Manage supplier information and ingredient specifications online. Renewal reminders and certification expiry warnings keep information up to date.
Develop recipes and watch every change made dynamically update the nutritional, cost and allergen information in real time.
Create product specifications and labels for relevant markets that update in line with recipe changes.
How it works
Recipes & Specifications is designed for:
This streamlined software gives you the functionality of our Recipes & Specifications development platform in a package designed specifically for restaurants and the people who run them.
On a single, intuitive dashboard you will develop recipes and scale measurements for plate and servings sizes, determine precise menu pricing based on ingredient costs, and easily access information about the allergens and nutrition of the dishes you create.
Then, store recipes (and all of their associated information) safely in the cloud; easily accessible from anywhere.
Medium to Large Food & Drink Manufacturers
Bringing great tasting food to the public is your business. And, to do that well, you need access to complete, consistent, and compliant ingredient information from suppliers.
With the R&S Development Dashboard, you will find all of the information you need at your fingertips. As recipes are created and adjusted, that information transforms into labels that meet your market’s regulations standards and specifications sheets that address consumer FAQs.
Feel secure about the ingredient and recipe data you provide to your pipeline, and know your labeling stands up to regulatory compliance, with Recipes & Specifications
Food & Drink Recipe Developers
Streamline your recipe development process. Bid farewell to the days of being overwhelmed and overworked by spreadsheets, emails, and PDF documents all holding different pieces of information and ingredients for the same recipes.
Recipes & Specifications’ intuitive, powerful solutions streamline recipe development from creation to final product, managing costs, compliance, labelling, nutrition and more.
Save time and focus on what you do best, instead of calculating and managing recipe information.
Supplier & Quality Managers
Stop the endless chase for supplier information, approvals, and ingredient specifications. And spend less time checking, double-checking, and re-verifying the inconsistent information you find across multiple sources of “truth” that are incomplete or outdated.
The R&S Development dashboard changes everything. This user-friendly (but incredibly powerful software) centralizes all of the supplier data you need. You’ll also enjoy the freedom to manage, update, and edit supplier information as needed. And, keep an eye on all specifications, accreditations, and certifications—ensuring nothing ever lapses or falls out-of-date.
YUM / KFC
How KFC manages changing regulations
Seeking a Single Source of Truth
Yum! Brands, Inc. is the world’s largest restaurant company in terms of system units with more than 39,000 restaurants in more than 125 countries and territories and 1.4 million associates. Yum! is ranked on the Fortune 500 List and last year, generated more than $13 billion in revenue. Brands, including KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, are the global leaders of the chicken, pizza and Mexican-style food categories.
In 2008, Yum! Australia decided to replace its Microsoft Excel spreadsheet based supplier and product system. Information provided by suppliers was keyed into the spreadsheet, but with between 18 and 30 new recipes added or updated each month – each containing from 5 to 15 items – the system was no longer viable. “We knew that the existing system had the potential to introduce errors at virtually every stage of the process,” explained Angela Cooper, KFC Consumer Information & Nutrition Manager – Food Innovation & Technology. “As well as not being certain that all of the information provided by suppliers was accurate and up-to-date, the process of rekeying information could also introduce errors, making it difficult to run searches and manage information.”
The problem was exacerbated because multiple suppliers were often used to provide raw materials. Cost of materials with the need to comply with emerging legislations and provide product information on nutrition, allergies, etc. at the point of sale, lead to the decision to implement a recipe management system.
Automating the processes
“We had a number of objectives, but our major requirement was for a solution that would provide a single point of entry for all information, and which would deliver a single source of truth,” continued Angela Cooper. “We also planned to interface the new system with our financial applications and require our suppliers to provide product information via PIFs which in turn had to be automatically uploaded to our new central database.”
“We needed a recipe management solution that was capable of meeting our international requirements, as well as providing the specific capabilities we needed to comply with anticipated future legislation,” continued Angela Cooper. “We discussed the issues with colleagues across the industry and the overriding recommendation was for Recipes & Specifications by Hamilton Grant, which was widely regarded as the benchmark against which all other solutions were measured.”
Satisfied that they had found their recipe management solution of choice, KFC Australia implemented our recipe management system, which is being closely monitored by the US parent company – Yum! Restaurants International – as this comprehensive solution may have potential to be rolled out across its other international business operations.
Accountability and compliance
Once live, the food product development software surpassed KFC’s expectations. In addition to reducing costs, the new system provides a single point of truth for all recipe information. Data provided by suppliers via PIFs is automatically uploaded and validated, reducing errors and placing the onus strictly upon suppliers to provide accurate and up-to-date information in compliance with national legislations. The reliability and legislated requirement for accuracy on the part of the supplier in completing the PIF is a contributory factor in KFC’s audit and control processes, enabling the company to demonstrate accountability and compliance while enhancing relationships with suppliers and customers.
A further and substantial benefit has been a considerable reduction in clinical analysis. With products comprising both cooked and uncooked goods, and with multiple suppliers for each constituent part of the overall product, it was crucial that accurate information on nutrition, allergy, etc. was obtained. “Previously we had to send a complete product to the lab for analysis and have tests undertaken on all items – both cooked and uncooked,” explained Angela Cooper. “With our new system and the information that it delivers, we now only have to analyse the cooked elements of the product, and have seen an almost immediate 10 to 20% reduction in our clinical analysis requirements, with corresponding savings in costs.”
With the system now integrated to back-office financial applications, KFC has full visibility of all product costings and can rapidly analyse new recipe opportunities both from business and legislative compliance aspects. Future plans include the roll-out of the system across the Australian operation where it will enhance recipe development, act as a single point of truth and provide the information required for successful and ongoing growth.
Angela Cooper, Consumer Information & Nutrition Manager – Food Innovation & Technology, KFC:
With our new system and the information that it delivers, we now only have to analyse the cooked elements of the product, and have seen an almost immediate 10 to 20% reduction in our clinical analysis requirements, with corresponding savings in costs.
How Recipes & Specification is making life easier
The Software Solution Making Life Easy for Allied Bakeries
Allied Bakeries is one of two divisions of Allied Milling and Baking, and along with Allied Mills they employ around 4000 people in total.
They produce the top 10 UK grocery brand Kingsmill, as well as Burgen, Allinson and Sunblest bread brands, and work closely with Allied Mills, who mill the flour needed to bake their products. Together they make up Allied Milling & Baking, which in turn is a part of Associated British Foods (ABF) plc. ABF is a major international business with a turnover of £15.4bn and over 130,000 employees working in 50 countries.
A Long and Productive Relationship
tretching back 15 years, the relationship between Allied Bakeries and FoodChain ID is going from strength to strength. What initially started as a cautious approach to a new software has become a way of life for Allied Bakeries.
The impetus for using the Recipes & Specifications was very pragmatic; “we simply wanted to better manage the flow of ingredient information through to the final product specification”, said Gillian Elward, Head of Technical Assurance at Allied Technical Centre. The Allied Bakeries team use the software to store their raw material database, from which the key characteristics of each raw material are drawn up into the recipe module, ready for use in NPD development. “We use the software in a very traditional manner, and this works well for us”, says Gillian. “We work with the NPD team to build and manipulate recipes that meet the theoretical requirements of the NPD team. For instance, the nutrition parameters, QUID count and allergen profile. This means we can meet nutrition targets at the earliest stage of recipe development, and allows us to use these recipes for the final product specification”.
But it’s clear that Allied Bakeries have seized the practicality of the software to do much more than simplify their recipe management process.
Easily Available Information
Over time Allied Bakeries have used Recipes & Specifications to host a lot more information, and are increasingly using it to store live information for their production sites. “We use the Recipes & Specifications in several ways to make sure we, in the centre and those at our production sites, can easily respond to questions from our customers and other external bodies” says Gillian.
The reporting functionality allows the team to view up to date information from their raw material and approved supplier databases, meaning they are never more than a few clicks away from reliably accurate information. Allied Bakeries make additional use of the ready availability of this data; managing allergen risk assessments using the approved recipes within Recipes & Specifications. This makes life easier for the whole team – the single source of information is reliable and easily accessible.
Removing the Pressure
Recipes & Specifications has delivered an incredible level of transparency which makes life a great deal easier for Gillian and her team. “We use it to pull up whatever information we need,” she says, “it’s so easy to design listings and reports to suit a specific need.” Whether it’s answering a customer query or responding to an internal question, the team simply create a report which extracts the necessary information with very little effort.
Gillian talks enthusiastically about the benefits of the system; it’s improved her team’s ability to respond to customers and suppliers. “It really does help our relationships” she says. “Not only in terms of providing the right information, but also in giving reassurance we can do so quickly.”
Simplicity of use
As a key tool in Allied Bakeries’ operation, it’s no surprise to learn that a broad cross-section of the business uses the software. The technical team updates the system, which is then viewed by all technical managers operating the sites.
It’s clear that ease of use goes a long way in making Recipes & Specifications the success it is for Allied Bakeries. Used by every site and to every production line, it’s proven itself as being simple to use and easy to view. “We have people who only view it occasionally, so it needs to be simple, and it is; it’s very intuitive”, explains Gillian.
It’s reassuring for Gillian and her team to know that support from FoodChain ID is always forthcoming, especially as there are so many people using the system. “We have a largely remote relationship with FoodChain ID; they are fantastic at responding quickly and appropriately when we need their support”.
And assistance isn’t limited to helpdesk support; on the occasions when Allied Bakeries have needed additional functionality, they have worked with our support team in onsite workshops to configure the system to their needs.
Agility of future requirements
Looking to the future, Gillian feels reassured that Recipes & Specifications places Allied Bakeries in an excellent position; “no matter how requirements change or increase, we’re comfortable extending our existing templates to contain new information”. It’s satisfying for Allied Bakeries to know they’re able to react in an instant if there’s a sudden need to supply new data. “If we suddenly need to include information about something three steps down the supply chain, or need a certificate number to prove the status of something, we’re able to do so with minimal fuss and disruption. We just build a new field, populate it and we’re compliant. We’re not shifting paper; we’re just going to one place to get that information. What could be easier?”
King & Prince Seafood
Getting recipe data under control
Getting Recipe Data Under Control With Food Focused Software
Established in the USA for over 65 years, King & Prince Seafood® is one of the largest seafood companies in the United States and operates under the umbrella organisation Nissui. They have three production facilities in the US – in Bellingham and Redmond, Washington and Brunswick, Georgia.
Their broad portfolio of fish, shrimp, calamari, crab, surimi and seafood blends is supplied direct to the hospitality and restaurant trade, and their wide range of customers illustrates the high standards and consistency of their operations.
Constrained by Inconsistency
With an enormous focus on quality and customer satisfaction, King & Prince Seafood found themselves increasingly hindered by an inconsistent and low-tech approach to recipe development, ingredients statements and allergen listings. The team suffered a couple of close calls when mislabelled allergens were identified in the NPD process. Existing safety procedures meant these allergens didn’t make it to the finished product, but alarm bells rang loudly for the King & Prince team. The way R&D technologists were working was inconsistent and time consuming; each technologist had their own way of working, all using flat Excel files unrelated to one-another. It was time to upgrade.
One Application for Everyone
“It was clear we needed something new to help us get our data under control” said Tracy McConnell, VP of Technical Services. On the face of it, their requirements were simple: King & Prince needed one application that would be the same for everyone, and they needed a database where they could store their ingredients information safely, instead of storing them in unrelated flat Excel files. After an in-depth benchmarking process, Tracy and her team established a long list of requirements and put the project out to tender. Of the six software companies they initially interviewed, three were brought in to provide working demonstrations. “It was instantly clear to us that the Recipes & Specifications templates were incredibly configurable”, says Tracy. “We’d be able to design the templates to exactly suit our requirements and wouldn’t be limited by the software.” Another important factor for Tracy was the way the software would allow end-users to lead the project. “The user-friendly interface meant R&D technologists could develop the software to suit their needs.
I’ve seen software where IT generates a template without a full understanding of its use and it ends up a complete disaster.” Tracy was determined the configurability of the software would be used to full effect. Kicking off the project, FoodChain ID trained the R&D technologists in the King & Prince headquarters in Brunswick, Georgia, USA. Initial training focused on recipe development and learning how to configure the system to meet their needs. This first-round training gave technologists the knowhow to create and manage their own templates. Regular conference calls supported this training to help the team and new starters get the most out of the software. Two years into the project, the FoodChain ID spent another week with King & Prince to review recipe development and work on additional equation and template training. Confident in the success of these training sessions, Tracy is working on a further on-site training session; “we really benefit from the face to face training sessions because we’re able to really focus in on the King & Prince-specific issues,” she explains.
A Streamlined and More Reliable System
The impetus for the project – the mislabelled allergen – means King & Prince is using Recipes & Specifications to meet the US Nutrition Facts label regulations. The software ensures accurate real-time label information; mislabelling can be confidently consigned to the history books for King & Prince. Additionally, the team at FoodChain ID adapted the software to allow labelling information to be translated into customer specifications and POS information, reducing workload for the team.
Tracy has been true to her intent and is exploiting the system to its full extent. The King & Prince team has embraced the system. “We’re working in such a way that Recipes & Specifications is the fulcrum from which data is extracted into other software. It’s really helped streamline our SAP process” says Tracy.
King and Prince has embedded Recipes & Specifications into the core of their business. “I knew when I first saw the configurability of the template that I could really make it work for us”, says Tracy. “It holds all our data and specifications, as well as all the supplier information. In fact, all data and verifications are done within the system”.
Moving beyond R&D, the system is of huge benefit across the organisation. Every department inputs data into the system. For instance, category management input forecasting into the system and supply chain uses it to document costs and other raw material information. Customer complaints and claims are held in the system, with the investigation and outcomes stored in the same place. King & Prince even use the it to carry out and store their risk assessments.
Keen to keep momentum in place, Tracy is eager to work Recipes & Specifications even harder. “Our project for the next quarter will be to add the action claims documents to the system. This will give everyone in the organisation visibility of the technical services documents; anyone will be able to access the recall program, complaints procedures and so on at any time, as a read-only file”.
Outstanding Performance Against KPIs
The excellent performance against King & Prince’s internal KPIs demonstrates the impact Recipes & Specifications has had. The NPD process cycle time has been transformed with an incredible decrease in specification review time from ten days to three days1 , while the CAPA cycle time (corrective action, root cause, preventative action workflow program) has reduced by an outstanding 50%2. And illustrating that the benefits go beyond internal processes, the customer complaint cycle time is a fraction of the 2015 figure of 21 days3 – meeting its goal of five days or less for root cause and corrective action.
Tracy is delighted with the way the Recipes & Specifications has helped transform the business to a more efficient and better-controlled organisation. The benefits have transformed the operation both within the organisation and with external providers and customers. The King & Prince team is determined to make the software work even harder and intend to configure the templates further as they move into 2018.
Tracy McConnell, VP of Technical Services, King & Prince Seafood, USA:
Recipes & Specifications has transformed King & Prince’s NPD process cycle time with an incredible decrease inspecification review time from ten days to three days, whilst the CAPA cycle time has reduced by an outstanding 50%. And, illustrating that the benefits go beyond internal processes, the customer complaint cycle time is a fraction of the 2015 figure of 21 days.
How to streamline a complex recipe development process
Streamlining a complex recipe development process
Strauss originated as a dairy company, founded in the 1930s by a family that had immigrated to Israel. Growing steadily over time through innovation and collaboration, Strauss joined forces with the confectionary company Elite, becoming Strauss-Elite. Now known as Strauss Group Ltd, this international food and beverage company has a presence in 20 countries worldwide with headquarters in Israel. Strauss is Israel’s largest food manufacturer, a result of good business, heritage and an ability to understand the cultural requirements of this complex market.
Strauss runs a diverse range of business units, with product categories that include salads, dairy products, salty snacks and coffee products. Strauss has over 14,000 employees worldwide.
A Need for Simplification
Strauss Israel embarked on a project to replace their existing recipe management process. Different teams used a variety of systems and relied heavily upon Excel. This inconsistent approach was having a detrimental effect on the productivity of the R&D department, and a centralised system was urgently needed.
Considering the scale of Strauss Israel, it was crucial to find a system that would cope with the complexity involved. “Our first challenge was to create a unified process that all our business units could use” explained Dario Arditi, Director of Applications in IT. Multiple business units ran across different sites, each working in a slightly different way. This made it vital to create a central solution that everyone would recognise and respect. The second challenge was to find a system that would integrate effectively with the Strauss centralised ERP system (SAP). “Given most of the organisation works with a single installation of SAP, we knew it would be challenging to connect two systems”.
Prior to starting the project, inconsistencies and duplication of effort were common place. “We had different software installations, not only between plants, but also between teams and individuals” explained Dario. The variation in software usage led to inconsistencies in the way teams and business units worked. “Some teams developed their recipes in the software, others did it in Excel only using the centralised software to store the final data. There were many duplications; in some cases recipes were stored in triplicate”. The lack of visibility provided by the old system meant multiple versions were stored in different places, with teams unclear as to which was the correct version.
The variation also affected business continuity. When R&D technologists left the organisation, their data was as good as lost. Core data was inconsistently named and inconsistently filed; finding correct data quickly was almost an impossibility.
Manual Double Handling
Duplication of effort was also a big concern. Once a recipe was developed in the system, data was input into Excel and then shared with other team members. The recipients would then manually input this data into SAP. This additional effort took up needless time, and meant highly skilled R&D technologists were distracted from their primary task of recipe development. It also increased the risk of data input errors – the likelihood for user errors increasing with each manual input or data manipulation.
The lack of automation also made it difficult to adapt for different versions of the same product – there were no automated workflows or approvals; the system was basic and did little to support the scale of such a large organisation.
“We are a food company. It felt uncomfortable to know that the main data for our products was just lying around in multiple Excel spreadsheets.”
A Return to the Core Focus
After a rigorous tender process, Strauss selected food industry specialists FoodChain ID to work on this complex project. Strauss strongly believed that their new supplier must be able to create a unified system for all business units, whilst taking account of the unique challenges facing the food industry; Recipes & Specifications ticked all the boxes. Strauss were also impressed with the user-friendly interface and the ability of Recipes & Specifications to integrate with their existing SAP system. Having set up similar systems many times before, FoodChain ID’s experience in integrating with SAP was a crucial factor.
More than 20 years’ development and a pure focus on the food and beverage industry meant Recipes & Specifications software was uniquely positioned to support Strauss as they simplified their recipe management process. More than just “another” FoodChain ID used their in-depth knowledge of the food industry to create a system that would support the complex and demanding requirements of an organisation as vast as Strauss.
Despite the urgent need to streamline their systems, Strauss chose a phased approach to launch the new software. What may have appeared to be a cautious approach was the result of the complexity involved, and the huge amount of work needed. Transferring 1500 SKUs with their corresponding raw materials and data sheets was an almost overwhelming task.
Considering the cultural requirements of the Israeli market and the additional complexity that Kosher compliance demands, it was clear that Strauss had their work cut out. “The sheer amount of data that needs to be verified and input makes this a very long task”, commented Dario.
Over the course of 12 months and with the support of the FoodChain ID team, Strauss checked, repaired and input data into the new software, in parallel to running the existing business system. The pilot phase of the Recipes & Specifications software went live with a team of R&D technologists and Dario was impressed with how quickly the new software has helped reduce complexity and improve efficiency for the Strauss team: “we stretched our old systems to the limit – the difference with Recipes & Specifications is immediately clear: workflows are working well, data is compliant and we’re auto-creating labels with ease”.
A Brighter and Simpler Future
It’s a delight for Dario to see how well the business adapted to Recipes & Specifications: “products are working well in the new system and users are learning the new system quickly” comments Dario. He’s also impressed with the way it empowered the Strauss team to lead the project, in no small part a result of FoodChain ID’s in-depth understanding of the food & beverage market. “The assistance and industry knowledge of FoodChain ID has been a huge benefit. Their proactivity and insight meant
they understood our complex requirements 100%. The training was so thorough we now only call for their help if we get stuck – it’s been a huge shift in the way we operate”.
How to face business-critical compliance with multi-national legislation
Business Critical Compliance with Multi-national Legislations
Based in Heerenveen, The Netherlands and with production facilities in Kampen, Leeuwarden and Ommen, Ausnutria Hyproca supplies the international market with a range of healthy and nutritional formula, under its own brand name, private label and through contract manufacturing services for consumer and commercial markets alike.
With products based on cow and goat milk (and fresh goat milk products sold under its own brand name) and with over 100 years of experience in the dairy industry, Ausnutria Hyproca’s products are geared to the needs of growing children in various age categories (Infant formula, Follow-on formula, Growing-up formula) with services for the development and production of special formulas, geared to the nutritional requirements of the target group. The company’s dairy ingredients form the basis for a wide variety of products, and as rhe Netherlands’ largest butter producers Ausnutria Hyproca is the global market leader in development, production and marketing of products based on goat milk for the business-to-business market.
Critical Control Points
High-quality is essential and in the children’s food industry of vital importance. Each step of the production processes is therefore aimed at guaranteeing this quality. Ausnutria Hyproca’s approach to quality management is consistent, systematic and thorough, aimed at continuous improvement. All production processes, raw materials and end products are extensively tested in terms of quality and food safety aspects and in order to provide clients the best possible food safety guarantee, all production processes are conducted according to critical control points (HACCP), closely linked to the Dutch and European foodstuffs legislation and the standards of the Codex Alimentarius.
“We develop and supply products to customers throughout the world, and therefore have to comply with legislation and mandates from numerous different countries – both for content and labelling and with clearly marked allergen information,” explained Johan de Boer, Product Developer and Administrator of the HG Recipe Management System at Ausnutria Hyproca. “Besides the constant focus on quality, our product development has to be based not only on legislation and regulations but also on market developments and the wishes and requirements of our clients. We apply the very latest insights and knowledge of research institutes and universities for the development, production and packaging of products and have the know-how to adapt infant formula to the locally applicable legislation and regulations per country.”
Partnering with the Experts
In 2011, Ausnutria Hyproca decided to implement a recipe management process that could handle the company’s ongoing growth and its expansion into new markets, and which would streamline the processes to ensure that recipes complied with international legislations.
Historically, the company had relied upon Excel spreadsheets, particularly in Research and Development, to develop new recipes and refine existing recipes to meet a wide range of stringent and differing international legislations. “These procedures were open to error,” explained Johan de Boer. “With a number of people working on formulas at the same time, the system could introduce errors in manually entering and manipulating data.”
Recognising that it needed a solution to address both recipe management and formula optimisation, the company evaluated offerings from a number of specialist suppliers before deciding to partner with FoodChain ID. “We were particularly impressed with Recipes & Specifications as it was critical that our new and existing recipes complied with existing labels and legislation,” continued Johan de Boer. “We cannot assume that our raw materials comply with multi international legislations and have to check compliance at every stage of the process. Formula Optimizer automated our reformulation process and allowed us to set nutrition limits, permitted ingredients, ingredient limits, ratios and tolerances – features that meet our every requirement.”
Having decided to partner with FoodChain ID, Ausnutria Hyproca implemented both Recipes & Specifications and the formula optimizer module. Developed and enhanced over the years in line with evolving markets and requirements from its customer base, Recipes & Specifications drives the recipe lifecycle from new product development through to end-of-life, managing recipes across any number of production sites, improving efficiency and legislative compliance. Combined with formula optimizer, which automatically creates recipes from desired nutritional profiles, selects ingredients, sets their amounts and minimizes the formulation’s cost, this gave Ausnutria Hyproca the required assurances that each production batch met all relevant and necessary compliance regulations and legislation.
“Once implemented, the Recipes & Specifications allowed us to increase our business as we were enabled to make large improvements to our recipe development activities, a fundamental part of the new product development process” added Johan de Boer. “Customers are even able to send us specifications for new products, which we could develop and deliver, again in complete compliance with legislation.”
Proactive response to new EU legislation
Recently the European Commission introduced new legislation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers. One change to existing legislation is the obligation to highlight allergens in the list of ingredients,” explained Johan de Boer. “We contacted FoodChain ID to ask whether they would be developing their software to address this issue, and we were extremely impressed to hear that there was an update already available for us to download and implement.” With year-on-year growth and expansion into new markets, Ausnutria Hyproca’s partnership with FoodChain ID continues. Plans for the future include integration with the company’s ERP systems and the implementation of Recipes & Specifications which will give Ausnutria Hyproca the ability to design and adapt specification templates and other forms, creating a single, integrated, Technical Management System to act as the strategic interface between suppliers, customers, and industry standards associations around the world.
Johan de Boer, Product Developer and Administrator of the HG Recipe Management System, Ausnutria Hyproca:
Once implemented, Recipes & Specifications allowed us to increase our business as we were enabled to make large improvements to our recipe development activities, a fundamental part of the new product development process” added Johan de Boer. “Customers were even able to send us specifications for new products, which we could develop and deliver, again in complete compliance with legislation.
How to formulate at lower cost and gain price competitiveness
Innovation Results in Least Cost Formulation and Competitive Price Points as Colony Brands Capitalises on New Market Opportunities
Founded in 1926 in Monroe, Wisconsin as a mail order company selling cheese products, The Swiss Colony, Inc. grew to become one of the world’s largest and most successful catalogue, mail-order and electronic retail companies. In 2010, the corporate name was changed to Colony Brands, Inc. to better reflect the company’s position as a parent company for its extensive portfolio of food and non-food catalogues, internet and subsidiaries. Today, Colony Brands is one of the largest direct marketers in the United States, known for its cheese, sausage, chocolate, fruitcakes, and other food products as well as extensive offerings in furniture, home decor, apparel, entertainment products, and electronics.
Colony Brands owns many different catalogue companies, including Ashro, Montgomery Ward, The Swiss Colony, Wisconsin Cheeseman, Midnight Velvet, Home at Five, Ginny’s, Monroe and Maine, Country Door, Tender Filet, and Seventh Avenue. The Swiss Colony, LLC subsidiary – the largest subsidiary of Colony Brands – continues to sell cheese, pastries, sausage and other food and gift items to the general public and retail businesses through the Swiss Colony catalogues and web site.
Entering the Retail Market
Colony Brands decided to replace its existing and aging recipe management processes. “Although our current system had served us well in the past, it could no longer deliver the features and capabilities we needed to remain competitive, especially as we were expanding the retail side of our business,” explained Michelle Frame, Colony Brands’ Food Innovation Director. “Our entry into the retail market meant that we had to meet competitive price points and undertake least cost formulation, something that our existing recipe management process could not provide.”
In addition to its current outmoded system, Colony Brands also relied heavily on Excel spreadsheets, particularly in Research and Development, to develop new recipes and refine existing recipes to meet the very tight costs demanded by the retail markets. “These procedures were open to error,” said Michelle Frame. “Even with the best care in the world, user errors were made in manually entering and manipulating data, and once a new recipe had been developed, there were further opportunities for error when the final information was rekeyed into our recipe management system.”
A solution that ticks all the boxes
Having researched the recipe management systems market, Colony Brands evaluated offerings from a number of suppliers before deciding to partner with FoodChain ID. “We had two key requirements,” continued Michelle Frame. “Our new recipe management system had to be super user-friendly. We are a catalogue, mail order and electronic retail business, not an IT company and our staff had to be able to hit the ground running with any new solution. We also wanted a solution that was simple to install and did not have to be customised before it went live as it was urgently needed by R&D.”
Recipes & Specifications ticked all of the boxes. Developed and enhanced over the years in line with evolving markets and requirements from its customer base, it drives the recipe lifecycle from new product development through to end-of-life, managing recipes across any number of production sites, improving efficiency and legislative compliance.
“From the outset, we could see measurable benefits and improvements,” added Michelle Frame. “HG shed new light on our existing recipes, allowing us to refine and improve these by standardising on a smaller number of ingredients – saving money and ensuring that we could meet competitive price points. We can now also undertake least cost formulation when developing new recipes and can compare these against current recipes to achieve commonality across ingredients and eliminate further unnecessary costs.”
Colony Brands has found FoodChain ID’s recipe management system to be particularly beneficial in the development of new recipes. Increasingly, retail customers were requesting that existing lines be extended via the introduction of new flavours and it was critical that these customer driven projects met stipulations for lower calorie content and pricing. Previously, such requests would have required substantial effort and analysis before going to market, but thanks to the new system, Colony Brands can respond to retail customer requests quickly, efficiently and at a price point that ensures a profit margin across the supply chain.
Newly Weds Foods
How to inspire confidence across the supply chain
Trusted Solution Inspires Confidence Across the Customer Chain
Newly Weds Foods is a world leader in food ingredient technology (Customised Taste Technology), with a network of R&D, manufacturing and service facilities around the globe. The company boasts world class manufacturing facilities, and manufactures and distributes a broad product range that includes Japanese style breadcrumbs, batter and breaders, seasoning products, specialty blends and liquid sauces for a wide variety of manufactured foods destined for markets around the world.
In such a competitive and dynamic international market, Newly Weds Foods places great emphasis on its ability to work closely with customers to develop high quality, yet affordable solutions which meet the regulatory requirements of the end products’ final destinations.
“We have a global customer base and our products are destined for end markets in the EU and around the world,” explained Greg Bonnefin, Newly Weds Foods Regulatory Technical and Development Director. “As such, we have to conform to a large number of varying country and EU regulations, and meet the strict requirements laid down by major supermarket groups and other food distributors and resellers.”
Effective, accurate and efficient product line management
As a part of this process, Newly Weds Foods had to gather a wide range of data from supplier information sheets, detailing products, declarations, additives, allergen information, nutrition content, calorific values, etc. With an ongoing business growth, which required some 3,000 different document s each month, and a 15% year-onyear increase in documentation, the existing manual Microsoft Word-based process was no longer viable.
“We needed a completely new solution to manage our ever increasing product line effectively, accurately and efficiently,” continued Greg Bonnefin. “As well as providing comprehensive documentation that had to conform to various government legislations and customer requirements, it was crucial that the information we provided was completely accurate and up-to-date. Our Microsoft Word system had the potential to introduce errors and did not place any real responsibility on our suppliers to provide the required standards of information, and so we decided to implement a recipe and specification management system.”
The solution of choice
Newly Weds Foods Australia had already implemented the system to manage its complete recipe cycle from new product development, through to the creation of product technical data. “It was clear that Recipes & Specifications would meet all of our existing and future requirements would meet all of our existing and future requirements,” added Greg Bonnefin. “The fact that the system had already been adopted by a sister business also meant that we had direct access to first-hand knowledge and experience.”
As Recipes & Specs is also used in Australia, a further plus was FoodChain ID’s association with the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) – Australia’s leading national organisation representing the country’s packaged food, drink and grocery products manufacturers. Additionally, the system was the only system that supported the Food Industry Product Information Form (PIF) – a tool developed by the food industry in Australia and New Zealand to obtain the information needed to meet obligations under regulatory requirements and industry codes in regard to foods and food ingredients in a consistent and standardised manner. Originally introduced in 2008 to give all food businesses a standardised form for collecting, labelling and product information, FoodChain ID’s support for PIF would put the onus on Newly Weds Food’s suppliers to provide the necessary and accurate information that could be validated and automatically uploaded into the system, saving time, reducing costs and ensuring complete accuracy.
Following discussions with the sister organisation, and detailed analysis and review of the capabilities delivered by the system, Newly Weds Foods Thailand recognised that they had found their solution of choice. Surprisingly, for such complex and comprehensive solution, Newly Weds Foods found the implementation and configuration of the system to be a relatively straightforward and pain-free process. “Obviously we encountered some issues, and needed FoodChain ID’s support and advice, but overall we have received first class support from FCID – far superior to that provided by other software houses we have dealt with,” said Greg Bonnefin.
Putting the onus on suppliers
Recipes & Specifications not only managed Newly Weds’ raw materials and finished products, it’s also used by their suppliers to provide all necessary information,” explained Greg Bonnefin. “It removes manual document creation from any potential for errors and places greater responsibility on our suppliers to provide accurate and accountable information.”
Recipes & Specifications is transforming the way in which Newly Weds Foods manages all aspects of its continuously expanding product line. It provides new product development with “what if?” analysis and supports the company’s business growth. “As well as radically improving all aspects of our business, the system has allowed us to improve relationships with our suppliers and customers. We can rely on it, and our customers can rely on it,” concluded Greg Bonnefin. “We are now fully confident in our ability to adhere to international legislations and customer requirements, and can quickly demonstrate compliance with various quality inspections and audits required by our many international customers.”
Greg Bonnefin, Regulatory Technical and Development Director,
Newly Weds Foods:
As well as radically improving all aspects of our business, it was clear that Recipes & Specifications would meet all of our existing and future requirements has allowed us to improve relationships with our suppliers and customers. We can rely on it, and our customers can rely on it.
We are now fully confident in our ability to adhere to international legislations and customer requirements, and can quickly demonstrate compliance with various quality inspections and audits required by our many international customers.
How to integrate recipe management with SAP
A Single Source of Truth
A 140 year-old farmer-owned co-operative with headquarters in New Zealand, Fonterra is the world’s leading milk processor and dairy exporter. With a team of over 16,000 working across the dairy spectrum – from advising farmers on sustainable farming and milk production, to ensuring that Fonterra continues to meet exacting quality standards and delivers dairy nutrition every day in more than 100 countries around the world – Fonterra’s business is based on sourcing secure, high quality milk and unlocking its natural goodness in ways that add real value to customers and consumers.
Fonterra ANZ first implemented our recipe developer system in 2007 to centralise data and be a single source of truth for bills of materials and nutrition and intolerance information for Fonterra dairy products. Recently Fonterra took the decision to enhance the use of Recipes & Specifications across its Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) business units and to fully integrate it with their SAP software system.
“We needed a system that could deliver the capabilities and flexibility to support our business strategy,” explained Ryan Smith, Fonterra ANZ’s Recipes & Specifications Administrator. “One objective was to maintain our central information repository. Our various business units tended to store data locally which meant by moving to centralised information on an ANZ group-wide basis, we have total confidence that the centralised data repository contains the latest available information.”
Simultaneously with the implementation of SAP, Fonterra ANZ explored the opportunities for implementing Recipe Developer in a more powerful way. “We were very familiar with FoodChain ID’s Recipe Developer system: it was powerful, flexible and a single ‘Source of Truth’. Reporting was a major requirement: SAP may be good at reporting; Recipe Developer is excellent!” continued Ryan Smith.
Excellent management reporting
Based on over twenty years’ experience working with major customers in the food and beverage industry, Recipes and Specifications is the culmination of longterm collaborative development between food industry and IT experts and is regarded as being the most powerful system in the world for developing recipes and optimising formulations.
“Every area of the food industry has different requirements and it is important that Recipe Developer can be configured in a way that precisely meets our clients’ requirements – both for today and for the future,” explained Daniel Twigden, FoodChain ID’s project manager for Fonterra ANZ.
“One of the major reasons why organisations of all sizes throughout the world select our solution of choice is its flexibility. As well as automatically monitoring recipes against pre-defined specifications and project briefs, Recipe Developer includes a powerful optimisation functionality to enable recipes to be automatically generated to fit a complete nutritional profile in one quick and easy operation, and allows companies to respond to food industry issues quickly and effectively.”
Confident that the combination of the Recipes & Specifications and SAP would meet business requirements and support future growth, Fonterra ANZ began an in-depth review of the features and facilities delivered by the latest version of Recipe Developer. “We were very impressed with the capabilities of the latest release,” commented Ryan Smith. “Within a very short space of time we realised that here was a solution that would support our growth, streamline recipe management at all levels across the organisation, and allow us to produce a wide range of standard and one-off reports, safe in the knowledge that we are working with highly accurate and up-to-date information.”
Working in close cooperation with Fonterra ANZ’s highly capable IT team, FoodChain ID consultants and developers began the process of configuring Recipe Developer and developing the seamless interface to the new SAP system. “We set up a shared test and development site so that both IT teams could ensure that we had a fully functioning solution when we went live,” explained Ryan Smith. “Once we were satisfied that we had a robust system, FoodChain ID began to validate and consolidate our existing data before migrating it across and subsequently continued the testing phase with live data.”
Live solution in 4 months
Over the course of four months, Fonterra ANZ rolled out the new solution, running it side-by-side with the existing system. During this time, we provided training and knowledge-share expertise to key Fonterra stakeholders,
ensuring that the internal IT team would be able to maintain, enhance and further customise Recipe Developer and assist system users to become familiar with the solution’s new features and capabilities.
Fonterra ANZ is now moving its other business units over to the latest version of Recipe Developer – a process that is expected to be concluded towards the latter half of this year (2013). The entire process has, reports Ryan Smith, been smooth with issues quickly resolved. “I am certain that one of the reasons for the smooth go-live was the amount of work that FoodChain ID and our internal IT team undertook in the early stages of the project,” he commented. “By thoroughly testing the solution with real data, we were able to resolve issues and further enhance the system so that it precisely met our requirements.“
Reaping the benefits
Already, Fonterra ANZ is reaping the benefits of the new Recipe Developer and SAP solution. With all information now being held in a central data repository, Fonterra are now able to generate reports, analyse data and respond to market trends far more quickly and efficiently.
“We are well on our way to achieving a single, trusted source of product information, which in turn will allow us to generate meaningful reports efficiently and closely monitor the day-to-day operation of our business,” concluded Ryan Smith. “Our implementation of a remote desktop solution means that we can access the information that we need at any time and from any Fonterra ANZ site location. We have achieved this without major disruption, thanks to the FoodChain ID team, who continue to work closely with us.”
Ryan Smith, Recipes & Specifications Administrator, Fonterra Group:
We were very impressed with the capabilities of the latest release,. Within a very short space of time we realised that here was a solution that would support our growth, streamline recipe management at all levels across the organisation, and allow us to produce a wide range of standard and one-off reports, safe in the knowledge that we are working with highly accurate and up -to-date information.
Packed with the functionality you need
Data and Calculations
Single source of truth for ingredients and recipes
One central place for all your recipe data to reside.
Meet the proper requirements for your regions of business.
Include losses & gains in calculations
See how any recipe adjustment changes your key data in all directions.
Real time nutrition, allergen & cost calculations.
Watch values update as you build your recipe.
Ingredient & recipe history
Keep track of each and every change made to any recipe.
Suppliers and Compliance
Approve & manage supplier sites
Work with only the most updated, complete info—provided directly by the supplier.
Automated compliance checks
Stay up-to-date on all certifications and changes to regulations.
Control ingredient use across manufacturing sites
Maintain recipe accuracy and fidelity anywhere recipes are made.
Recipe and Data Labels
Create recipe sheets
Share the most important information about your recipes with customers, clients, auditors, etc.
Approve & manage ingredient & packaging information
Ensure accuracy of all information included on packaging.
Create label data sheets
Design compliant nutrition labels for packaging anywhere in the world.
Create label data sheets for multiple geographies
Comply with regional labeling requirements for markets around the world.
Scalability and Adaptability
Focus on key areas, keeping them front-and-center during recipe creation.
From the simplest to the most complex—store as many recipes as you can create.
Connect to a wide range of other systems using our API
Integrate with your other data systems to easily manage the entire product cycle.
Total configuration control
Personalize the dashboard to show the information most relevant to you at any time.
Complete nutrition directly from the nutrient databank for your chosen geography.
Regulatory databanks – coming soon!
Automatically check compliance for your market with allowed additive levels and more.
Connect to a wide range of other systems via our standard JSON API.
Our API customization service creates interfaces specific to your business using a wide range of methods including JSON, XML and SOAP.
What is a recipe management system?
Formulation software is critical to a food manufacturer’s PLM process. It performs roles that ERP, CRM and MES systems can’t do effectively for food and beverage. Mainstream PLM systems are not designed for food. They lack critical functions specific to our industry – meaning you still end up using spreadsheets as work-arounds. Their configuration is often too inflexible for the fast-moving nature of regulations and emerging risks in the food industry.
What does formulation software do and how does it link to other PLM systems in a food manufacturer? You may or may not have mapped the formulation development lifecycle for your organisation, but it probably looks something like the diagram below. Your formulation software should standardise and speed this process up across your organisation.
It performs the following roles within your organisation.
- Manage suppliers from a technical point of view
- Collect and approve raw material and packaging specifications
- Speed up and drive compliance in product development
- Ensure what you make (your BOM) is compliant
- Create and control product technical information, such as specifications and pack copy
Common interactions with other PLM systems are:
- Receiving codes, descriptions and costs from the ERP or Master Data Management system
- Sending BOMs to the ERP or MES systems
- Sending technical pack copy or label data information to the artwork management system
- Sending technical requirements for new raw materials and packaging to the purchasing system
What is PLM?
PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) is a software system and methodology used to manage the entire lifecycle of a product, from concept and development, through production, launch, and eventually retirement.
- Streamlines and optimizes processes
- Improves collaboration and communication among teams
- Reduces product development time
- Ensures regulatory compliance
- Improves product quality
If your organization already has conventional PLM software (Oracle, SAP, etc.) in place that’s meeting your organization’s needs but would benefit from an integrated product development and simulation environment, FoodChain ID Formulation for PLM may be the right solution for you.