anyone know about making mixes for stuff like muffins?

Joined Aug 13, 2006
We (my family) was thinking of trying to market simple mixes for simple baked goods like muffins, probably for the UK.  I know making from scratch is every bit as easy as a mix, but many people think it's impossibly difficult.  My daughter thinks these might have a market there, that they could be made through an existing bakery or food plant, and I'm the one who is supposed to work on the formula. 

I was thinking they should be simple, without preservatives and where you add milk, eggs, butter (yeah, i know, it's ridiculous, because the rest is just measuring sugar and salt and baking powder, but yet people seem to particularly like mixes where you add these ingredients yourself.  And that would avoid all the crappy additives, fake shortenings, etc.)

What i wanted to know is anyone has done this, if anyone knows if flour, cornmeal, oats, bran, dried blueberries, cranberries, raisins, baking powder, baking soda, salt, etc, need any special treatment to be kept for a year, say, in a normal package. I;d work on a recipe that can add the liquid ingredients all at once.  
Joined Sep 8, 2003
I do a scone mix that I sell at farmers' markets and out of my cafe, and yes, I agree that it's hilarious that people will pay $3-$4 for a 1# bag of flour, leavening and sugar!  Although I'm not certain of this, I was told that the bags have to have a 6 month  or less shelf life.  I would think dried fruit would be fine, although I don't add them in.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
thanks, lentil.  I was thinking the bags could be vacuum packed - i get whole grain flour at the health store like this and it lasts longer.  But it may be a greater cost.  I would think the shelf life would be the lowest shelf life of any of its components - wouldn;t it?
Joined Feb 1, 2007
That's true, Siduri. Shortest shelf-life product equals the total shelf life.

Whole grain flours have a tendency to go rancid, unless stabalizers are added, because of their greater oil content.

I think, though, you are approaching this backwards. Your daughter needs to consult with a food packager first, to find out what special requirements there are. Let her discuss what you are planning, and what has to be done to assure shelf-life. At the same time, she can get an idea of costs. One thing to keep in mind is that the food packager's people are expert not only in mixing and filling, but they can handle packaging, and, sometimes, even distribution as well. So her conversation with the sales & technical folks should be as broad-based as possible.

Then, with that info, you can develop the formulae.

Keep in mind, too, that the packaged-mix market is fairly saturated, by some pretty big players at that. So you'll have to spend a lot of time on your marketing and promotion package to acquire any sort of market share.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
Thanks, KY, for the thoughtful information and advice.  We're at the initial brainstorming phase right now, but for sure contacting the packagers is the first step, even before any serious market research i think. 

In the UK there is less of a proliferation of mixes, and we get the feeling that with the strong influence the US has there, culturally and food-wise, we might have a good market. And there are not as yet many (or any) mixes of the sort we're planning.  Also there's a big culture of street markets with food, ranging from huge ones to tiny neighborhood ones that people will often go out of their way to get to.   It could be a way to get known, selling some muffins AND mix to get known and then distribute to selected stores. 

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