It only takes one bad meal to lose a customer – and one inconsistent product to lose market share. That’s why the most successful formula needs reliable ingredients to back it up.
But what keeps those ingredients reliable?
At Roquette, it’s called the traceability program. Peas used in NUTRALYS® pea protein products are grown independently on farms in Europe and in North America – but farmers follow careful protocols as they select, plant, harvest, and store peas for NUTRALYS®.
“Our protocol really is an Identity Preservation program,” says Bruce Brolley, senior agronomist at Roquette Canada. “We’re taking a commodity – field peas – and turning it into a specialty crop. Our farmers grow according to our protocol, and we ensure the quality of what they grow with traceability reports.”
Reporting on Nutralys crops is frequent and consistent, and they cover all three steps of a crop’s road from planting to processing: Roquette collects data on crop growth, on storage, and on its journey from silo to processing plant.
“We know, from seeding to harvest, what has been done in every single field,” says Fabienne Pointier, agricultural commodities specialist at Roquette Switzerland. “We also have information regarding the logistics flow from silo to Roquette. Whenever we want, we can audit that information.”
Data is collected in a lot of ways – from reports Roquette growers file themselves, to crop samples gathered from each storage for analysis silo after harvest. Taken as a whole, the data gives a crucial picture of the quality of what will become NUTRALYS® protein ingredients.
Some of this data is used to ensure compliance with Roquette’s Pea Growing Protocol in Canada. The company can look at fields in which its peas are being grown, to name just one example, and cross-check against a federal database to ensure soybeans haven’t been grown in those same fields within the past two years. That ensures cross-contamination won’t become an issue.
But, says Brolley, the traceability program is about more than enforcing protocol.
“These reports can help farmers,” he says. “If there’s a flood, if there’s draught, we have ‘act of God’ language in our contracts that protects them. Knowing about these conditions in our audit provides verification for them. And it allows us to adjust our expectations or even plant more in another area if need be so Roquette customers will still have the ingredients they need.”
In the end, the traceability program is not only a measure of quality – it’s a method to achieve that quality.
“We try to avoid problems, not just solve them,” Pointier says. The traceability program provides the data to do just that.
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