Recipe Editing – What You Need to Know
By: Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
Consumers love to be inspired by flavorful new recipes for a simple family dinner or a seasonal holiday, and the food industry knows that recipes are a good way to sell products. Whether you create your own recipes for shoppers, or utilize existing recipes from CPG and commodity partners, it’s important to provide recipes that work. Start by assuming that all of your customers are basic home cooks and before promoting any recipe go through this checklist of edits to ensure consumer success.
- If at all possible, prepare the recipe to make sure it works.
- Make sure the ingredients are listed in order of use in the recipe preparation directions.
- Check for ingredient clarity. For example, if the flour in a recipe needed to be divided, state that clearly. Don’t just say 1/2 cup of peppers, but provide more details - 1/2 cup chopped red pepper.
- Offer ingredient purchasing guidance if needed. For instance, where to find a certain ingredient in the store, such as a fresh, frozen or canned vegetable.
- Ensure food safety by checking cooking temperature and time. You can also provide temperature guidance for meats and poultry doneness.
- Use consistent terminology. For example, that way you state measurements - Tablespoon vs. Tbsp. v. T.
- Offer a “doneness indicator” with the cooking time such as – cook for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown in color.
- Provide the size of the bowls and pans needed (i.e.: large mixing bowl; medium saucepan).
- Ensure photos and recipes make sense. The photo you use should accurately represent the finished recipe and all the ingredients.
- Give guidance for garnishes, serving, and storage. For instance, sprinkle with chopped parsley, or let bars cool for 1 hour before cutting and serving.
If you do create your own recipes for consumers, Regan Jones, RDN, ACSM-CPT from This Baking Life, suggests the following workflow: 1) Write out your recipe; 2) Test the recipe and make notes; 3) Update the recipe with your notes using a different color pen for each series of changes. A black pen for the first round of changes, then a blue, then a red for instance; 4) Begin your recipe editing following the checklist above.
Preparing a wholesome home-cooked meal is a popular practice for many consumers and they are looking for meal inspiration in the form of recipes. Help drive customer loyalty and product sales across the store by providing reliable recipes that are accurate, easy, safe and consistent.