GFSI: PACA Foods Commitment To Food Safety

The days of the successful “mom and pop” food manufacturing facilities have passed. Nearly 5 years ago, PACA Foods embarked on a mission to not only declare its commitment to Food Safety, but to also demonstrate that commitment by significantly investing in our personnel, our facility and our systems. This demonstration was completed under the auspices of the Global Food Safety Initiative and more specifically by following the standards established under the Safe Quality Food (SQF) path. PACA achieved a Level II certification in 2013 and achieved a perfect score on the highest and most challenging level (Level III) in 2016.

What is GFSI

Global Food Safety Initiative or GFSI is a non-profit group that provides guidance, leadership, standards and certification on food safety and management controls for the safe distribution of food throughout the world. The world’s top experts in food safety regularly gather & work with different global organizations, governments and industries in the food manufacturing and retail industries with the purpose of sharing new information and encouraging a unified system for managing food safety from the ground to your table.

Safe Quality Food (SQF)

The path (or “scheme”) that PACA has chosen for certification within GFSI is SQF. Heightened consumer demand for increased food safety assurances now finds retailers and service providers asking suppliers to provide verifiable proof that robust food safety control systems have been effectively implemented. These systems must have been properly validated, and show evidence of continuous monitoring procedures. This is where the value and importance of the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Program is evident:

  • SQF is recognized by retailers and foodservice providers around the world where a rigorous, credible food safety management system is required;
  • The SQF certification program will help reduce assessment inconsistencies and costs of multiple assessment standards;
  • As a primary scheme of the GFSI, the SQF Program links primary production certification to food manufacturing, distribution and agent/broker management certification;
  • Administered by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), SQF benefits from continual retailer feedback about consumer concerns. These benefits are passed on to SQF certified suppliers, keeping them a step ahead of their competitors;
  • SQF is the only scheme to integrate both quality and food safety components.

For manufacturers, SQF certification doesn’t stop at just assessing risk. The SQF standard is about limiting food safety incidents and recalls. It is also unique among certification programs in that it focuses on safety AND quality, giving retailers and food service providers around the world even more reason to seek out manufacturers, processors and distributors that have earned SQF certification.

Since SQF certification is based on government and industry food safety requirements, businesses at every level have the ready documentation they need to demonstrate the steps they’ve taken to increase food safety. In addition, the SQF program provides specialized guidance documents on standards within specific categories,

The Mission of The Safe Quality Food Institute: To deliver consistent, globally-recognized food safety and quality certification programs based on sound scientific principles, consistently applied across all industry sectors, and valued by all stakeholders.

PACA Foods is Level III SQF Certified

PACA recognized the significance of the GFSI in 2011 and embarked on the long and challenging journey to achieve certification. It takes a strong commitment from the company’s leaders, since there is a tremendous investment of time, as well as financial and human resources. A perfect score in Level III Certification was completed in 2016, and this milestone is a tremendous achievement for both our company and our customers.

Why Level III SQF is important to you as a Customer

A rapidly growing number of retailers are requiring their suppliers/vendors to achieve NOT LESS THAN Level II certification in order to be eligible to sell their products into the retailers’ supply chain. PACA meets, and exceeds this criteria thereby ensuring that our customers meet this certification eligibility requirement. It is one less essential element of doing business with retailers that you have to worry about. The certification further illustrates that PACA Foods produces not only a high quality food product, but also offers the assurance to our customers that they are in the hands of experts in the dry food manufacturing segment of the Food Industry.

PACA Foods is dedicated to being a leader in dry food manufacturing, and all of the company’s products are developed, produced and distributed according to the highest standards, both nationally and internationally.

Call us today to let us start creating value for your company and your customers.

Flipping A New Side to Flapjacks

In 2012, a company calling itself Flapjacked began through multiple experiments with high-protein, dry pancake and muffin mixes. The experiments were done by parents Jenn and Dave Bacon in order to find more creative ways to feed their autistic son, Jace. Since Jace would only eat about five or six different foods, Jenn tried to find a way to help his physical growth by adding protein to pancake mixes.

Since the inception of Flapjacked, Jenn and Dave have expanded into muffin mixes through their Mighty Muffin line of microwaveable products that come in a variety of flavors, all with 20 grams of protein. Flapjacked products are also sold in more than 10,000 retail outlets including conventional grocery stores, natural food stores, and vitamin and supplement shops.

Of course, one of the most difficult steps in the process of creating the pancake mix was discovering the best ingredients to use in order to create a product that tastes great, even after the baking process is finished. Tasty dry mixes require special attention to ingredients and, in the case of Flapjacked, more than 40+ proteins were experimented with in order to find the one that had both the best taste and texture for the muffin and pancake mixes.

The benefits of dry mixing are relatively evident: the mixes are shelf-stable longer, the processing and manufacturing is cheaper, and less nutritional content is lost due to further processing. The mixes can also be stored for later use in the event that an entire package or container is not used in one sitting. For families that are particularly active or have busy lifestyles, dry mixes can be a great help for everyone: once they’ve been made, they can very easily turn into a quick breakfast or snack for any on-the-go need. If you’re looking for a viable, dry-mix option, especially for items like health shakes or baking mixes with high-protein content, PACA Foods has a considerable amount of experience in working with all types of protein based products.. If you’re interested in seeing all of our available products and manufacturing capabilities, please follow this link for more information.

Source: Why Consumers are Flipping for Flapjacked, Food Business News

Tips for Toddlers: Baby Snacks Lacking Proper Nutrition

Taking care of toddlers is a task enough without trying to find out how to feed them properly.

Unfortunately, recent research reveals that a vast majority of products marketed to parents with babies and toddlers in the US such as cookies, cereal bars, and fruit snacks, were not nutritious choices for young children.

The study, done by The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut, found that 83% of toddler snacks contained added sweeteners which the World Health Organization and other experts and organizations say children under the age of 2 years should not have.

Many of the claims on the packaging, such as “real, natural, organic”, misled parents to believe that the products with these claims would actually be a healthy option for their infants. In addition, other options such as fruit pouches, although a relatively healthy option for toddlers, failed to provide toddlers with proper exposure to real fruits and vegetables and the fine motor skills needed to consume produce. Such pouches also don’t provide the toddlers with the true flavor and texture of produce.

For parents with children under the age of one year, pureed food is still a viable option. By age two however, toddlers should be eating the same food as the rest of the family, the report added. For those who wish to read more about this report, see the sources below.

Sources:

http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Trends/Healthy-snacking/Baby-and-toddler-snacks-often-fall-short-on-nutrition-mislead-parents

http://www.uconnruddcenter.org/BabyFoodFACTS

Avoiding Food Allergies Through Dry-Blending

Food allergy awareness has increased significantly over the past few-years. Allergy awareness has both expanded beyond nuts and milk and has become an interesting sub-market of the agriculture market, leading to creativity in cooking and community formation, especially for those with celiac disease who live gluten-free lives. Even with the improvements in awareness however, the scientific community is not where it should be in terms of funding for research on allergic reactions. The funding for this research is typically dedicated to finding cures for food allergies rather than than investigating the causes of the allergic reactions.
Gut bacteria is also of increasing interest amongst researchers as these gut bacteria play a role in explaining why some people develop food allergies. For example, the gut flora, which is the community of microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of humans and other animals and insects, is analyzed to understand celiac disease. The gut flora of those with celiac disease is different from people without CD. The development of CD can come from genetic disposition, but CD is not guaranteed. Depending on when an individual is exposed to gluten within their diet can play a role in whether or not a person has CD.
And while awareness and research for allergic reactions are both increasing, some of us have very specific diet restrictions. Even goods that are carefully manufactured can cause an allergic reaction. Dry-blending foods is way to circumvent allergic reactions, however. When a food or product is dry-blended, an individual can decide how much or how little of an ingredient should go into their meal. Less processing also allows for a more raw form of any product, which allows for greater nutrient intake. They also can choose whether an ingredient should be included in their meal at all. For those with very specific diets, dry-blending is an excellent option both within the private and corporate sectors.
If an individual or company is looking for more simple options in their food-preparation for those of specific diets, dry-blended foods is certainly a viable option.
Sources:

Staying Warm While Staying Within Weight

Fall is here and Winter is coming. With cold weather comes warm meals, and with warm meals comes, well, more meals. No matter who you are, many of us turn to food to keep us comfortable during these cold months.

Unfortunately, with comfort foods comes forth weight gain, which makes us uncomfortable. As the days get shorter and the skies get bleaker, we aren’t as energetic, which means we’ll likely be buying more packaged, pre-made, easy-to-cook, and stuffing food. Then, of course, there’s the holidays, which only feed the problem.

So how can you stay warm while staying in shape? Diet is doable, but exercise is excellent. Wellness is key, and the combination of diet and exercise are what create it. As mentioned, people are more likely to gain weight from eating packaged and pre-made food. Food sitting on shelves has to last longer, so it’s likely filled with more ingredients that will help it last longer. More sugar, more fat, more preservatives. All the kinds of ingredients you don’t necessarily need more of.

Deciding what goes into your meals is important, and you don’t always have to buy the ingredients yourself. Using dry-blend food like peanut powder actually is a great option for college students who need a high-protein snack without all the extras. Dry-blend foods allow for proper proportions and more creativity based on body size and daily needs, along with being shelf-stable for a lot longer than your regular groceries.

Winter doesn’t have to mean weight gain. Instead, you can keep a spring-break body all of this season!

The Flexibility of Pouch Packaging

How Packaging and ‘Pouch-ifying’ Products Provides Full Flexibility for Consumers

Convenience in product distribution and packaging has always been a factor on both the side of the consumer and the business. Both sides want something cheap, durable, and flexible that can adapt to their needs. However, while packaging something in a tin can was of interest to consumers and businesses due to long and stable shelf life years ago, cheaper and and more flexible packaging has become of greater interest to the conscious consumer.

This need for convenient packaging has brought the market to the concept of “The Pouch”. Traditional packaging, made with glass, hard plastic, or paper, holds less value intrinsically for both businesses and consumers. Businesses are dealing with potentially fragile containers, such as with glass, and consumers are upset with not being able to easily take their favorite items with them wherever they go. In the truest sense, “convenience is currency”.

The global market demand for flexible packaging is projected to rise 6.2% annually to $37.3 billion in 2018. Food, pharmaceuticals, and beverage are the top three markets for flexible packaging. These are three products that people consume, quite literally, on a regular basis. This consumption, and the necessity of convenience in consumption, shouldn’t come as a surprise for future-thinking businesses, however. Rapid increase in consumer demand within the current and continually evolving state of the global economy require businesses to be watchful of trends in convenience now more than ever.

This constant crave for convenience is most prevalent for the ever more relevant Millennial generation, with $200 billion in annual buying power. One in four Millennials are now parents, too, who simultaneously will influence future consumers, their children, and currently influence older generations, such as their parents. As for filling this need for convenience, pouch packaging is an increasingly popular option for reaching all parts of the world, being that pouches use 60% less plastic and are 23% lighter when weighed against traditional packaging. From an economies of scale argument, less weight and less material mean reduced costs on both production and distribution, which helps both businesses and the environment.

One caveat of these pouches, although they are lighter and require less material, is their complex composition. Due to the multiple layers of variations in plastic, these pouches can be difficult to recycle. Nevertheless, some recycling options for these pouches do exist for smart, environmentally-minded consumers.

The act of packaging is beautiful in that it can be both logical in purpose as well artistic in design: packaging doesn’t just have to be for consumers, businesses, or the environment. Packaging can fill the needs and be a smart option for each of these entities, and that’s a package deal no one can resist.

Source: http://www.packagingdigest.com/flexible-packaging/the-pouch-ization-of-the-world-2016-09-23

Starting Your New Lifestyle From Scratch

Everyone has unique tastes. Interests in food, fashion, art, music, hobbies, and anything else that makes up your lifestyle are all different. Of course, we seek to maintain our lifestyles by buying products that compliment our lifestyle. Some of these products, however, can be expensive. Fresh, organic food, gym memberships, packaged and prepared food and drinks. The list could go on, but the point remains: living healthy can be expensive.

It doesn’t have to.

Think about why food is expensive: labor, distribution, and preparation by other people are the greatest cost factors. The food itself is actually not that expensive, relatively speaking. So, if you find that buying all this prepared food and drink is expensive, why not just start making it yourself?

Now, of course, here you are trading money for some time. However, you gain the ability to be more creative with your ingredients (along with knowing, mostly, exactly what goes into your meal). You also get to choose exactly how you want to eat that day.

It’s all about the idea of starting from scratch: if you have all the ingredients you need, you can create just about anything. And that doesn’t just go for food, it goes with exercise, too. Why pay for a gym membership or a personal trainer when you can work out from home? Research on the internet for meal and exercise plans and you’ll find a plethora of resources.

So don’t just choose something off of someone else’s menu.

Start from scratch. Be the master chef of your lifestyle.

What are the ingredients of a successful food business?

Is your company relevant? Sustainable? Important? Ask yourself these questions daily. Relevance, sustainability, and importance is not just for now, but for years to come. If your business is simply established off fads, trends, or fuming, volatile hype, chances are your business won’t last. Creating a product for a short-lasting niche market is unlikely to be relevant or even important. Finding a way to help people live happy and healthy lifestyles is forever relevant.
 

“5 C’s of of modern branding”

In what can be considered the “5 C’s of of modern branding”, these five aspects are important for any and every business, but can especially be applied to those pertaining to food and agriculture.
 

Concept

 
The first “C” is the Concept, which is the story that your brand is telling. Is your business home-grown? A legacy? Both? Make sure you’re telling a story both in your product and on your packaging. Something that is tangible is definite. And if something is definite, it has a personality and, therefore, easier to understand.
 

Content

 
Next is Content, which is complementary to your Concept. All the content that is packaged with your brand image is what brings life to the story rather than the Concept simply being some story or anything else that lacks a particular, definite vitality.
 

Connection

 
Connection is important to take Concept and Content and bring them to the consumer. Of course, connecting with consumers happens on two levels: rational and emotional. Your product should be a rationally good decision (e.g. price, quantity, quality) along with an emotionally appealing experience (e.g. packaging, colors, story, etc…).
 

Community

 
Once you’ve made the Connection of your Concept and Content with your Consumer, you are able to successfully create a Community. This is your fan-base and people who will cheer you on as you continue to grow your business, which of course means more delicious product coming their way.
 

Continuity

 
Perhaps the most important aspect in all of this however is the idea of Continuity. Wherever your company logo, message, or story appears, it has to be consistent. Your business practices on your boxes or packaging must align with what happens in the media. If your in-store business practices are receptive, helpful, interactive, and fresh but your social media accounts are obscure or non-existent, then you know you are lacking continuity in your business. Just as people are fed physically, they enjoy being fed emotionally and have nutrition information that they can chew on.
 
Whatever your business, make sure you’re consistent, persistent, and definite in your product and practice. Above all, be relevant and do good for your customers.
 

Source: http://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/news_home/Consumer_Trends/2016/07/The_five_Cs_of_modern_branding.aspx?ID={05E0DEB7-DEC7-443C-9E44-51290F46BF09}

 

Guiding Your Life: Why Health is a Direction

When we think of healthy living, the first words that come to mind may be time, effort, and money. Like any endeavor that has some desirable end result, work is ultimately at the core of that success. However, too often we think of all the work that must be done with a sense of urgency rather than in bite-sized pieces. Food puns aside, maintaining a well-balanced and healthy life is the same way. We might think of healthy living as something unattainable, expensive, or time consuming. Again, healthy living requires some work, but not as much as we initially think.

Instead of thinking of healthy living or a healthy body as an immediate goal, think of how you can do it daily. Daily is a relevant answer, too. What is your daily requirement? Do an assessment of yourself: where does your physical state stand? Are you fit enough to do a 5, 10, 15, or 30 minute run? How long? How fast? How many sets of 10-reps can you do? How much weight? You won’t know until you try.

Ultimately, health is a combination of your daily choices. Choosing to exercise, eat right, and think positively all work off each other. Healthy habits may seem like a common idea, but that’s because there’s an ultimate truth in making right choices: it points your life in the right direction. Chocolate by itself is not bad, but a constant and daily intake of sweets is directing your life in a poor direction. Remember, it is the total sum of all your daily choices that take you in a healthy direction, not necessarily rare and isolated instances.

So remember: living is about the healthy combination of bite-sized pieces.

Making Meals for Millennials: The Meal-Kits Market

An interesting new trend for those who like to eat at home is having meals delivered to your doorstep: in the form of a “meal-kit”. The popularity of the meal-kit idea has extended beyond simply people who are dieting or even the elderly in a meals-on-wheels program. The market is shaping to be one with a diverse selection, in preparation and distribution of goods. From groceries and frozen goods to dried food meals being transported by bike or by car right to the comfort of your own home, there is room for market entry.
 
The idea of a meal-kit could be a $60 billion market. In addition, on the side of the consumer, there is less worry about choosing the correct ingredients, storage of these ingredients or meals after dining, and even wasting particularly expensive, organic ingredients post-dining. For a consumer with limited cooking abilities and time but a health-conscious mindset, a meal-kit is more than a good idea. In fact, they can begin to integrate these partially prepared meals into their daily and weekly schedules with less time spent on deciding and more time spent on dining. In this sense, meal-kits aren’t just a luxury item: they are solving a problem in balancing time management and healthy living for consumers.
 
While one portion of this market could be dedicated to those with expendable income, another, arguably larger portion would be dedicated to the millennial generation. This generation fits the description above and will be eager to find ways of getting their nutritional value. In the type of service economy that is ever-present, millennials will be willing to try new brands, both in-store and online, that provide healthy, diverse, nutritional value to their daily meals. Ease of preparation and nutrition are also significant factors for a millennial deciding what to eat, two things that a meal-kit can provide. Being that the diverse age of millennials are looking for viable options in their meal experience, newer options like meal-kits could be the happy medium they are looking for.
At PACA Foods, we create custom, dry-blend foods and drinks for a variety of companies. Contact us today to see how we can help you make meals for consumers, and reduce unit costs, thus providing consumers with more nutritious, cheaper, shelf-stable options.