Brewing NPD by Reverse Engineering
By Debbie Parker and Ed Wray - 19 December 2013
There are many reasons why we are approached to assist in new product development (NPD) for brewing and alcoholic beverage manufacture. For some, it is the need to replace existing and perhaps very traditional raw materials that may be difficult to source or are no longer desirable for economic or environmental reasons. For others, it may be the lack of availability of a particular raw material – a specific hop variety or barley malt for example – because of demand or recent climatic conditions. There are also those who wish to emulate desirable characteristics found in a competitor product or to recreate a popular brand in order to target a different geographic region.
In these instances, we will use what is known as Reverse Engineering to evaluate the product and determine the chemical composition and sensory profile of the product. The product would be sent to us, so that we could help determine the key flavour and analytical components to provide information on the very essence of the product. Our tasting experts will generate a unique flavour profile for the product and then our experts in brewing and beverage production will formulate a recipe for production using our pilot facilities.
We can use our expert knowledge of the effect that different ingredients, hop varieties and processes have on flavour to develop a new recipe. From our extensive supplier–base we will then source the required raw materials and produce some trial products. Once made, we analyse the new variant to compare compositional parameters with the existing product. Also, and most importantly, our flavour experts will compare the existing and new product organoleptically to suggest any tweaking that may be required to match flavour and other sensory characteristics. Re–formulations and another trial may be required to create the ideal new product. At each stage, we talk to the client to get their comments on the test products and how well it meets their aims.
There it is – reverse engineering as an essential tool for meeting all of your NPD needs.