To better partner with its customers, Hearthside Food Solutions starts at the beginning of the new product process. In fact, the company operates a test kitchen with laboratory ovens, proofers, fryers and seasoning applicators, as well as a pilot plant that helps product developers take a formula and adapt it from bench to full-scale production.

Hearthside also has a package development department that works with its customers’ engineers and designers to test various packaging materials and formats so that products can be sold in a wide variety of distribution channels.

At this time, the new product development pipeline remains so strong that the company’s laboratory services are currently booked two months in advance, noted Dwayne Hughes, vice-president, supply chain. Hearthside provides this service, even if the product ultimately is made at a facility other than its own.

“Although customers will develop products in our facility, it doesn’t mean we’ll be the ones making them for the shelf,” Mr. Hughes explained. “Some of our customers will come in and say they’re trialing this new product for their internal production needs, and we know that upfront, but we’re still willing to provide them with that development service.”

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