Tag Archives: business

Food Processor’s Reference Manual – Free Online Information

Here is a 288 page , high quality manual covering the steps required to set up a small food processing business.  


click image to visit website  

The table of the contents of the book says it all 

The only downside is that it is written for Canada so many of the contacts are not applicable to local circumstances. However, the quality and depth of the information and the fact that it’s free to download make its retention as a reference worthwhile. 

Food Safety In An Informal Food System

This 2004 report gives some interesting information on cooked food vending in Lusaka and Harare which accommodate 5 355 and 1 100 businesses. The size of the sector in Harare was felt to be growing because of the difficult economic situation but constrained law enforcement situation.

Improving food safety of informally vended foods In Southern Africa

from: researchintouse.com
(click image for full story online)

Other interesting numbers are that in Lusaka cooked food vending creates jobs for 16,000 people, serves more than 81 million meals of nshima and beef stew per year, and makes an annual profit of approximately £5.5 million pounds.

That should interest innovative food processors!

The report, for those interested in development work and training, should be an interesting view of how projects are run with many stakeholders and the format of the training that is required to influence large sectors.

Product Developers Guide – Free Online Book

This is a comprehensive publication covering the supporting business and organisational issues as well as focussing on idea generation and screening, product concepts and design specifications & product design and process development.

The body of the book is presented in a straight forward and clear manner and is supported by examples and ideas for further thought.

Creating New Foods. The Product Developer_s Guide - Contents.jpg

from: NZIFST
(click image for full story online)

The book is published for free on the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology website.

My only difficulty is that you need to read this book online and can’t download or print it as a single document.

Food Product Based Business Ideas.

The Ministry of Food Processing Industries in the Indian Government runs a webpage titles Project Profiles that links directly or indirectly to product specific business ideas.



from: Ministry of Food Processing Industries
(click image for full story online)


This links to hundreds of mini business plans which cover details of the process, equipment, manpower, utilities, costs etc. Some of the indirect links from the page give more detailed information on projects eg Enterepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad, so its worth surfing around a bit.

These profiles are not directly applicable because they are developed for India, include Indian costs and tend not to be dated. However, they do give good ideas and show clearly the type of information that has to be collected just to think about a product Idea.

Remember India is very successful in the small business sector!

Biscuits in the Boardroom

This research came to the conclusion that serving the right biscuit in the boardroom contributes to clinching business deals!

Biscuits are good for business.jpg

from: Food and Drink Europe
(click image for full story online)


Some of the pearls in the report are:

.. 58 per cent said biscuits can “positively influence a company’s first impressions”.

.. biscuits were deemed the second most important aspect when hobnobbing in the boardroom, coming behind only the type of tables and chairs provided. Biscuits were prioritised over the lighting, technology and artwork in the room.

The classic chocolate digestives proved to be the professionals’ preferred biscuit. However, its top status meant it was also considered the biscuit of choice to soften the blow when delivering bad news for 18 per cent respondents.

Shortbread came in second for the boardroom’s top biscuits, followed by oat biscuits such as Hobnobs, jam rings and then Bourbons.

.. 28 per cent saying they would refuse a biscuit if it looked too crumbly.

— 48 per cent said they would dunk, while 52 per cent frowned on the act. However, men (55 per cent) are rather more likely to dunk than women (45 per cent).

.. half of professionals would not take more than two biscuits during the meeting, with only 18 per cent saying they would stretch to three.

Projects to Enterprises

The co-operative was “changing projects into business enterprises, make more profits so people can get more money and change there living”.

This was, this morning as I was watching Ulimo, a magazine for emerging farmers in South Africa. The statement was by Sandile Adam the Project Leader of the Uitenhage & Dispatch Development Initiative.

This is what I was alluding to in my blog of 06/12/2007, where I referred to West African Projects which were unable to make a real difference.

I had personal experience of a similar thing when I started out looking at small business in South Africa in the early 1990s.

An obvious opportunity for small business was small scale (100s of loaves a day) bakeries. At the time most standard white and brown bread was baked in large regional bakeries, which delivered into the rural areas, sometimes as infrequently as every second day. These deliveries were to a very large number of local shops selling tens of loaves a day over very poor roads. Demand in these areas for bread and rice was low because of its high cost compared to the staple which is mealie meal.


We worked with a supplier of flour to develop a breadmix that took the technology out of the baking – ie the mix was adjusted to account for the particular bread flour characteristics, meaning that baking was a “bag of ingredients plus a bucked of water” process. Appropriate ovens were bought or built and some 20 projects established. The supplier of the mix implemented and managed the projects using one of the company’s master bakers.

I was involved in the set up of some of the early bakeries and facilitated an approach where an appropriate entrepreneur was established in business through the “offices” of the community’s development activities. At one particular bakery we were confronted by a different approach – the group preferred to share, the “salary” that was affordable by the business, between 24 bakers, rather than the 3 that the business model proposed. This was so that at least “everyone would get something”.

What was interesting, was that over the months I was able to compare these two models of running a bakery. The entrepreneurial one succeeded as the entrepreneur was able to put real effort into the activity. He did this because his “income” was directly related to what he did. It was also true that he had a sales point through his rural shop. In the group approach the “bakers” enjoyed the few dollars they earned and the comradeship of the bakery. They were not prepared to put an effort in to growing sales at they neither saw a real reward for effort nor a threat of loss of income for inactivity. This was because changes in the very small income were effectively insignificant. The small income was also not able to make a any real difference to their lives.

The project did not succeed in setting up large numbers of bakeries because of a change in the industry with the deregulation of baking leading to a boom in small urban bakeries. Also, as has been revealed lately, prices were controlled and manipulated by the large bakers giving the small baker of standard bread little opportunity.

Maputaland Tree Butcheries


The once common tree butchery of Maputaland have all but vanished for non technical reasons. I plan to investigate it a bit and see if there is a basis for new business. I would appreciate any feedback or ideas from anyone interested.

At the time that I was working on palm wine preservation in Maputaland, I sometimes ate at the local tree butcheries and was always interested in how they operated,

Cattle were slaughtered occasionally in response to the demand to ensure that meat was not stored for long periods. Slaughtering was done by hanging the carcass from a tree and carefully removing the innards intact. these were separated into usable and waste material and the waste buried.


Passersby either made a meal of the meat which was braaied (the South African term for barbecue) on the spot or bought to take home.

What was noticeable about the meat was the deeper yellow colour of the fat, the fact that it was tougher and tastier than the meat from the supermarket and that it was sometimes still warm!
The tree butcheries were evaluated microbiologically to understand their impact on consumer health. It was found that the meat matched that from a modern microbiologically, but that the animal health issues were not addressed according to modern standards. It was concluded that the main contribute to the hygiene at the tree butcheries was the periods when slaughtering did not take place which broke microbial build up and the simple cleanliness practices.

The tree butcheries no longer exist, apparently due mainly to police interventions aimed at controlling stock theft that became rife in the mid nineties.

I believe an attempt should be made to re look at this enterprise which created jobs and a market for cattle, to try and design a new business model matching the current situation