How Sourcing Affects Your Gluten Free and Allergen Free Products

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Written by Glen Call

June 24, 2020

If you are in the food business, you understand how big of a deal sourcing is. Your suppliers become a big part of your success and knowing who to work with and what they can do directly impacts your bottom line. In short, sourcing will make or break your company depending on whether or not it’s done efficiently.

 For those new to the business, sourcing means finding the right suppliers that provide the quality ingredients you need at a price point that gives you the margin you need. A strategic sourcing process can be a difference-maker when it comes to your bottom line. Here are a few tips that we recommend when you consider sourcing for your gluten and allergen-free products.

Quality

The quality of your ingredients is critical when it comes to gluten free and allergen free. If you compromise on that quality, you risk contamination of your products. When your products are compromised, it can destroy your brand and your bottom line. Work with respected suppliers that have recommendations and referrals from other people in the business. Do your homework and make sure you’re talking to some of their customers. Trust but verify. When in doubt, ask another manufacturer or co-packer in the business. They are working with similar suppliers and have a wealth of knowledge where the best quality products are.

Supply

This one can be a big issue when you are in a pinch. Working with suppliers that have a consistent supply is crucial to having what you need when you need it. A little research here again can be a big help to identify if your supplier has ever run out of their product, and why. It’s often a good idea to know of one or more backup suppliers in case your primary supplier runs out. This will prevent an uninterrupted supply needed to produce your products. However, be aware that there may be slight differences and nuances in ingredients from different suppliers. But making necessary tweaks when needed is better than not having any product at all. Talk to your co-packer for more details on this – they will have a better idea of who runs out of product and who doesn’t.

Relationship

This one is often overlooked but is so important. If you have a relationship with your supplier, you can be on the top of their list when you need to expedite some of their ingredients. They will call you first when they are running low. They will treat you as a partner rather than just a customer. If you are a small company that doesn’t order in large enough quantities to meet a supplier’s minimum order quantities (MOQs), consider using a distributor or co-packer. They already have relationships with suppliers and regularly rotate their stock. This will significantly reduce the complexity of your supply chain.

Price

The issue of price goes hand in hand with quality. The better the quality, the higher the price. But cutting costs with ingredients will often produce an inferior food, which could damage your reputation. You still need to be profitable in your business though. Weighing the costs of price and quality will get you a product that gives your customer the product they want at a price that they are willing to pay. If you are a large company, you can use economies of scale to your advantage to bring that price down. If you’re a small business, consider using a distributor or co-packer. They’re buying these products in bulk and can pass some of those savings on to you.

Financial Stability

Working with a company that will be around next year is a good idea. It means that you won’t have to constantly start the process of finding a new supplier over, which takes time and effort. Look at the company that you are considering for your supplier. How long have they been in business? Who else do they work with? Are they growing or shrinking? Again, a little research on this front can avoid additional headache later on. Distributors and co-packers can again be a good judge on this as they regularly deal with suppliers.

Conclusion

There is a lot that is involved in sourcing to ensure you have the best product possible. A little research into your supplier will pay significant dividends in the future and avoid future headaches. Relying on a manufacturer or co-packer to do this work can give you peace of mind and allow you more time to work on sales, marketing, and food development. Whether you do it yourself or use a co-packer or distributor to do it for you, as you approach sourcing in a strategic way you will give your business a better chance for success. Contact Us Today!

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