Do you know what the Parliament canteen and the Kannelmäki primary school canteen have in common? No? The menus at both canteens were created by the Fazer Food Services product development team. The members of the Amica menu development team are a combination of precise scientists, creative inventors and catering professionals with an eye for trends and palate for great food.

Amica restaurants use thousands of recipes, each of which has been created, tested and tasted by the Fazer product development team. Product developers continually try new recipes and food products and modify old recipes. Some recipes are used in all of the almost 400 Amica restaurants, but many are customised to a specific restaurant.

We are always developing new recipes based on customers’ taste

preferences and the feedback we receive. Sometimes a recipe needs to be revised because an ingredient changes. For example, if a fresh product replaces a frozen one, the recipe must be adjusted and tested, so that it will work with the new ingredient,” says Head Chef and Product Developer Sebastian Petersen.

Product development involves a diverse range of variables. Meal planning is based not only on the prices and availability of ingredients, but also on customers and the standard of equipment at each Amica restaurant.

“The recipes must also be suitable for a kitchen equipped with just a stewpot and an oven. We also take account of allergies by using lactose-free dairy products and other ingredients that are suitable for as many people as possible,” Sebastian explains.

Meal development is teamwork that entails listening to customers, planning together, cooking in the test kitchen and tasting the meals with colleagues. New meals are always tested at the staff restaurant at the Fazer Food Services headquarters. The meals are given marks for taste, composition and appearance. Only the recipes with the best marks are extensively distributed.

Converting a meal for ten into a product for 200 people cannot be done simply by multiplying the quantities of ingredients. Instead, it requires tasting and testing.

Sebastian Petersen has worked for 17 years in the catering industry. He likes the variation in his job: every day is different.
“My work includes taking care of the details of launching new restaurants as well as modernising older ones. Sometimes we prepare meals for food magazine shoots at a studio, and sometimes we develop takeaway meals or test the composition and usability of frozen meals.”

Although his work is related to food, Sebastian likes to cook at home as well. His little food critics like lasagne made by daddy the best. What meals appeal to all groups, regardless of age or status?
“Fried Baltic herring with mashed potatoes. It is loved by corporate executives and schoolchildren alike,” says Sebastian.