Product Development Services

Our aim is to help start or expand Virginia food businesses by assisting with the navigation of the regulations and requirements of creating value-added food products. Much of our work is focused on the Prince Edward County Cannery & Commercial Kitchen where we promote food production for retail sale. We also speak at conferences, offer consultation to like-minded organizations, and work one on one with entrepreneurs and farmers.

Our facility is approved to process acid and acidified foods for retail sale. We may be able to accommodate fresh and frozen packaged foods on a case-by-case basis. At this time, the cannery is unable to process meat products for retail sale.

Many food producers and growers have never had the opportunity to work with the commercial equipment available at the facility so we offer advice and supervision as needed. Our certified and experienced staff is available to discuss the following:

  • Sanitation guidelines
  • Food processing regulations
  • Proper use of the cannery’s equipment

Other assistance includes:

  • Providing a checklist of necessary steps required to process foods for retail sale
  • Sharing FDA and VDACS label requirements
  • Scaling recipes for bulk production
  • Testing of product pH
  • Sourcing of raw ingredients (we prefer locally grown!)
  • Selecting containers
  • Recommending sales markets for final product

For information on personal use of the cannery (not for resale), visit the Prince Edward County Cannery page.

Product Development

The following is a basic list of some of the necessary steps when creating a value-added food product.  Virginia Food Works can offer advice on each of these steps. Contact us for detailed information on the following:

  1. Finalize your recipe. If using one of Virginia Food Works’ pre-approved recipes, you may skip this step.
  • Taste test recipe and get feedback.
  • Test pH of product (can be done at the cannery).
  • Make sure that scaling & bottling does not adversely affect flavor or texture.

2. Schedule a tour and/or test batch at the cannery.

3. Choose a jar and lid combination that are suitable for your process.

4. If not using VFW’s pre-approved recipes, contact a Process Authority (food scientist) with your recipe and product samples. You will need:

  • Ingredient list & quantities/weights.
  • Detailed list of production steps.
  • Two samples required for application.

5. Design a product label that meets regulations.

6. Register your business, if needed.

7. Schedule time at the cannery to make your product!

8. Practice proper product handling and traceability procedures.

FOR RENTAL CLIENTS ONLY: If you are not using our Co-packing service and intend to rent the facility, you will need to do several additional steps, including and not necessarily limited to:

1. Acquire food product liability insurance.

2. Submit Registration form (with Process Approval, label, etc.) to Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

3. If applicable, obtain Better Process Control School certification.

4. If applicable, file recipe and Process Approval with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

5. Schedule inspection with VDACS.

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