June 17/Dublin, Calif., and Hyde Park, N.Y./PRNewswire -- A new collaboration between the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) Consulting Services Group and The National Food Lab (The NFL) brings "significant advancements in the area of food and beverage product development." For the first time, the culinary expertise of The CIA has been formally combined with the product development and commercialization strengths of The National Food Lab to create a unique culinary-driven concept development process. Over the course of a one-week time frame, The NFL and the CIA will identify and deliver consumer-validated culinary concepts that can be readily translated to innovative, commercially viable food products.

"Our goal is the delivery of high-quality, tested culinary concepts that can be quickly converted into successful commercial products," said Kevin Buck, president of The NFL. "It's the combination of culinary arts with product development and commercialization expertise that truly makes this offering unique, innovative and compelling."

The week-long process begins with a three-day collaborative session at The CIA's Greystone (St. Helena, Calif.) or Hyde Park, N.Y., campus. During this session, a cross-functional client team is joined by specialists from The NFL and chefs from The CIA to brainstorm across different product platforms, create culinary protocepts, and design commercialization punch lists. The winning concepts and protocepts are then evaluated by consumers at the end of the week in a concept-product test. Results are captured and used to prioritize concepts for future product development.

A joint press release noted the benefits of the culinary-driven concept development process to food industry clients include:
  -- Speed: In one week a client will progress from concept to winning protocepts, gold-standard recipes and commercialization roadmaps to guide future development.
  -- Culinary-Led Innovation: The Culinary Institute of America brings global flavors and cuisines into the process, and delivers innovation through authenticity and differentiation.
  -- Translation of Gold Standards: The most difficult aspect of culinary recipe development is translation to commercial products. The combined talents of The CIA and The NFL allow this to happen smoothly.
  -- Collaboration: Cross-functional client teams participate in three days of exercises, creating buy-in to the process and ownership of the results. The combined efforts of key stakeholders in the session saves months of product development time, speeds products to shelf, and creates competitive market advantages.

"The strategic collaboration between The NFL and The CIA is an exciting initiative; it will result in a positive impact for both organizations in product and menu innovation," said Victor Gielisse, head of The CIA Consulting Services Group. "Ultimately, the results of our combined expertise will reaffirm our positions as key players in the dynamic and demanding field of food service consultancy."

From the June 23, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash