New Product Development Documents: A Checklist for Food and Beverage Brands

by | Apr 18, 2024

Having ingredient and raw material suppliers you can count on is essential to launching your new food or beverage innovation. New product development documents from suppliers help you meet production schedules, achieve regulatory compliance, and meet label claim goals.

FlavorSum’s Regulatory Team compiled the following checklist to support your success.

Facility and Vendor Documentation

Before commercializing your new food or drink, you’ll need to identify and evaluate ingredient suppliers. New product development documents gathered during supplier selection aim to confirm that health and safety systems are in place and align with your requirements.

HEALTH AND SAFETY DOCUMENTS

Your ingredient supplier should provide the following documentation about their products.

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Letter of Guarantee. The letter’s contents indicate the ingredient supplier’s compliance with Federal food safety guidelines and cite adherence to specific acts or statutes. For flavor ingredients, look for the phrase “all ingredients are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) or have been approved by a regulation of the Food and Drug Administration.”

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FDA Registration. Ask for proof that the supplier is a registered food manufacturer.

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Food Defense Plan Compliance. Confirm that the ingredient supplier complies with the Safe Quality Foods Code parameters and follows applicable Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules.

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GFSI-Recognized Food Safety Certificate The ingredient supplier should have documentation that shows adherence to the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). SQF is a leading food safety standard recognized by GFSI and approved as a benchmarked program that meets stringent requirements for food safety management systems.

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Master Certificate of Insurance. The ingredient supplier should verify they have insurance coverage that will protect you in case of damage or loss related to the supplier’s product.

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENT SUPPLIER SAFETY DOCUMENTS

Other health and safety areas that new product development documents can address to meet your guidelines for approved vendors include:

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Emergency Contact List. People you can call for help with health and safety questions about the ingredient supplier’s products.

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Animal Testing Statement. The supplier affirms they do not test their products on animals.

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BSE TSE Statement. Confirmation that ingredients used in the supplier’s finished products do not contain Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE).

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BST Statement. Acknowledgment that ingredients in finished products do not contain bovine somatotrophin (bST).

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RTE Statement. For flavors, a ready-to-eat (RTE statement) provides reassurance that the solutions are safe to use in RTE foods without additional processing. The statement also recommends using flavors at good manufacturing levels in a finished food or beverage.

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Supplier Approval Program Statement. Ingredient suppliers purchase raw materials from other vendors. The Supplier Approval Program Statement confirms they have a process for vetting vendor compliance with FSMA and GFSI standards.

You may also ask your ingredient supplier to share their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan. A HACCP plan outlines the steps the vendor takes to identify and control potential hazards in the production of an ingredient and confirm that it is safe for consumption.

Some food and beverage manufacturers may also ask ingredient suppliers to complete a questionnaire to capture additional details that demonstrate the vendor’s product and production comply with quality standards.

SKU-Related Documents

Part of the commercialization process for foods and beverages involves obtaining ingredient documentation that supports your quality and manufacturing requirements. SKU-related documents provide essential information to your internal teams.

INGREDIENT TECHNICAL DOCUMENTATION

Your ingredient supplier should provide you with the following documents to help with new product development:

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A Product Specification Sheet (sometimes called a Technical Data Sheet (TDS)) contains information about the specific ingredient, such as components, packaging, storage, shelf life, nutritional profile, allergens, and physical and sensory properties. For flavors, physical properties include gravity and refractive indices; sensory dimensions include taste, odor, and appearance.

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A Safety Data Sheet (SDS). The SDS shares details about the ingredient’s properties. It also outlines any physical, health, and environmental health hazards, protective measures, and safety precautions for handling, storing, and transporting the component.

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A Bioengineered (BE) Statement. The USDA implemented the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) to disclose of the presence of BE ingredients for labeling purposes.

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A Certificate of Analysis (COA) confirms your supplier’s conformance to safety and quality standards and specifications provided to customers. It includes information such as the product name, lot number, manufacture date, best use by date, ingredient listing, and storage recommendations. The COA will also note that physical and sensory properties meet standards.

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENT-SPECIFIC DOCUMENTS

Some ingredient suppliers may also have documentation to facilitate understanding of their lot code system and label information.

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A Lot Code Explanation is the “decoder ring” for understanding how the ingredient manufacturer manages production batches. Some coding may include the year, month, and date of the ingredient’s manufacture. Other systems may use sequential numbering.

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A Label Example details the information on the supplier’s ingredient, including the manufacturing site address, product details, allergens, best-by date, and recommended storage. For flavor solutions, the label will also show hazard pictograms and warnings, if applicable. The label will provide regulatory claims associated with the ingredient such as Organic, Kosher, or Halal Certified.

DOCUMENTS TO SUPPORT CONSUMER CLAIMS

Brands incorporating ingredients that align with shopper interest in Kosher, Halal, or Organic products can support those claims with third-party certifications.

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Kosher Certification assures you that a rabbinic Agency verified that the product ingredients, production facility, and production method contain no trace of non-kosher substances. The Kosher symbol on the packaging of your finished goods tells shoppers the product and production processes adhere to all Kosher Law requirements.

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Halal Certification confirms that the supplier and the ingredients they produce have approval for Halal compliance in accordance with Islamic Law.

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Organic Certification verifies that the supplier facility has completed and passed an audit to conform to organic regulations. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) established organic regulations, 7 CFR Part 205 for the National Organic Program. In Canada, suppliers must adhere to regulations set by the Canada Organic Regime.

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RSPO Certification represents a set of environmental and social criteria companies must comply with to produce RSPO-certified sustainable Palm Oil.

DOCUMENTS FOR REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS

If you’re bottling flavored alcoholic beverages for the U.S. market, you’ll need federal government approval of the beverage formulas. The Alcohol, Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) must review and approve certain ingredients in alcoholic beverages, including added flavors:

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To confirm that ingredients comply with federal requirements and meet safety standards.

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To assign brewers and distillers the correct tax classification.

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To ensure product labels provide non-misleading information about the beverage.

When adding flavors into your alcoholic beverage innovation, you must submit a Flavor Ingredient Data Sheet (FIDS) with your formula. Your flavor partner can file the necessary application to receive a FIDS for flavor solutions. The form verifies the alcohol content of the flavor system and provides a natural or artificial designation. FIDS also offers a maximum usage rate reflecting the limited ingredients the flavor may contain, such as artificial vanillin, propylene glycol, artificial maltol, and preservatives.

Need New Product Development Documents For Your Next Food or Beverage Launch?

The FlavorSum Regulatory team offers you deep expertise to support new product development in the U.S. and Canada. When you partner with us, you can register for a FlavorSum Access account to download the corporate and product-specific technical documentation and speed up your commercialization process. Contact us for additional regulatory or flavor questions!

Author

Holly Griffin

Holly Griffin is the Senior Regulatory Specialist for FlavorSum. She shares more than 12 years of experience with regulatory compliance in the food and beverage industry with FlavorSum teams and customers. She earned her B.S. in food science from the University of Arkansas, and joined FlavorSum in 2021.

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