Food Processing Business Guide For Beginners

Food Processing Guide For Beginners
Food Processing Guide For Beginners

Food processing business is one of the many opportunities in the agriculture sector. Food processing is a huge and broad market with many subsectors under it.

The food processing business is enough chain on its own and many large companies are diversifying into this goldmine.

Food processing is the preparation or production of raw food products into other forms. It includes cooking, grinding, salting, pickling, drying, milling, boiling, steaming, freezing, pasteurizing and canning, macerating, etc.

The raw items are collected, packaged, treated, and preserved through many processes before they are distributed.

Food Processing For Beginners
Food Basket

Food Processing Business

The average food processing business requires large equipment and huge capital making it scary to many people. However, food processing has many feathers in its cap and it is best to understand the various aspects beforehand.

Food processing business can be started within the comfort of your homes as a small scale business and on a large expanse of land as a large scale business. It all depends on the raw products to be processed.

A mango juice processing business is best situated on a large expanse of land while beans flour processing can start from the confines of your home.

Food processing market is huge and promising. It is enough to cater the food challenges of a community and country at large. When processed right, food items are going to be available all year round without much fear of the off seasons.

Advantages of Food Processing Business

Agricultural produce are seasonal and may not be available during their off seasons. This makes it a challenge for the public to access them and an advantage for the food processing firms. With food processing, food is going to be available all year round.

Raw food produce are potential sources of harmful bacteria, pathogens and toxins. Likewise, when they are not cooked properly can be harmful to human health. This makes it imperative to begin their processing for a healthier and safer consumption.

It is important to state that processed food are tastier, easier to access, have a longer shelf life, and are less prone to bacteria and toxins. They can be transported and moved around with ease across rivers and over the air.

Another major advantage of processed food items is the consistency they provide. A canned tomato by a company will taste the same way miles away. The preservation and method of packaging also provides a good selling medium and prevents decomposition.

Processed foods also helps to achieve proportioning and convenience. They are easier to price and has a wider reach.

Disadvantages of Food Processing

It is important to state that the advantages of processed food items are minimal when compared to the advantage therein. Some of the disadvantages can be minimized because they can be encountered in unprocessed food items as well.

The major disadvantage is the preservation methods and additives. Some preservatives are dangerous to human health especially when taken in excess quantity. While some food processing firms are aware and take cautions, some throw caution to the winds, jeopardizing the health of consumers.

Another disadvantage is the reduction or loss of nutritional value of the processed food. This is mainly due to the various processes involved during production.

Contamination can also be encountered in processed foods. Canning and drying are major culprits due to the equipment used. Improper washing of equipment, mechanical faults can also contribute to the contaminations.

Regardless of the disadvantages or advantages, some food produce are best consumed raw such as vegetables and fruits. It is common knowledge that they lose their nutritional value when processed even if it’s just cooking.

Food Processing Business Guide
Food Safety

How to Start a Food Processing Business

With the basic knowledge that processed foods are always on high demand, you may be considering going into food processing business. Well, it is not out of place to start such business. However, there are factors to consider for effective and smooth running.

Processed food is a unique product and the fact that it deals with life makes it a sensitive venture. For starters, food processing should meet all required health regulations. The health of consumers and staff should be of uttermost importance.

There should be a high standard to be met such as health, environmental safety (production waste), expended energy and hygiene. It is important to obtain all necessary permits, licenses and abide by the regulations as stated by the regulating bodies.

The next step is to have a niche or target market to supply. What type of food do you want to process? How acceptable and the package style does the food require?

The availability of the raw materials and if people prefer the raw produce to a processed one. These are necessary as well as a market and feasibility study.

The equipment and capital required for production, how to source for funds and the expertise needed are all questions that need to be answered before setting out.

Food Processing Guide For Beginners
Processed Pepper

Obtain Permits and Licenses

Depending on your location, there are many agencies in charge of regulating the food processing industry. They differ from country to country and from state to state as well. It is important to know which body is in charge of whichever food you want to process.

Regardless of your location, there are international standards to be met bordering on safety, health, methods and quality of finished product. In Nigeria, the National Agency for Food and Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC) is the major statutory organization in charge.

The desire to export processed food items to other countries is one major reason why your products must meet international standards. The quality must not decline over time and licenses renewed when and where necessary.

Regulating Food Processing Business

It is not just to obtain license or permit but a frequent visit by the regulating bodies is the best way to keep food processing outfits in check. Ingredients, raw products, package methods must all be regulated and ensured safe for all.

These regulations do not exclude home based businesses, or imports because the hazards posed is to all and sundry. Food additives, production method, supplements as well as labelling are all important aspects of food processing that are not to be toyed with.

Regulation schedule also deals with how the waste are being handled, the safety of the immediate environment, gas emissions and the state of health of staff. Other things scheduled for regulations include the facility and labelling.

Food Processing Guide For Beginners
Processed Food In Cans

Food Processing Facility

It is not just enough to register a company for food processing. The facility must be up to standard and cater to the demand of such business. Depending on the type of food to be processed, there should be proper labelling, structure and distribution points. The waste collection point should be located away from the food facility.

Processed Food Labelling

This is as important as the production process. A safe food when not properly labelled can be detrimental to the health of people with allergies. The health information should be properly stated and meet international standards. The ingredients, cautions, recommended daily intake, servings per pack etc. must be clearly included on the label.

Conclusion

Food processing business is lucrative and has a steady market when utilized well. The advantages of food processing outweigh the disadvantages. Permits, licenses and meeting the standard of regulating bodies is important.

Food Processing Guide For Beginners
Food Processing Guide For Beginners

It is important to source for quality raw materials as it will tell on the finished product. The location of the facility should not be too far from the raw materials and the niche market should be clearly spelt out.

Which food item would you love to start processing? Have you gotten a steady raw item supplier? Let’s know in the comment section.

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