Setting new standards: Food Safety at HelloFresh
Food safety is a topic that we take very seriously at HelloFresh. In the light of this week’s World Food Safety Day (WFSD), which was all about “Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow”, we were inspired to showcase the work our FSQA (Food Safety and Quality Assurance) teams are doing every day, to ensure our product is safe and meets our quality standards.
At HelloFresh we follow strict protocols to ensure food safety for all of our products. Our FSQA teams around the world have food safety at the top of their minds across our entire supply chain, from procurement and production to distribution. We have set high standards for ourselves as well as for our suppliers and aim to be more than legally compliant. The FSQA teams constantly monitor internal and external operations to make sure they comply with these high standards.
HelloFresh’s FSQA teams establish a culture of food safety and quality excellence in all of our markets. These teams are led by experienced managers with multiple years of functional expertise. Their roles ensure compliance to our clearly defined processes, and they share best practices throughout the whole food provision system. Procedures for testing incoming goods against agreed standards are in place at our fulfilment centres, and the FSQA teams regularly conduct independent assessments according to a HelloFresh-developed audit standard.
Certifications and guidelines that support our efforts
Food safety and quality assurance also play integral roles in our supplier-approval program. As well as having robust onboarding requirements, HelloFresh requires its food manufacturers to demonstrate their Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)-recognized certification or to undergo a HelloFresh audit benchmarked against this standard.
As part of our strategy of using industry recognised GFSI standards as well as internal assessment, HelloFresh has been partnering with BRCGS Standards. Together we have been working on updating the existing BRCGS Global Standard for Storage and Distribution to include e-commerce operations, to ensure the quality and safety of Hello Fresh products throughout the supply chain. It’s been great to partner with BRCGS throughout the development of the standard which has meant this now reflects the evolving industry, especially towards e-commerce. Rolling out BRCGS within our own operations also sends a clear message to our customers, partners and investors that food safety & quality is a priority. The Standard has been successfully piloted in the Netherlands and HelloFresh will be rolling it out across Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia over the course of the next two years.
Some of our standards have also been included in our Ethical Trading Policy, which consists of guidelines for food safety and hygiene in the workplace. All suppliers, service providers and facilities are held accountable to the rules we have set out. HelloFresh’s FSQA teams regularly interact with our suppliers and complete additional visits to further elevate food safety and quality. We also recognise Global GAP certification or equivalent for our produce suppliers. We are moving all of our produce suppliers to be Global GAP certified or equivalent.
The global Covid-19 pandemic has set new challenges for hygiene at the workplace.
Facing new challenges during the pandemic
The rapid spread of the pandemic significantly impacted many parts of all organisations, in particular the global supply chain. During the early days of the initial outbreak we had already started to plan and put safety measures in place. We drafted a Covid-19 crisis management plan in regards to a further potential Covid-19 spread and took the decision to invest into face masks for people protection in our international distribution centres. Since then we have been further building out our protection measures which included the early adoption of separation screens and thermal monitoring cameras. We have always been ahead with our actions in our facilities which enabled us to secure supplies and have industry-leading risk mitigation measures in place at the right time.
Thankfully it was quickly established that Covid-19 could not be transmitted by food. Nevertheless, as well as further increasing the hygiene standards within our operations, additional checks and sampling of goods from certain regions was completed, using learnings and knowledge from across the industry. We also partnered closely with stakeholders across the business as well as with local authorities.
We had already been investing into a strong Food Safety and Quality team pre-pandemic, with clearly defined objectives and measures in place. Therefore the main priority was about remaining focused on our existing processes while continuing to adapt our risk framework and take possible changes to this supply chain into consideration.
As we have continued to grow we continue to expand the team and have some interesting vacancies which will further elevate the function.