To sell into the retail trade is the most challenging aspect of
Here your product is scrutinised by shoppers,
shopkeepers and health control officials. The product, its packaging
and shelf life must all stand rigorous tests. The Belgian pate
that sits in the cold counter of any grocer's will remain stable for
weeks if kept trimmed. Although the manufacturers point out that
the product should be sold quickly the shopkeeper knows that it
will last should it not sell well. A pate made without the factory
facilities, the antiseptic forms of manufacture and preservatives,
will certainly age most unpleasantly.
The products you offer must
be able to survive worse treatment than you would give them at
home in your own kitchen. All packaging and labelling must
conform to current EEC rulings. There are all kinds of different
instructions being effected and discussed and unless you wish to
fall foul of officialdom, you have to keep up. Manufacturers of
various goods have to be registered. If you aim to produce for the
retail trade then it is worth seeing your local standards officer
before you commit yourself to expensive packaging. One of the
traps that newcomers to this type of cooking are often tempted
into is to try and produce a product that is identical to a competitor's.
A factory-made product will look different. Anyway
part of the appeal of your product to the consumer is often that
they are buying something special. Some 'dairy' fudge contains
additives that are bought commercially in vast bulk. It is this that
gives commercial fudge a specific appearance. Without the additives
your fudge will look different. It will look like 'old-fashioned'
fudge. Fortunately, that is sold for a higher price than the com-
mercial kind anyway. But if the market you approach says it
wants the first type, you must gracefully decline unless you intend
to set up a confectionery factory.