Developing Wonderful Recipes for Demos, Media, and More

Developing Wonderful Recipes for Demos, Media, and More

June 13, 2018
Shari Steinbach
Business Skills

By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor

Retail Dietitians work with recipes on a daily basis, in fact, sharing recipes is one of the main ways RDNs educate shoppers on how to use products in store. While some Retail RDNs may create their own recipes, many simply try to modify existing recipes to fit the need of their consumers, retailer and perhaps program sponsors. Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN is a Culinary Nutritionist & Award-Winning Cookbook Author and she knows what goes into creating consumer-friendly recipes. Below she shares her tips for developing and modifying recipes for demos, media and more.

Jackie’s “ingredients” for writing a good recipe:

  • Have a descriptive title and include popular searchable words from social media
  • Incorporate trends smartly into your recipe to be relevant, but don’t highlight too many trends at once
  • Include the number of servings and serving size
  • Tell a brief story at the beginning of the recipe to add interest
  • List ingredients in the order they are used in the recipe and she recommends spelling out words like teaspoon, pound, etc. 
  • Consider all the senses 
  • Keep instructions simple; indicate cookware size; and provide visual descriptors where needed
  • Photos are important 
  • Fully write out recipe before testing and use a style guide
  • Be precise with measuring and time
  • Make notes and edit the recipe as you go through the testing process
  • Include the nutritional analysis
  • Give credit if using someone else’s recipe or photo

To modify an existing recipe, Jackie offers the following advice:

  • Change at least 2 ingredients
  • Change one or more of the cooking methods
  • Do a total rewrite of the instructions
  • Give credit, when necessary – use adapted from in the credit line
  • Considerations to think about when modifying a recipe:
  1. Culinary techniques – how can you tweak a technique or swap an ingredient
  2. Make it healthier – examples: add veggies, swap herbs or spices for sodium, use whole grain flour, use a healthier fat, reduce sugar
  3. Develop a seasonal version – What’s in season to boost nutrition, flavor, or interest
  4. Think about current food trends – use an ingredient in a new way or try a popular cooking tool 
  5. Add in some global inspiration – use worldly ingredients or influences

It’s also important to know your audience and the venue where you’ll be presenting the recipe as this can make a big difference in what you choose to do.

  • If demonstrating in-store keep it very simple and probably less than 15-20 minutes and ideally featuring no more than 5 ingredients. The recipe should be very doable and probably require minimal cooking and more assembly. 
  • If looking at a recipe for a publication you’ll want to ensure what you choose is in season and on trend for the publication date.  Fall for example may be a family meal featuring winter squash or a healthful snack for afterschool.
  • For live media your recipe should require some cooking action and have a news worthy element. You may talk about the nutrition attributes of ingredients, provide a cooking tip or teach a simple culinary skill.  The ultimate goal is to drive the audience to your store and/or website for the ingredients and recipe.

Jackie’s final rule - REMEMBER TASTE RULES!! 

Find her at or on Instagram @jackienewgent.