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Getting to the Root of the Product

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The trends in the food world are always evolving, but one, in particular, is here to stay: traceability of raw materials. The more savvy retailers are focusing on these issues, and demanding COA's (Certificates of Analysis) on file prior to putting private labels on any product appearing on their shelves.

What does this mean for the producer of the product? For commodity or single-ingredient items, it’s relatively simple: the COA states the source of the product, which often is the producer itself.

For "value-added" or multi-ingredient items, this becomes a bit trickier. Retailers who truly care about protecting their customers' safety and their own brand require COAs for every item in the product's ingredient deck.

As a producer, the most effective way to ensure that you have done your due diligence in terms of traceability is to get GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) certified. The objective of GFSI is to make "safe food for consumers everywhere." I know that I speak ad nauseum about "Safety First," yet nothing rings truer than knowing that the food you and your family ingest is consistently safe to eat. If your facility is already SQF and BRC certified, then you are good to go (GFSI is a component of these two audits).

Customers want the assurance that the food that they purchase is safe. It's all good and well to have a "No China" policy, but this same situation could happen anywhere if you do not back this up with thorough sourcing of ingredients. If a retailer communicates the mission of food safety clearly to the customer, then the customer will reward the retailer with loyalty. That's a safe bet.

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