100% Regulatory Compliance Guaranteed
For food manufacturers and distributors of all sizes, understanding food label regulations can be overwhelming. There are many specific rules, FDA/USDA differences as well as nuances for package sizes and claims. Let us help you navigate the regulations and develop 100% compliant labels for your products.
Custom Training and Onboarding for Great Harvest Bakery and Cafe
Great Harvest Bakery Cafe began in the 1970's making whole wheat bread from scratch. The now 200-unit franchise still sources its wheat berries from Montana and ships them to stores across the country. Each store grinds the wheat berries into flour on-site no more than 48 hours before baking. Today, the product line has expanded far beyond bread to include whole wheat cookies, muffins, scones, bars, a number of fresh-made sandwiches, spreads and sauces, plus a variety of energy bars, biscotti and granola sold at retail. Great Harvest has approved both recipes and ingredient vendors, yet franchisees are not required to use either, introducing great variability in recipes and ingredients alike.
Non-standard formulas and ingredients, multiplied by 200 franchisees, create enormous complexity for Great Harvest's nutritional analysis and food label development. Adding to this complexity is the range of product categories, retail products and cafe items. For many years, Great Harvest managed this function through an in-house Registered Dietitian (RD) who performed nutritional analysis for each bakery and developed labels accordingly. When that resource left the company, Great Harvest was confronted with how to ensure compliant ingredient statements, food labels for retail items and restaurant menu labeling for cafe items.
Great Harvest determined that outsourcing the RD function to Food Consulting Company was a viable strategy if partnered with a smart, motivated product manager who could learn the food labeling ropes. Food Consulting Company created a custom onboarding and training program specific to the products and menu items that Great Harvest produces. The training was individualized, hands on, and focused on the tools and software systems required to develop compliant food labels. The first four weeks consisted of 1x1 training with the Great Harvest staff followed by a period of being an on-call resource to help Great Harvest through the transition.
The custom onboarding and training program developed for the Great Harvest staff helped the company transition to effective management of multiple, varied and complex food labels across a number of food categories, ensuring 100% compliance.
Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. The staff who had no prior knowledge of food labeling came up to speed quickly without any cost of travel or time away from the office. The team continues to get labels completed faster and more cost-effectively. Most importantly, Great Harvest management has a go-to-resource they trust to ensure food and menu labeling are done right. Ultimately, this protects the company and brand.
"We're incredibly grateful that Food Consulting Company was our training and onboarding partner, as well as a resource going forward. They make the process approachable and compliance easy. When we need guidance – they are there. It's like having an expert safety net always on your side."
— Janet Tatarka, Director of Bakery Logistics and Training, Great Harvest Franchising Inc.
Certified Organic Bakery Sprouts Savings
For over 20 years, Alvarado Street Bakery has been a global supplier of certified organic whole grain breads and bagels made with sprouted wheat. Alvarado Street Bakery, through its worker-owned cooperative structure, uses whole grain and organic ingredients wherever possible to support sustainable agricultural practices and healthy living. The company has received multiple awards for its valuable contributions to both the economy and the environment.
Fifteen years ago, nutritional data bases did not include information for sprouted wheat. To ensure compliant food labels, Alvarado Street Bakery performed lab analysis for each new variety of bread. The process was both time-consuming and costly as the company mailed loaves of bread back and forth to an out of town laboratory for analysis. In addition, the unique “flour-less” organic ingredients require extra attention to detail to steer through regulatory requirements.
Food Consulting Company offered a more cost-effective and resource-friendly approach to develop nutrition data and Nutrition Facts Panels for sprouted wheat products. They helped create a standardized nutrient profile for this novel ingredient so that future lab analysis for each new finished product would not be required. In addition to significant cost savings and faster turn-around time, Food Consulting Company gives the bakery more confidence in its nutritional information.
Over the past 15 years, Food Consulting Company has continued to help Alvarado Street Bakery with all of the company’s labeling projects and regulatory needs including nutritional facts panels, unique customer requests, and guidance to target desired nutritional claims with specific formulations.
Working with Food Consulting Company has saved Alvarado Street Bakery both time and money. Food Consulting Company makes the process easy – from labeling on product packaging to ingredient specification sheets to staying up-to-date on label regulations. The bakery rests assured that their product documentation is accurate and packing is FDA compliant.
Food Consulting Company has also helped Alvarado Street Bakery be more responsive to its customers. When asked for an extended nutrient profile for an urgent customer deadline, Food Consulting Company can turn on a dime to address issues and opportunities. In addition, the bakery appreciates the 24/7 access to all of its completed work files on a secure web portal. This allows for quick access to react to customers requests – even if away from office computers. The perspective from those who work with Food Consulting Company daily: They make Alvarado Street Bakery “look good.”
Alvarado Street Bakery stays informed on food labeling regulations through Food Consulting Company’s e-newsletter, Food Label News, and their insightful project comments. The bakery turns to Food Consulting Company to help make the right choices for regulatory compliance.
"No matter how many different sizes and slices, Food Consulting Company takes the stress out of nutrition facts labeling."
— Michelle Zimmerman, Labeling Manager, Alvarado Street Bakery
Ancient Chinese Tradition At Home in Los Angeles
When it comes to celebrating the Moon Festival each Autumn, Chinese residents of L.A. feel right at home. Kee Wah Bakery has kept alive the Chinese tradition of eating mooncakes in the months before the Moon Festival since 1938 when the company began selling in Hong Kong. Now with four locations in the L.A. area, the family owned and operated bakeries delight Chinese customers with many varieties of the freshly baked, seasonal delicacy. Mooncakes, sweet pastries filled with lotus paste, ham and mixed nuts or pineapple paste, feature one to five duck egg yolks that resemble the moon. Kee Wah sells mooncakes in their own bakeries (retail) and also wholesales them to others.
Expanding mooncake distribution beyond wholesale and entering the retail market was a new venture for Kee Wah Bakeries. Janice Wong, the family’s third generation in the business, knew she needed accurate nutrition information for retail packaging but was not sure how to get it and then how to create food labels that she could be sure were compliant. Ms. Wong sought guidance about food label basics: label format, size and type of font, allergy statement, etc. as well as finished Nutrition Facts labels for her products.
A specific challenge was to accurately assess the nutrition value for duck egg yolks, the featured ingredient in mooncakes, but not very common in U.S. foods.
Kee Wah Bakeries learned about Karen Duester from Food Consulting Company and contacted her right away. The process began with a review of mooncake formulas and samples. A combination of database analysis and research was used to determine accurate values for all of the ingredients. Food Consulting Company conducted specialized research on duck egg yolks in particular to determine nutrition values for this rarely used ingredient that has little benchmark information.
As a service for clients, Food Consulting Company also inventoried all formulas in a database, enabling easy access in the future when new labels were required.
Since Kee Wah Bakeries first reached out to Food Consulting Company in 2001, the companies have worked together for many moons creating labels for over 30 products. Food Consulting Company’s practice of archiving formula and nutrition data for clients has made updating Nutrition Facts labels very efficient, whether for a new size like mini mooncakes or new flavors.
For example, to comply with new facts label regulations, Food Consulting Company can quickly access mooncake formulas and determine the values for information that is now required: added sugars, potassium values, fiber content, serving size, and other important aspects for the label
"It’s so easy to get labels redone. Food Consulting Company remembers me and my products so it’s quick and easy to get the job done. They work very efficiently, without needing to go back and forth to clarify issues. The team is pretty clear about what their customers want and execute it quickly without any errors."
— Janice Wong, Corporate Manager, Kee Wah Bakery
Replacement Product Gets Expanded Nutrition Labels
Infinity is a food manufacturer that creates branded products for retail. They are known for working closely with their clients to develop innovative ideas that turn into successful product lines. From concept to product R&D to manufacturing and packaging, Intevation delivers reliable service at every step, earning the respect and loyalty of some of the industry’s largest retailers and brand manufacturers.
Infinity reached out to Food Consulting Company to handle unique product labeling for a major retail store. The retailer requested that an existing product be replaced with one reformulated to be free of partially hydrogenated oils (PHO) and also requested expanded nutrition information. All new packaging was required.
Food labelers at Infinity asked for help from Food Consulting Company, their “go to” nutrition company. Given Food Consulting Company’s expertise, they created and delivered Nutrition Facts and ingredient statements quickly and professionally. When the retailer requested extra nutrition information after the labels were developed, our team was able to address their needs right away.
Working with Food Consulting Company enabled Infinity Foods to keep its important customer satisfied and quicken the approval process for the replacement product. The primary goal was to get the requested information to the retailer and proceed with long lead time packaging. While the new product has not yet launched, Food Consulting Company was instrumental in keeping the package development on schedule. Accurate food labels continue to be a very critical component launching a new product, even if it is a replacement for an existing product. Infinity Foods staff agreed that the Food Consulting Company team was highly professional, delivered materials in a timely manner, and gave Infinity Foods and the retailer full confidence that the final product was accurate and met all FDA food labeling regulations.
“I have used the services of Food Consulting Company at my past position at another food manufacturer. I was so pleased with the results that one of the first things I did in my new position was to bring on their services. What a great addition to our team!”
— Kristi Arend, Director of Quality Assurance, Infinity Foods