What is the only thing on retailers and manufacturers’ minds more than safety? The economy and consumer demand, which translates to profitability. In a competitive world market, made even tougher by recent legislation in major markets such as the U.S. and China to reassure consumers, producers at every point in the supply chain are carefully watching margins while seeking new strategies to protect market share.
In addition to general food safety, other industry issues such as healthy or organic / biologically-grown foods – as well as animal welfare – are gaining importance. Addressing these issues, as well as food safety & quality basics, via certification by a globally-accepted food standard – which helps ensure consumers get what they pay for – is one way manufacturers have begun to carve out niches for themselves in the global food arena.
Specialization aside, with the broader adoption of global food standards, retailers and manufacturers are now able to favor purchasing from certified suppliers and sub-suppliers. For this reason, work to gain conformity among standards – and help manufacturers decide which one is best for their purposes – is underway, mainly driven by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), a retailer / manufacturer non-profit foundation.
This paper highlights four of the most-used standards. It also offers a short comparison of each, providing points producers may want to consider when deciding which standard to adopt. Finally, it gives an outlook on trends – such as the need for manufacturers and suppliers to take a more active role in certification to ensure future profitability – in food safety and quality discussions worldwide.