Vida Verde, juices and smoothies, LSBU consultancy project
Working with LSBU gives businesses access to academics and experts trained to challenge existing ways of thinking and find novel solutions.
Sometimes all that an organisation needs is a fresh perspective and LSBU offers that through our consultancy, on a short-term basis or through a longer-term partnership.
One example of a business which formed a consultancy partnership with LSBU was Vida Verde, who manufactures and sells smoothies.
Vida Verde was set up in 2004 by Julie Dias to produce and market smoothie drinks manufactured from fruit pulps and juices imported from Brazil and combined with locally sourced ingredients. Trading and piloting her drinks from a juice bar at the Truman Brewery over the years, Julie identified a new market opportunity for bottled smoothie products. The objective was to launch dairy-free smoothies made from Amazon fruits with enhanced nutritional qualities.
In order to pursue her business objectives, Julie needed considerable technical support. She was confident of her recipes but lacked knowledge in testing them, preparing specifications and complying with food hygiene and safety standards.
Transition to manufacturing on a large scale involves a number of challenges such as determining suitable preservation treatments, establish an appropriate shelf life, produce labels, give nutritional information and establish a hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) management system which is a legal requirement for a food business.
Working with experience
Julie was successful in gaining financial support from SME Innovation which enabled her to work with an experienced academic at LSBU's London Food Centre.
The project focused on the development of four new products based on recipes that were popular at the Juice Bar. It was essential that Julie was actively involved in the project to ensure that she gained new technological skills, so she visited LSBU once a week. She learnt about the importance of checking raw materials to ensure they were in specification, recipe control, process control, labelling requirements, shelf life estimation and food safety management.
This allowed Julie to select her ingredients on a scientific basis with confidence in specifications, legal requirements and the hazards associated with food processing and distribution of bottled fruit drinks.
Julie has achieved her principal objective of bringing a small range of bottled smoothie products to retail and is taking repeat orders of 150 bottles per week in London. Vida Verde is currently supplying the Pavilion organic café in Victoria Park, Spitalfields Organics café in Broadway Market and My Village organic café in Camden.
On top of this, the collaboration has helped put in place several practises which could help Vida Verde expand even further. They are now introducing product development templates which enable expansion of the brand to new drinks.
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