There's more to the beverage and food production than just producing good, local, fresh food and drink (though that is, of course, important); it's still a business with practical realities. At Ontario Agri-Food Venture Centre (OAFVC) we have more than just a commercial kitchen to meet the needs of a small food production business, offering services from packaging your product to marketing and business consulting.
When growing your business to the next level there can be lots of things to consider. For example, rules change as you begin to offer your product outside of the local market. There are also standards to meet if stores are going to sell your product. Additionally, when growing your business, being able to produce more in less time is vital. OAFVC can walk you through this next chapter take your food production business to the next level while maintaining the quality and freshness your customers have come to expect.
5 Ways OAFVC Can Help You Expand Your Food Production Business
OAFVC covers everything you need from start to finish to help grow your small food production business. Below are a list of the services offered:
- Fruit and vegetable processing is easy with a sanitized, temperature controlled room available. Available processing options include:
- cold pressing
- washing and sanitizing
- slicing, dicing, peeling and shredding
- centrifuge drying
- Product Development with water testing, shelf life, PH and viscosity testing is available at OAFVC. Testing your products will minimize any risk to the consumer and you will be able to accurately determine and advertise the shelf life of your product. Having proof of your product testing results will show that you meet store standards. Without it some stores will not stock your product.
- Ready for packaging? OAFVC can provide equipment and any needed labour. An in-house graphic designer is also available. And you can either use existing labels or design new labels on site. Barcodes and GSI printing options are also available. These can be essential because some stores will not accept packaged foods without the appropriate labelling. Packing options include:
- vacuum packaging
- modified atmosphere packaging
- tamper-evident seals
- heat-sealed pouches
- corrugated casing
- coding and taping
- Cold storage options include a large refrigerator and freezer. Dry storage is available with a traceability system allowing for easy access to your product when needed. All storage solutions allow for pallet rentals and are completely climate controlled.
Business consulting services at OAFVC are FREE. Along with food handling certification, product and packaging development consulting is available to help you navigate the legislation for label requirements and ingredient declaration. Business development consultants will help walk you through your business plan and applications for funding opportunities that you may not be aware of, and give you valuable marketing suggestions. OAFVC consultants also know how to help position smaller producers in local stores without being seen as a competitor to the larger brands. Training for new entrepreneurs includes topics like the pros and cons of owning your own business, and how to get started. Operational training on all of the equipment is also available.
Don’t risk your business by renting or buying your own location too soon. Download this map to discover exactly what you’ll find in a commercial kitchen.