The food processor s guide
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CTA. 2001. The food processor?s guide. Spore 96. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46383
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore96.pdf
Setting up and running a small food business. Opportunities in food processing Edited by P J Fellows and B Axtell. CTA, 2001. 298 pp. ISBN 92 9081 246X CTA number 1041. 40 credit points
It s quite a recipe. Take a growth sector, add ten enthusiastic practitioners mainly from ACP countries, give them time and space to work together, let them write up what they know best, add a few herbs of grammar and some spices of style, let the juices do their work as they say, and you will soon have a sturdy and practical guide to, in this case, food processing. And have this guide you really should, if, like many others, you have selected food processing as a sector with almost endless opportunities for generating income using locally available resources. Or you may work in a support role, in an advisory service or finance institution. This book will not tell you how to store dairy products, package sun-dried fruits, track down hand-operated canning plants, think through recruitment or design a poster. (Later volumes will deal with specific products and operations; the first two in preparation cover milling and baking, and the processing of fish, meat and dairy products; others will follow.) Instead, this book will help you deal with such topics, but only if you genuinely want to grow, whether from your backyard worktable with six co-workers or your bottling unit with sixty employees. Apart from a chapter full of nutritional data and explanations of food poisoning, bacteria, storage techniques and the effects of heat, moisture, air, light and acidity (for example, spilt fruit juice can erode a concrete floor), it is more about process than processing. It explains feasibility studies; dealing with suppliers, retailers and customers; setting up production; laws covering hygiene, labour and labelling; managing the business; customer care; and quality control. Probably the only notable omission is relationships with trade unions, since this sector is one of the most unionised in ACP countries. The book presents a fine set of conventional wisdoms: the chapters on finance and organisation, for example, could have come from any standard textbook on enterprise development. Its user-friendliness even includes a feedback form which many readers will no doubt return to share experiences and improve the resources lists for future editions. Two aspects make it outstanding. First the clarity of presentation and text, despite the editors lavish use of the passive tense (normally a no-go area, according to the manuals about writing manuals) and excesses in slapping the label case study on what are often just calculations or home truths. That s labelling, they might say. Secondly, as well as the Tips for success which kick off each chapter, it s the little gems of caution that make the difference. Here are three: avoid hiring unsupervised students to do market research; think twice and twice again about cutting out the middleman; 50% of business failures come through hiccups in the distribution chain. And best of all: you have many customers, but it is the consumer who decides if your products will sell. This one will. Order it now, it will help you sell your products like hot cakes. Setting up and running a small food business. Opportunities in food processing Edited by P J Fellows and B Axtell. CTA, 2001. 298 pp. ISBN 92 9081 246X CTA number 1041. 40 credit points.