As you probably know, my wife and I have been supporting our family with home-based food businesses since 2005. The majority of our income comes from our Meal Prep Delivery Business, Magic Meals Home Delivery.
This year during our annual food safety inspection, our State Department of Agriculture Health Inspector asked us to document our cooking and packaging process as a resource for them to share with others starting a business similar to ours.
Of course, we happily did it because we love helping people achieve their dreams. There is enough business for more than one meal solutions service like ours, even in our small city.
After taking the time to write out our tried-and-true procedures, I decided that it could be of value to you as well.
Keep in mind that this is a simplified prep & packaging process and to nail this process without some trial-and-error you’d need some more specific help.
We’re considering turning this process into a complete course, and if you would be interested in such a product please let us know in the comments below.
Likewise, if you want more information about our processes, I’d encourage you to signup for my food business emails. I’d love to see you achieve your dream of supporting your family from a kitchen in your own home.
Meal Prep Delivery Business Cooking And Packaging Process
- We purchase the majority of our ingredients from local grocery stores at the beginning of each book week. Other’s ingredients come from local producers who follow all necessary regulations to offer their products to resalers like us.
- Using those ingredients, each menu item is fully cooked during the first few days of our cook week.
- During the cooking process, we use food-grade thermometers to ensure that the finished product reaches the proper internal temperatures before being considered fully cooked.
- Each menu item is then quickly cooled to under 40 degrees, which is verified with a food-grade thermometer. We cool all food using one or more of the following procedures based on the specific food item.
- Ice Bath
- Regular Stirring
- Commercial Refrigeration
- Separation Into Small Portions
- Transferring To A Larger Container With Less Depth & More Surface Area
- Those safely cooled items are then marked with the date before being stored in our commercial refrigeration until packaged for customers within the next few days.
- When packaging, we remove the items from refrigeration and fill our meal trays assembly-line style. As each tray is completed, it’s taken to the heat sealer where a food grade film is attached.
- The trays immediately go either directly to a freezer or back into the commercial refrigeration if our freezers are still working to freeze previous trays. Trays that go into refrigeration will be moved to the freezers within a few hours.
- At the end of our cook week, unused perishable ingredients are discarded in preparation for the next work week.
That’s the basics and armed with these basics you’ll be years ahead of those who really do start from scratch.
Most importantly, I encourage you to try to consider your Health Inspector as an ally instead of an advisory. It’s not always easy, but it is worthwhile.
I’ll write an article about your relationship with your Health Inspector one of these days. If you want to see it sooner than later, let me know in the comments.
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