—one perfect execution of a chef’s vision.
Bringing that level of quality and chef-inspired indulgence to a commercial product necessitates important changes to satisfy the requirements of food manufacturing on a broader scale. Expensive commodity butter, cream or cheese may need to be reduced in order to make the product affordable to produce. In addition, ingredients may need to change in order to provide stability through every stage of processing, packaging and storage. And while the gold standard is often one-of-a-kind, a commercial product is successful when it delivers the expected taste experience over and over again. So gold standard recipes must be adapted into repeatable formulas that deliver the optimal consistency from batch-to-batch, delivering consumers exactly what they expect, every time. All of this has to be achieved without compromising on taste, which continues to be the number one decision driver for consumers when they’re choosing which foods to purchase, including for vegan foods.
In the past, a chef may labor to create a delectable gold standard, then hand that recipe to a completely different team to commercialize. The art and science of food were largely separate. Today, savvy training grounds for chefs—like our partner, the Culinary Institute of America—understand that the best results can be achieved when art and science join together. That’s why they are offering more opportunities for students to combine a traditional culinary arts program with the knowledge they will need to develop successful products in the commercial food industry. The best food manufacturers are also bringing their culinary and commercialization teams together, and leaning on their suppliers to achieve gold standard results that hit the necessary cost, processing and consistency goals.
Achieving the gold standard vision in a commercially viable product, without the right tools and expertise, can be incredibly difficult—but at Edlong, we help our customers do it every day. This includes developing the understanding among food product development professionals of just how authentic flavors can be used to bring a gold standard product to life—at scale. At Edlong, many of our projects center on helping our customers achieve gold standard results in ways they may not have thought possible. That may involve replacing the richness (and price volatility) of commodity butter with flavors that achieve the same distinct regional profile but at reduced costs to our customers, or by adding delectable cooked or caramelized notes on a production line instead of a stovetop, or by adding back the authentic creaminess and mouthfeel of dairy in a dairy-free application. Regardless of the goal, our experts always rely on our extensive line of flavors to help our customers reach the height of taste while balancing formulation goals. The ability to combine the art of the gold standard with the science of commercial food production is invaluable in helping food manufacturers satisfy their consumers.