Lila Jasmine - great products start with successful R&D

FOODPILOT

One new business has a great problem – they cannot make enough product to satisfy the demand. Renata Lardelli and her husband Jeremy created Lila Jasmine - a hand-baked lactation bar. Launched early in 2020, they are now stuck between a rock and a hard place – as so many new businesses are.

“We simply cannot bake fast enough to keep up with demand, but we also are not ready to start making nearly 100,000 bars at a time.” This, explains Renata, is the minimum manufacturing quantity needed at a contract manufacturer to move production into their facilities.

“We are forever sold out and with our other commitments, we are in an impossible situation as we simply cannot do enough baking to meet the demand.”

Let’s roll the clock back and better understand the predicament Renata is in - as it’s an incredibly common one for young businesses. Armed with an idea to create lactation bars for breastfeeding mothers, Renata approached FoodPilot at Massey University to do the required research and development to develop a product they could commercialise. Using her background as a nurse and midwife, she was very clear about what the product needed to look and taste like, but everything in between needed to be developed. The brief was for delicious, on-the-go bars of goodness made with natural ingredients which have traditionally been used to boost lactation. “Just like how grandma made it,” was the term Renata used to describe her ideal product.

The technologists at FoodPilot formulated the bars, working closely with Renata and Jeremy to ensure that the texture and flavours were up to their expectations.

Following the successful development, FoodPilot produced a larger batch to be trialled on her customer base. “We could have done it, but the investment into time would have not made sense and there would have been things we missed.” Shelf life was another important element and Renata says she is blown away at how the team at FoodPilot nailed it. “They got in the first couple of goes and I could not be happier – it was well worth the investment and our customer trial was incredible.”

Armed with the scaled-up recipe and confidence in the product, they headed to a commercial kitchen and began production themselves. Covid got in the way, stopping them accessing this facility, so they worked on getting their home kitchen compliant and resumed production.

But with a young family and fulltime jobs elsewhere, they simply cannot meet demand, and the 100,000 minimum manufacturing was “too scary.” After lots of hunting around, they found a contract manufacturer who will enable them to scale-up sufficiently, but with a smaller (and less scary) production run. These bars will be available in spring 2021.

With some help from family and with other products in mind, Renata says she would never contemplate going elsewhere for support. “They’ve been fantastic to work with turning an idea into a tangible product. They are a wealth of knowledge and experience, and they work quickly and efficiently. I never think twice about recommending FoodPilot to anyone who is considering a new food product. They are simply incredible.”

www.lilajasmine.co.nz