First published by instore magazine, a leading Retail Foodservice publication.
Getting the most out of recipe management
by Ryan Atkinson
One of the key things Mark Molter, Vice President of Sales for Applied Data Corporation (ADC), likes to point out about recipe management systems — and especially the NutriGen system— is that they’re not just for managing recipes.
“It’s a tool that can help in many different facets of production,” Molter says. “We have a full recipe item management software suite that integrates into many of our clients’ existing systems and processes. Our software is more than a data entry system, it actually works to improve your internal processes.”
For starters, ADC’s NutriGen system allows fresh food retailers to centrally manage all their recipes. It generates accurate ingredients, nutritional facts, and calorie counts, as well as supports allergen warnings at both the ingredient and recipe level. Recipes in NutriGen can become the foundation for production planning in fresh departments.
When used with the company’s production planning system, retailers can calculate the demand for ingredients, materials or supplies by applying forecasted demand for saleable items to the bill of materials. This, in return, helps the retailer more optimally gather what is needed for each run of production.
Recipe management also grew to support production step images and full video so that items not only contained the corporately defined ingredients but could show the person producing the item, how to julienne a carrot for example, and how the end product should be displayed. Having the complete picture allows employees to minimalize waste and plan for their production needs. It also enables consistency and reduces human error.
With allergen warnings carrying greater significance and looming label changes on the horizon, the labeling aspect of recipe management systems — and especially their accuracy — become even more important.
“That’s paramount. We’re always working to understand the latest regulations and menu labeling laws,” Molter says. “We make sure that we’re the experts, so to speak, and are able to provide a level of confidence in our customers that if they put it incorrectly, we’ll generate it correctly. And in the future, when regulations change, we’re going to be right there with you along with the software.”
Speed and nimbleness are also vital when it comes to making changes on the fly to keep labels up to date. “So when the 2020 nutritional labeling comes out and changes the format and formulations, our customers are already in the driver’s seat instead of scrambling to find a solution,” Molter says.
And with NutriGen’s integration into numerous facets of the production facility, those labels can be designed by the customer and printed off by printers and scales remotely.
“You can press a button and print off a label that has correct Nutritionals for the item you’re producing,” says Shamus Hines, Applied Data’s CEO. “And it links back into ordering to get what you need for future demand of your products.”
Over the past few years, Applied Data launched its Vendor Portal, which loops suppliers into the recipe management process.
“Part of the biggest hurdle in recipe management is data acquisition and versioning of that data,” Molter says. For example, if a commissary is receiving a dough pack from a manufacturer, over time that pack can change in its nutritional value, cost and ingredients. Therefore, ADC’s software includes a built-in timer to ask vendors to confirm the accuracy of information.
ADC’s Vendor portal allows clients to with the instructions to upload the ingredients into a particular format to ensure that it’s done properly with clean and good information. “Depending on how well the vendor does, ADC’s customers can grade them on a color scale from red to green to constantly improve the process,” says Molter.