Northwest Naturals specializes in creating quality fruit juice concentrates that meet or go beyond our customers' needs by providing the flavor they are looking to achieve. Whether the flavor comes from a stock or custom formulation, our process is flexible and accommodating for each client's specific requirements. In this post, we take a deep dive into what a stock formulation is vs. custom formulation, with FAQs answered by our R&D specialist, Carolyn T.
What is a stock formulation?
Northwest Naturals stock formulation is a legacy product created internally to fill a void in the industry. Each stock formulation has been thoroughly tested, widely used, and has become a tried and true product loved by the NWN team and our clients. We know the ins and outs of how the flavor works and the specifications around it, we're able to quickly recommend a stock formulation to prospective clients.
NWN currently has 20 stock formulas containing single fruit (WONF) and stocks of mixed juice concentrates like passionfruit orange guava, rhubarb cherry pie, and so on.
What is a custom formulation?
Northwest Naturals considers a custom formulation a juice blend uniquely designed for a customer based on their application specifications and the flavor they are looking to achieve. Often, a NWN stock flavor will meet the client's needs, but when they are looking to achieve a very unique taste and/or working with an application that changes in consistency, such as ice cream, yogurt, or a beverage with either a high or low alcohol level, we begin exploring the option of creating a custom blend.
How do you decipher when to use stock formulation vs. custom formulation?
It's on a case-by-case basis. Typically our stock inventory will meet the needs of our clients. But when a customer has a complicated application, we'll look into a more custom formulation to make it work.
A complicated application can contain technical challenges. For example, we'll create a custom blend that stands up to heat for a baking product. Or, if it's a frozen good, we'll customize a blend that can withstand freezing temperatures while keeping its delicious taste, and so on.
What is the process of creating a custom formulation?
A custom juice formulation starts with a customer reaching out to a sales team member with their idea. The client is asked to fill out a product development worksheet with questions that help the NWN R&D team understand and formulate their product. R&D will then review the sheet and will reach out to the customer if they have further questions. If not, they will begin working on the product, test it, and create the application based on what they think will be best and ensure it will work.
Once R&D creates a product they are happy with, samples will be sent to the client for testing and approval. The review process can take anywhere from one week to a year, depending on the client's satisfaction with the product. Our approach is very flexible, and we will continue making revisions until we get the perfect product down.
Sometimes, when the back and forth becomes too lengthy, clients have visited Northwest Naturals HQ to work alongside the R&D team in the lab to save time and money on logistics. It’s also an enjoyable, collaborative effort!
To read more about how NWN creates the perfect custom juice blend, visit our past blog post.
Are there similarities between a Stock and Custom Formulation?
They are similar in that they could have many of the same base ingredients but may use different flavors, slightly different base ingredients to customize one, and might change color slightly. The process of approval is also the same. However, the elements that are used and the way the product is created are vastly different.
Is there a difference in cost?
Nope, pricing only depends on the order quantity. When creating a product with Northwest Naturals, the entire development process is free of charge, regardless of whether we're using a custom or stock formulation. This is one of the perks of working with NWN and another reason why our clients love collaborating with us!
Northwest Naturals has many tried and true blends that we use every day, but we equally love working with customers to create unique special juice blends that add value to their offering. If you have questions about a stock or custom formulation, or if you would like to inquire about an application you're working on, contact us!