Article
Product Development

FoodChain ID and Quorn: Productivity Gains for Plant-powered Innovation

Quorn

Quorn is the UK’s number one meat-alternative brand and has an established and successful presence in Europe, North America and Australia. Founded in 1985, Quorn is the brand name for a range of delicious food products made with a meat-free mycoprotein; a protein-rich, sustainable food source that is fiber-packed, low in fat and cholesterol-free. With a diverse portfolio that encompasses frozen foods, chilled meals and fresh ingredients, Quorn aims to help people enjoy more plant-based, healthy and environmentally-responsible diets without compromising on taste.

Challenge

After an internal review, Quorn recognized that their process for managing raw material data and finished product specifications was manual, time-consuming and fragmented. Staff were using Excel spreadsheets and Lookup tables to produce finished product specifications. Product data was challenging to share between innovation and compliance departments, and in-house innovators needed more timely compliance information during the new product development process. To fulfil regulatory requirements and support sales in non-English speaking regions, Quorn was outsourcing product information translation. Finally, Quorn wanted documents sent to customers to reflect their quality brand. Ultimately, Quorn realized it need a unified system for an efficient flow of information during product and recipe development ‒ from raw materials to finished products specifications.

Solution

The Head of Regulatory at Quorn’s parent company, Julie Ambler, had previously worked with a version of FoodChain ID’s Recipe & Specifications formulation software and understood its capabilities. Julie championed the adoption of the recipe management system to establish one platform for raw material data to finished product specifications, transforming time-consuming manual processes into “one source of truth” for innovation teams. A unified cloud-based system provided Quorn with a centralized product data repository accessible to each department. The integrated architecture standardized data flows into predefined workflows, providing greater visibility earlier in new product development for regulatory reviews and approvals.

According to Julie Ambler, Quorn Head of Regulatory, “I have not had to increase head count because of the time savings gained due to Recipes & Specifications.”

Results

Increased Efficiency: Implementing FoodChain ID’s Recipes & Specifications formulation software delivered significant efficiency improvements across Quorn’s product development and compliance processes. Specification searches, compliance checks and reporting now all happen rapidly within Recipes & Specifications ‒ a marked contrast to the previous manual data gathering processes. The resulting time savings has enabled Quorn to better utilize the skills of its small regulatory team while its portfolio expanded.

Higher Level Functionality: Tools such as advanced search functionality accelerated Quorn’s compliance processes. Previously, when a government safety alert occurred, investigating impacted products required lengthy manual paperwork reviews and cross-referencing specification sheets.

Advanced search allows filtering product specifications criteria by supplier, materials, origins, dates and other attributes, enabling Quorn to rapidly respond to supply chain risks. Meanwhile, the built-in translation engine allows Quorn to effortlessly adapt materials, packaging and marketing content for new regions without the need for an external translation source.

External Product Specifications: Recipes & Specifications integrated system transformed Quorn’s finished product specifications into polished, easy-to-use documents with professional, branded templates.

Faster Recipe Testing: Quorn’s product development team gained newfound agility with Recipes & Specifications streamlined workflows. Staff can test multiple design iterations, adjusting formulations for ingredients, quantities and composition to land on the perfect product formulation to view and optimize products’ nutritional profiles.

Regulatory Process Improvement: Regulatory teams can monitor formulation status in real-time against national nutritional standards. The compliance team has rapid insight into whether products met nutrition regulations ‒ allowing them to adjust recipes quickly where necessary. Quorn’s sustainability team also uses the system’s data to calculate carbon footprint of products.

Forward-Looking Input: Quorn was an early adopter of Recipes & Specifications, and its iterative feedback has helped shape the ongoing development of the platform’s functionality and design. For example, Quorn required more robust reporting functionality to enable self-service report building. FoodChain ID built out a configurable reporting engine that allowed Quorn to extract any data they required independently. The close and collaborative partnership ensured Quorn had a tailored solution suited to its specialized product development processes and the agility to achieve its organizational objectives.

CONCLUSION

Through a collaborative, feedback-driven partnership, FoodChain ID’s Recipe & Specifications formulation software provided Quorn with the agility, flexibility and self-service functionality needed to drive growth and launch delicious, compliant new products in the meat-alternative space. With compliance firmly integrated into the product development process, efficiency and productivity significantly increased within Quorn’s innovation teams, feeding the pipeline for future growth.

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