Last week, we outlined the basics of a Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification, examining the benefits, costs and the steps. However, the biggest piece of this food safety certification is passing the actual audit. Here, we provide a comprehensive look at the initial SQF certification audit process, including the time frame and scoring parameters.
Consumers’ increasing scrutiny of the food industry continues to crank up the hot seat for processors and manufacturers. Consumers not only want to ensure the food they’re putting into their bodies is safe, they want proof. This has led to a slew of third-party food safety certifications. The globally recognized Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification is one specific program gaining traction among food companies thanks to its comprehensiveness and consistency. Approved by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), the SQF program follows a “one world; one standard” vision, reducing the need for multiple food safety audits. So, what’s involved in a SQF certification? Let’s take a look at the basics of obtaining an SQF certification, from the fees to the steps involved.
Stellar recently exhibited at the American Society of Baking’s (ASB) annual BakingTech conference in Chicago. “Gluten-free” continues to be a topic on the rise among the attendees. This isn’t surprising, as more and more companies are incorporating gluten-free products into their offering arsenals. However, a common challenge for food manufacturers going gluten-free is preventing cross-contamination, whether it’s modifying existing plants or embarking on greenfield projects. Gluten-free products also require specific distribution and processing considerations that may differ from what manufacturers are used to, from mixing methods to storage. So, how do you safely integrate gluten-free manufacturing into your bakery plant?
Family-owned premium poultry processor Bell & Evans has remained at the front of its industry’s flock by prioritizing high quality from all angles—from its antibiotic-free chicken to the materials and processes within its facilities. The most recent example of this commitment? A 160,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art chicken packaging, further processing, par-fry and storage plant in its hometown of Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania. Stellar was the design-builder for the poultry plant project and found it to be unlike any other project we’ve been a part of. This new facility is infused with cutting edge innovation and durability inside and out, from its materials and finishes to its packaging process.
At this time of year, many food processors are planning next year’s capital expenditures, which often means piecing together budgets for upcoming food plant construction projects. It is important to create the most accurate budget possible: a tricky task. Frequently, food processors prepare budgets without the assistance of an experienced design-builder. By doing so, they make assumptions that can skew their entire budget.
A manufacturing plan is a key piece of your food business’ overall strategic plan. Your manufacturing plan is a clear set of actions driven by gaps and discoveries from your manufacturing analysis, or the analysis of your business’ manufacturing processes.
A manufacturing analysis is the portion of a strategic plan that focuses on all the processes and materials related to manufacturing. A situation analysis is a major focus of the manufacturing analysis, serving as an in-depth look at the physical layout of the facility. The goal of situation analysis is to ensure that the technology and strategy you plan to implement are feasible in the physical space of your facility.
The food and beverage industry today is all about consumer demand and meeting preferences for tastes, specialty ingredients and preparations (such as non-GMO, Kosher and gluten-free), flexible packaging, and convenient serving sizes.
Take the coffee industry for example: One customer wants a special blend in a light roast with a medium grind. Another customer wants a different blend in a dark roast with a fine grind. You can do the math and see the exponential impact of the options. Every variation creates a unique SKU for the coffee producer.
In this day and age of fierce competition and tighter budgets, food manufacturers are often faced with making critical—and expensive—business decisions as part of their strategic plan. Should you refurbish existing equipment or buy new equipment to meet your manufacturing needs? Should you add product lines to increase market share and what impact would that have on current operations?
What will your food processing facility look like in the future based on your growth projections? Will you expand your current facility, buy and develop adjacent property or will it be necessary to embark on a greenfield project? A master plan—a comprehensive three-to-five-year plan that determines your facility’s physical and site requirements based on growth projections—can help answer these questions.