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Running a Pilot and Plant Testing

Up until now your product has only been tested in small quantities to reduce the cost of production. Once you have your prototype and made the necessa
A set of portions of food produced in a pilot
© International Culinary Studio

Up until now your product has only been tested in small quantities to reduce the cost of production. Once you have your prototype and made the necessary changes, the product is tested on a larger scale, called a pilot. This is done to simulate commercial production and to finalize the product specifications.

You will often find that specifications change once you scale up production.

For example, if you are developing a pre-prepared meal for sale, you may have only made enough for 4, however it is very different when you need to start producing 500 to 1000 at a time. The cooking times and temperatures may change, seasoning might need to be adapted, you also need to confirm if your production schedules work for you and check that your equipment, refrigeration, workspace, and chilling space meet your requirements.

Pilot scale testing and plant testing gives you the opportunity to make any corrections before you scale up further.

In the pilot the process is ‘scaled up’ to produce greater volumes

  • Often the process is ‘scaled up’ more than once.
  • Pilot plant testing occurs.
  • Plant testing occurs.
  • There are always product changes when a product is scaled up.
  • Quality and proximate analysis testing are done (proximate analysis refers to the quantitative analysis of macromolecules in food to determine the protein, fat, moisture, ash, and carbohydrates levels), to set specifications, establish any food safety concerns, and estimate shelf life.
  • Pilot testing also provides a more accurate product cost.


At this stage, because this is a learning course, we will not ask you to conduct pilot testing however we would suggest that you scale your product and see the results.

Did you need to amend the recipe? What changes did you need to make?

© International Culinary Studio
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How to Launch Your Own Food Product

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