Successful Resolution to Food Label Problems
Submit your company for a chance to become a case study and be featured in Food Label News. It's an excellent way to get published and showcase your work.
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 devleopment. 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.
Simply7 Nutrition Facts in Record Time
Dishaka, LLC develops, manufactures, and sells healthy snacks around the world under the Simply7 and private label brands. The company's philosophy is that every ingredient is not only natural but also simple and that simple ingredients can be exceptionally delicious. Each product has: 1) no trans fats or cholesterol, 2) no artificial colors or flavors, 3) no preservatives, 4) gluten-free ingredients, 5) all natural recipes, 6) simple ingredients, and 7) is simply delicious. The snacks, including lentil chips, hummus chips and quinoa chips come in a variety of flavors for health conscious consumers who want both taste and healthy ingredients.
Dishaka was working with a major national grocery chain to develop a line of private label snacks for over six months. When the buyer asked for the Nutrition Facts before he'd approve the order it was crisis time. It was Thursday and the buyer wanted the information by Monday morning. Not only was the turnaround time compressed, ingredient suppliers spanned time zones from Europe to USA, and not all ingredient information was on hand. It seemed almost impossible to get Nutrition Facts labels completed in the requested timeframe.
Food Consulting Company to the rescue! A frantic CEO contacted Food Consulting Company who acted quickly to get the job done. They gathered key nutrition information and sorted what was missing, converted from grams to ounces, and provided different names for the same flavors/ingredients. Critical pieces of information that required further research and analysis arrived the following day. Food Consulting Company was able to develop accurate, 100% compliant Nutrition Facts for this line of private label products and sent them to the CEO by Sunday evening.
This was not a cut and dried project. With a great attitude and attention to detail, Food Consulting Company delivered the project with excellent customer service, on time, as promised – over a weekend. Not only did Dishaka win the business with the nationwide retailer, they continue to work with the same buyer today, over 6 years later. It's a rarity for a product line to last that long as snacks usually come and go every couple of years. Food Consulting Company has become a valued partner. While the CEO oversaw the food labeling projects initially, now Dishaka has staff to handle them. All projects continue to work smoothly.
"Food Consulting Company is exceptionally responsive – you always get a prompt reply. They appreciate that you are a customer and take care of you. They work fast, accurately; tell you clearly what they will do and deliver on time, every time. No hassles. No surprises. Working with them is worry-free."
— Kawal Oberoi, CEO, Dishaka Gourmet Imports
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
Start-up Manufacturer Launches Novel Product Concept
Vitality Distributing has been in business for four years preparing for the 2010 launch of the first of its kind — Avitae Caffeinated Water. Avitae has enjoyed unparalleled consumer acceptance and has carved out a unique space in the fiercely competitive beverage industry. The Avitae brand has grown exponentially through distribution in most major food chains east of the Mississippi and continues to grow month after month. The demand is fueled by sponsorships including bands and athletes who epitomize the Avitae brand.
This young start-up company recognized that their new-to-the-world product would attract a high level of interest and scrutiny, particularly among competitors. For this first-ever combination of natural caffeine and purified water, the most scrutinized part of the product is the label. FDA compliance with food labeling regulations was absolutely essential to the successful launch of the brand. Executive leadership believed strongly that the smartest approach was to outsource functions like food labels and regulatory compliance strategy that are better served by specialists and experts outside the company. They sought a regulatory partner to advise the company about the best regulatory course of action to position Avitae responsibly for growth. This allowed management to focus on building the brand and satisfying customers.
Food Consulting Company enabled Vitality Distributing to launch the Avitae brand and has become an integral part of its growth. Food Consulting Company helped management craft a regulatory strategy and labeling that supported that strategy. They helped the company understand the nuances and tradeoffs for achieving brand goals and compliance. Part of the regulatory strategy included creating a pre-emptive white paper to address potential FDA concerns. Food Consulting Company authored this white paper and approved labels before printing, insurance and peace of mind for Vitality Distributing.
The experts at Food Consulting Company continue to have flawless insight. This enables the company to understand the critical pieces of the regulatory picture and ensures that management is well informed. In fact, the resulting nutrition label does an excellent job of supporting the brand story while complying with FDA food labeling regulations. Consumers appreciate an entire label of zeros. With Food Consulting Company, projects run seamlessly in the background requiring little oversight from management. They are Vitality Distributing’s virtual food label department.
"We couldn’t be without Food Consulting Company. FDA regulatory compliance is critically important for a new category — as important as the engine is to the car. We only had one shot to get it right and they ensured we were well prepared. Avitae Caffeinated Water has been extremely successful and the Food Consulting team played an instrumental role in this success."
— Brian Pitzer, CEO, Vitality Distributing, Inc.
Accuracy and Consistency for a Major National Retailer's Private Label Food Vendors
The Retailer and its Vendors
For over 35 years, this major national retailer has successfully combined trendy merchandise at affordable prices. Today, they are one of the top ranked retailers with over 1,000 locations to serve their loyal customers with a range of store formats including grocery. It actively markets multiple private label food brands as part of its quality and value brand promise. Supporting this effort are hundreds of food vendors from around the globe.
The retailer’s private label brands span a wide range of categories including snacks, baked goods, frozen foods, cooking ingredients and gourmet foods, among others. It’s a complicated undertaking to ensure accurate nutrition, ingredient and allergen label information for hundreds of suppliers. Consistency is also a management challenge with so many different vendors and product categories.
Food Consulting Company works directly with this retailer’s large pool of vendors in their expansion of food products for their multiple private label businesses. Food Consulting Company’s food labeling and regulatory specialists work side-by-side with the vendors to ensure accurate and compliant nutrition information and formatting for nutrition facts and ingredient/allergen statements.
With Food Consulting Company, this major national retailer is able to ensure 100% FDA compliant Nutrition Facts and Ingredient Statements despite hundreds of food products from a large number of vendors. This makes an easier job for the retailer’s regulatory team as they have confidence that their Nutrition Facts and Ingredients/Allergens are correct by the time the label artwork gets to the retailer for approval. The food labeling professionals at this major national retailer consider Food Consulting Company to be a wonderful resource. Their experts are engaged in multiple projects simultaneously and stay actively involved to be sure that the retailer’s expectations are met.
"It's great to have food label regulation experts working with us. We can depend on the information we get from Food Consulting Company."
— Anna Vansickle, Labeling Specialist, Major National Retailer
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
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 Intevation 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. Intevation staff agreed that the Food Consulting Company team was highly professional, delivered materials in a timely manner, and gave Intevation 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
Major National Retailer Creates Branded Novelty Product
Galerie Candy & Gifts is a gift novelty company that combines novelty gifts with confectionary products. The company designs unique products, working closely with food and novelty suppliers to produce custom designs and bundles, often for large national chains. Based in Hebron, KY, the company distributes its products across the country.
A very large national retailer collaborated with Galerie to develop a new line of private label confections. The new line featured a number of products that were completely unique to the industry, including kits and gift sets, creating challenges in determining the proper serving size and nutrition information. Food labels were more complicated than most, requiring knowledge of specific FDA regulations and careful attention to detail to ensure 100% regulatory compliance.
Food Consulting Company helped navigate the complexities of multiple confection types and sizes to deliver accurate nutrition and ingredient labels in a timely manner.
Their work demonstrated a thorough understanding of methods to determine Reference Amounts Customarily Consumed (RACC) and how it is translated to Nutrition Facts panels. Food Consulting Company instilled confidence through their knowledge of these and other regulations and superior service. Despite multiple products, sizes and formulas, label development was systematic and well organized, delighting the company's labeling department.
Thanks to Food Consulting Company, the major national chain was very pleased with the food labels for their new line of Galerie products. In fact, the national chain requested that Galerie use Food Consulting Company for their future seasonal private label projects and made Food Consulting Company one of the chain's recommended sources for label compliance support.
Receiving high marks by the customer's regulatory group not only helped Galerie strengthen relationships with this large customer but also set the foundation for ongoing collaboration. Working with Food Consulting Company has enabled Galerie to compete successfully for incremental business with this and other major customers, growing the company’s seasonal and year round sales.
Working side-by-side with Food Consulting Company has been a rewarding experience for Galerie employees as well. A new employee in label compliance has grown as a label specialist after learning from Food Consulting Company on several projects.
"Food Consulting Company's support allowed us to meet our delivery commitments to a major national customer, increase sales, and keep everybody happy! I appreciate the professionalism and knowledge they have extended to Galerie over the years that we have done business. Thank you!”
— F. Stu Battles, Label Compliance Manager, Galerie
Ground 2 Table Adds More Spice
Ground 2 Table makes organic spice blends and gourmet flavor kits free of salt, sugar, artificial flavorings and GMOs. Each spice blend inspires culinary creativity by providing endless ways to mix and match foods. The freshly ground organic spice blends are offered in single use packets to keep flavor fresh for beginner cooks to accomplished chefs. With headquarters in health-conscious San Diego County, Ground 2 Table is an organic way to turn ordinary meals and snacks gourmet.
Ground 2 Table launched a new line of 12 organic spice blends and wanted to ensure regulatory compliance for the new products’ labels. The products were unique as they packaged fresh herbs and dried spices together in a kit for one serving and required a multi-serving pack. In addition, Ground 2 Table wanted to make special claims on the package. Given the need to ensure retailer adoption for this new line of products, they wanted to ensure compliant labels for sell-in, not to mention avoiding any FDA issues downstream.
Food Consulting Company provided Ground 2 Table staff with informative and valuable guidance for their package labels to ensure they met FDA standards. Working through each formulation, Food Consulting Company helped food labelers at Ground 2 Table develop nutrition and ingredient information to include on the package labels. Use of "salt-free" and "no sugar added" nutrition claims required that Ground 2 Table include Nutrition Facts Panel on the labels to ensure compliance. Food Consulting Company advised Ground 2 Table on this and guided the development.
Food Consulting Company not only helped Ground 2 Table achieve FDA-compliant labels but went above and beyond to make sure that those involved were comfortable with all of the information they supplied. Company staff noted that the process of working with Food Consulting Company’s experts was highly educational. The approach they learned enabled Ground 2 Table to develop labels for similar products on their own with all the confidence that they were created correctly. Applying what the staff learned to other projects enabled Ground 2 Table to save money too.
"Food Consulting has a client for life in Ground 2 Table and we look forward to working together in the future for all our food labeling needs!”
— Paul Fishman, Chief Marketing Officer, Ground 2 Table
"Americanizing" Foreign Packaging
A marketing/package designer working for a U.S. food importer needed to create labels for foreign foods that complied with FDA regulations so that they could be successfully marketed in the U.S.
The new confectionary products, imported from Europe, required specific nutrition/content labeling. In addition, their small package sizes required modified Nutrition Facts panels. Sorting through the many options for what is acceptable based on package dimensions is not only complicated, but creates risk regarding compliance with U.S. FDA regulations and potentially detention at U.S. Customs.
Food Consulting Company provided a team of experts to help us "Americanize" the foreign labels. They performed nutrition analysis, included missing values on the Nutrition Facts for nutrients that European labels do not require, modified the Ingredient Statements, and created the Nutrition Facts artwork according to what is allowable for the specific package dimensions. Importantly, the team reviewed the ingredients to ensure there were no issues with food colors and other additives not allowed in the U.S. To complete the project, the team provided label layout instructions for the package designer and did the final label review prior to printing to ensure 100% compliance.
This food importer was able to launch their products on time and easily passed through Customs and FDA inspections at the border, setting the products up for success in the retail market. The Food Consulting team was involved at each step, performed their projects on time and with flawless accuracy.
"Entering the fast, confusing retail food market is a dark and scary experience, but rest assured that the experts at Food Consulting Company can help guide you every step of the way. I cannot imagine going to market without the Food Consulting group on your team."
— Daniel R. Hughes, President, OPTIMideas, Marketing Services Firm for International Food Importer
Ever-changing Menus Stay Current & Compliant
La Madeleine Country French Café, an established chain of casual bakery cafés with 60 locations across the country required development of nutrition and ingredient information for their menus and product labeling to ensure compliance with food labeling regulations for restaurants and food service.
Management of nutrition and ingredient information for menus and product labels for a large food service organization takes continual care and attention to detail. As La Madeleine introduces new menu items, refines recipes and alters ingredients, they need a solution to stay abreast of changes and ensure continued label and nutrition information compliance. In addition, unique state and local regulations have required special attention to ensure 100% compliance.
La Madeleine executives called on Food Consulting Company given their nutrition and regulatory reputation and expertise in the industry. Food Consulting Company quickly created the nutrition and labeling information for all menu items and product tags. From baked goods to beverages, they managed the nutrition analysis for all items and prepared Nutrition Facts and Ingredient Statements for packaged food products. To comply with specific state and local regulations, Food Consulting Company also created label components and reviewed final artwork for inclusion on printed menus and product tags. In addition, it was important to ensure that La Madeleine stayed current with their compliance when changes were made to food items. Food Consulting Company initiated a process to review all new and modified recipes and products on an ongoing basis, acting as the company's virtual food labeling department.
As a result of the work Food Consulting Company performed and their ongoing review, Management has peace of mind that its ever-changing menu and food products are consistently 100% compliant with all labeling regulations, despite nuances in several key markets. Internal reviews continue to be most positive: Food Consulting Company is an invaluable partner as they consistently deliver their work on time and with a very high level of accuracy.
"For a company like ours that does not possess the knowledge or experience in food labeling and menu labeling compliance, Food Consulting Company made a complicated process easy for us to follow and to keep current."
— Susan Dederen, Senior Director of Culinary Operations, La Madeleine Country French Cafe
Expert Training for GENESIS R&D Software
ESHA Research, founded in 1981, offers nutritional analysis and label development solutions, including Genesis R&D Food Formulation and Labeling Software, the leading software used by the food industry around the world. Food manufacturers, educational facilities, restaurants, healthcare facilities and other industry institutions use Genesis R&D for nutritional analysis, labeling, product development and more.
ESHA Research conducts open training sessions for Genesis R&D software at several industry conferences as well as private, customized on-site trainings. While many are familiar with the basic functions of the software, few are truly expert using Genesis R&D. For ESHA, the challenge was to feature expert trainers skilled in all aspects of the Genesis R&D software, capable of customizing the trainings and addressing the myriad of regulatory-related questions.
Food Consulting Company began its collaboration with ESHA in 1998 to deliver the Genesis R&D trainings. These were often two-day ESHA-sponsored sessions at industry conferences as well as customized trainings at food companies in the U.S., Canada and abroad. As partners, Food Consulting Company brought to ESHA forward-looking ideas such as the need for “advanced” topics for experienced users and those who sought deeper regulatory guidance. In addition, Food Consulting Company’s handbook “Due Diligence with Database Nutrition Analysis” was distributed widely to Genesis R&D users to ensure that the results of database nutrition analyses passed government, media, consumer and competitive scrutiny.
Over 1,000 participants from companies including Heinz, Kraft, Target, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Winn-Dixie, McDonalds and ConAgra have attended Food Consulting Company’s training sessions for ESHA. Throughout the 80+ sessions, attendees have consistently provided positive feedback about Food Consulting Company’s expert, highly knowledgeable approach and hands on guidance. In addition, many took advantage of Food Consulting Company’s sold-out advanced user trainings that provided an overview of key insights about regulatory issues many food labelers face when developing labels using the software.
"I learned so much about Genesis software. Very practical, easy to understand examples will help me enormously when I get back to work."
— Diana Michiulis, Sr. Scientist Regulatory Affairs, Kraft Foods R&D Munich, Inc., Genesis R&D Training Participant
For ESHA, the successful training sessions have resulted in expanded usage and better understanding of Genesis R&D software.
"You are always terrific and a great benefit to us with your knowledge, feedback, expertise, and kindness ... can we hire you????"
— Scott Hadsall, Sr. Product Consultant, ESHA Research