(04/03/20) BATON ROUGE, La. — For the past several years, the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator has helped countless people translate their favorite recipes to products sold on grocery store shelves.
Now the incubator is extending those services to restaurants looking for new avenues to sell their food and shore up their finances as they deal with coronavirus-related restrictions.
Like many other businesses, restaurants are suffering declines in revenue due to government measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. Louisiana restaurants are currently limited to serving customers via drive-thru, takeout and delivery orders.
“The LSU AgCenter Food Incubator is working remotely to assist interested restaurants that would like to start the process of producing a retail product to place into the market,” said Gaye Sandoz, director of the incubator. “We are a one-stop shop providing analytical testing, nutritional analysis, scaling recipes, marketing, a processing facility, food photography and label creation.”
Converting a restaurant dish to something that can be sold in stores often means producing it in bigger-than-usual amounts — a process that is easier said than done. That’s where experts at the incubator can help.
“Scaling up for food production is not as simple as making a larger batch,” said Jason Gilfour, operations manager at the incubator. “There are many variables to consider in order to maintain texture and flavor profiles.”
Sandoz noted that many people are cooking more as they spend more time at home.
“The retail package goods market is up 40% in March due to home cooking,” Sandoz said.
Gaye Sandoz, director of the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator, speaks at an event in the incubator demonstration kitchen. The incubator is offering its services to restaurants interested in translating their dishes into products that can be sold in stores. LSU AgCenter file photo
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture