SOURCE: Palate Works

July 27, 2006 16:38 ET

Healthier Food Products Pioneered by Small Startups Using Online Resources

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- July 27, 2006 -- The recipe for "taste plus nutrition" that big food companies are suddenly cooking up in large batches has been developed mostly by small startups. From organic frozen dinners and homegrown BBQ sauces, to reduced fat sausages and whole grain crackers, entrepreneurs have been health segment innovators for years, and now are reaping the rewards in product sales and acquisitions by larger companies. Helping them make these strides are food/nutrition consultants such as Palate Works, which recently unveiled an online startup/tune-up kit at www.palateworks.com. The kit contains essential links and tips for developing, launching and marketing food products, particularly healthier ones.

Turning a recipe into a product is the ultimate dream for many food lovers. Less enjoyable is all the leg (and keyboard) work required to bring a product to market. On the to-do list are the business license, UPC code, nutrition testing, production facility, distribution, Web marketing... "It's overwhelming," says Craig Gass, who subscribed to the kit after starting Mountain Organic Foods. "If we'd had this in 2004, we probably could have launched in half the time. With our current focus on marketing, we're using the kit to find online sales venues -- increasingly vital to our business."

The Palate Works kit compresses years of experience working with food companies and hundreds of hours of research. Unlike a book or seminar, the kit is continually updated and instantly connects users to commercial kitchens, business classes, brokers and nutrition testing services, as well as sources of funding, ingredients, packaging, etc. Membership is $89 for six months of unlimited access, and includes hundreds of dollars in discounts on services that startups and existing food companies can use, such as Web/graphics design.

Those who join through August receive a free review of their nutrition facts and ingredient panels to check for compliance with extensive, frequently changing labeling regulations. Members also receive lower rates on other Palate Works services, such as recipe nutrition analysis and advice on how to improve a product's nutrition and taste profile, a major focus of retailers and consumers.

Palate Works has provided nutrition analysis and consulting to food companies and restaurants for over 10 years. It hosts the Nutrition Bloopers column (a "how-not-to" of food labeling), and helps evaluate foods for www.winningfoods.com, a no-advertising listing of products selected for taste and nutrition.

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