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What is a Yield Test?

Instructor: Sudha Aravindan

Sudha has a Doctor of Education degree in math education and is currently working as a Information Technology Specialist.

In this lesson on food and beverage management, we discuss yield testing, a food service operation. This is used to determine the final yield of the product that is consumable after all the processing is completed.

What Is a Yield Test?

One Saturday morning, Janet decided to try to make orange marmalade. She followed a recipe and used about 5 pounds of oranges. It took her a long time to peel the oranges and remove the skins and add sugar and cook the fruit down until it turned into marmalade. At the end of the process, she was a little surprised that the amount of marmalade was much less than the amount of oranges she had put in!

When plums are processed to be made into jelly, the final yield does not include seeds and skin.
Plums made into Jelly

Yield is the amount of food material that is available for consumption after the food is prepared and processed and turned into the final product. Yield test is a testing process to determine accurately the amount of raw materials needed to produce a certain amount of final processed product. For example, to make pomegranate juice, yield testing helps provide an estimate of how much juice can be produced from 10 pomegranates after the outer shell and seeds are removed.

Kinds of Yield Tests

Depending on the food materials used, there are different kinds of yield tests.

Butchers Test:

Pam is a butcher at the local grocery store. She periodically performs a butchers yield test, which involves meat, poultry, or fish, to determine the amount of chicken that needs to be processed for 20 gallons of chicken soup the deli makes every Wednesday.

The process involves:

  1. Taking the weight of the whole chicken with skins and bones before any processing is done.
  2. Cutting the chicken, and separating the skin, bones, and gizzards and any other unusable parts from the usable parts.
  3. Weighing the usable and unusable parts separately and making sure that the total of the weights of all the parts is equal to the initial weight of the whole chicken.
  4. Determining the percentage of usable parts in relation to the weight of the whole chicken before processing was done.
  5. Determining the weight of the cooked chicken pieces in the final, ready-to-eat product, which is the soup.

The butchers test helps Pam plan in advance to have a more accurate estimate of how much chicken has to be processed for the 20 gallons of chicken soup. It also helps the deli determine the cost of the soup per 8-ounce cup as the deli includes in its calculations the total cost of the chicken it takes to make the soup, including the cost of the parts that were not added to the soup.

Cooking Loss Test:

Jennifer makes homemade jams and jellies that she distributes to local farm stores. She uses the cooking loss test to determine how much fruit to purchase to get the number of jars that she needs. Because she is working with fresh fruit and the processing requires the fruit to be cooked down, there is a significant amount of fruit weight that is lost as the fruit loses a lot of the water content as it is cooked.

The process she follows is to:

  1. Weigh the fruit as purchased.
  2. Separate the skin and leaves and any other unusable parts of the fruit from the usable parts.
  3. Weigh the usable and unusable parts separately.
  4. Cook down the fruit to its final consistency without adding anything else.
  5. Determine the percentage of the final weight of the cooked fruit in relation to the initial weight of the fresh fruit that was weighed before any processing was done.

Terminology

The following terms are commonly used in the process of yield testing.

As Purchased, or AP weight
This is the initial weight of the food materials weighed as is, after they are purchased.
Edible Product, or EP weight
This is the weight of only the usable parts of the food materials after all the unusable portions are removed. For cooked items, this is the weight of the final processed food product after the cooking processes are completed on the usable parts of the food. For sellable items, this is the unit weight per quantity of the food as it is finally served.
Yield Percentage, or YP
This is the percentage of final yield or usable portions of the food. This will be different for different food items, and it can change depending on the nature of the processing. The yield percentage can be calculated using the formula: (EP/AP)*100.

Example: Calculate & Estimate Yield Percentage

Pam is processing salmon for salmon burgers. She uses 5 pounds of whole salmon. The salmon has unusable parts — skin, scales, head, bones, and guts that she removes. The total weight of the unusable parts is 2 pounds. What is the yield percentage? Estimate the amount of salmon to purchase to get 6 pounds of salmon burgers.

Solution:

Here we have AP = 5 lb.

EP = is the edible product weight, which is the difference between the weight of the product as purchased (AP) and the weight of the unusable parts (2 lb.)

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