Elise Deming, MS, RDN
Since joining the Campbell team, I will never look at recipes the same way again. A lot of care and expertise goes into developing recipes that resonate with consumers. There can be a big difference between those that are professionally developed and those that are created by an amateur—I learned this first hand. While cooking dinner one evening, blindly following a drool-worthy cauliflower crust pizza recipe, I had no doubt the result would be delicious. However, to my hangry disappointment, I dined on flavorless, tomato cauliflower mush instead of the delectable pizza promised in the blog pictures.
Poorly developed recipes can ruin an evening and frustrate followers and clients. In contrast, well designed recipes build trust with clients and customers and keep them coming back. My first introduction to professional recipe development provided a glimpse into the complexity behind professionally developed recipes.
Testing, Tasting, & Teamwork in the Kitchen
Contrary to popular belief, in 2018, the NPD Group reported more than 80% of eating occasions were prepared and consumed at home.1 What does this mean? Most people eat and cook at home, likely increasing recipe use and demand.
Tasty and replicable recipes take planning. I’ll admit, I’ve created a delicious dish and quickly shared the recipe with friends and family. Is it fine-tuned? No. Is it replicable? Hopefully. Was I excited about it? Absolutely!
Recipes at Campbell aren’t just thrown together and posted. The process involves numerous taste panels and cooking trials. A team of nutrition professionals, culinary chefs, professional recipe developers, marketers, product developers, and others evaluate all aspects of a recipe. They assess recipes based on taste, nutritional profile, visual appeal, texture, number of ingredients, cost, etc. The end goal is a flavor-packed recipe that is delicious, easy-to-make, budget friendly, and one the family will love.
Most nutrition professionals don’t have the support of professional test kitchens, but this shouldn’t discourage you from sharing your recipes with your clients or consumers. I sat down with Jane Freiman, Director of Campbell Consumer Test Kitchen, who shared her pro tips on best practices in recipe development.
- Understand your target audience. The more you can understand your audience, the better you can meet their needs, interests, and skill level in the kitchen. Jane recommends understanding their income, how often they shop, family size, and eating habits.
- Choose purposeful ingredients. Ensure every ingredient used is present for a reason – everyone is busy, and everyone is on a budget, so make sure each ingredient is absolutely essential to the flavor and experience of the dish.
- Be extremely clear when writing recipes. Assume your audience has very basic cooking skills. Always be specific, avoid using culinary terms, and make sure all ingredients are accessible to the client.
- Recruit recipe testers. Ask multiple people to make the recipe and incorporate their feedback before publishing or sharing more broadly. This could even include enlisting customers, clients, or friends.
- Don’t force feed anyone. Pick recipes that have broad appeal. When you know your audience, you can understand the recipes they desire. Providing recipes that meet their flavor preferences and lifestyle ensures a repeat customer.
A Dietitian’s Secret Weapon
A good recipe establishes a relationship, builds trust, and increases engagement with clients. When developed well, dietitians can use recipes as a vital tool to foster lifestyle change.
Turn Recommendations into Actions
A well-developed recipe transforms abstract nutrition recommendations into actionable tasks. When a dietitian recommends adding more fiber into a diet, hands the client a recipe for Indian-Spiced Cauliflower with Chickpeas & Farro, and proceeds to walk the client through the recipe highlighting the sources of fiber, the take home message is more meaningful.
Increase Client & Consumer Retention
Whether you counsel clients one on one or publish content online, your audience should feel that healthy eating is obtainable. Recipes developed with best practices are essential to building this confidence in consumers and help the publisher maintain credibility. At Campbell, I’ve learned how recipes help us bring consumers back to our products and brands. The same can be true for your clinical practice or in a public health setting.
Recipes are a powerful tool. When developed thoughtfully,
they can build relationships and trust with clients or consumers, while providing them with a delicious
experience. Use our pro tips to help create recipes that appeal to your audience and grow your practice.
In best health,
Elise’s BioElise graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences, completed her dietetic internship at Virginia Tech University, and then receives her Master’s of Clinical Nutrition from East Tennessee State University. At Campbell’s, Elise provides technical guidance for external reporting and nutrition labeling, as well as contributes to nutrition trendspotting, communications, and programming. Elise has previously worked as a retail dietitian and freelance nutrition consultant for a variety of clients. Elise sits on the Philadelphia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Board as well as the Pennsylvania Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics AME 2020 Planning Committee.
- NPD Group, Inc. (2018). U.S. Consumers Are Increasingly Eating and Preparing Their Meals At Home Often With The Help Of Foodservice. Retrieved from https://www.npd.com/wps/portal/npd/us/news/press-releases/2018/-s-consumers-are-increasingly-eating-and-preparing-their-meals-at-home-often-with-the-help-of-foodservice/.