We’re super excited to launch our new Quoats flavour – Apple, Pear & Cinnamon so I thought I’d share a little insight into what goes into developing a new flavour….
The first thing we needed when looking at a new flavour was ideas! We asked our friends, family and lovely social followers what flavours they’d like to see and a resounding favourite was some sort of apple based flavour. As you know we like to play around with flavours somewhat, so we thought about what would go with apple – cinnamon was the obvious choice, but blackberries and pear were also on the table (literally!). So we got making and tasting – this happened in our kitchen with whichever family member was passing and we came to the conclusion that apple, pear and cinnamon was the winning combination.
Having decided on the flavours we then set about refining the recipe – the ratio of apple to pear to cinnamon as well as whether we should have apple with no peel, green peel or red peel were very serious conversations! We had tasting after tasting with our poor family and friends. Once we’d refined it down to two options we decided to go for a larger scale test with a more honest audience – we managed to grab a slot at the very popular Hovingham market and the good people of North Yorkshire, from small children to grandparents, willingly tried two versions and gave their opinions. One final test was to send to two of our favourite stockists – the brilliant Fooder and the wonderful Melrose & Morgan who gave their expert opinion. Many, many scribbled pieces of paper with scores of taste, texture, smell and appearance later (and some spilt porridge!) we had our recipe!
The next thing was to find suppliers for these ingredients – whilst we loved Rob’s Grandma’s suggestion of using unusual apple varieties from the farm orchard that’s not really viable from food safety and scaling point of view so we went to commercial wholesalers (slightly better lead times when we need more apples than me planting an apple tree, waiting for it to grow then harvesting and using the apples!). The biggest challenge was finding a cinnamon wholesaler who would sell to us small quantities – the percentage of cinnamon in the porridge is fairly small and we produced a small batch to start as a test which meant we only needed a few kilos. You can therefore imagine my surprise when I rang one gentleman who told me the smallest quantity he would sell it in was by the container load!!
Whilst we were busy testing flavour and sorting ingredients the wonderful Tonik were busy designing our new Apple, Pear & Cinnamon packaging. We took this opportunity to give our packaging a couple of tweaks – they’re pretty minor but the eagle eyed amongst you will spot the differences!
Finally, many months after we first started thinking of developing a new flavour, we were ready for production! The lead time on these things is months for a small company like us, and it maybe a few more months before you see it in the stores as there is a lag getting it into the shops – happily my web skills are marginally quicker (just!) so you can buy it on our website now!