Food industry challenge: Getting to where ‘we are cooking and not manufacturing’

No one wants their food to be ‘manufactured’ – and unsurprisingly that’s a challenge for those in the food manufacturing business – so comments Waitrose executive development chef, Jonathan Moore, in an interview with

Moore’s job involves guiding the retailer’s innovation strategy, travelling the world looking for trends that could appear on the UK market 18 months or more down the line, and then working with manufacturers to translate global restaurant and street food trends into supermarket products.

“The role is really constantly looking at where those beacons are coming from,” he said.

For food companies, one beacon in particular has become difficult to ignore: Most consumers want simple, freshly cooked food – and they certainly don’t want to eat something that seems ‘manufactured’.

“For manufacturers, the problem is the future looks non-manufactured,” he said. “How do we get to a place where we are cooking and not manufacturing?”

Some manufacturers have started to address that question, but in general, food factories have been set up around volume and efficiency, while restaurant chefs tend to work by adding layers of flavours and ingredients.

“You need to ask how you do that as a manufacturer,” Moore said. “…If you were building a factory today, you probably wouldn’t build it as they are set up now. They are still being built like they were 20 years ago.”

He suggested that an ideal factory might include a section dedicated to cooking and reducing flavours, while another might be dedicated to roasting spices, and “everything comes together as a kitchen”.

The finished product should not look manufactured, but “personalised, made for me”, he said…. Read the full story