When you are in the food business, you need a reputable supplier for your kitchen. It is not a simple task, by the way. The quality and safety of the food items you prepare or sell depend on the ingredients and the supplier’s best practices. It might take a few steps before you can find the right supplier.
Put yourself in this scenario. It’s almost the weekend, and you receive a call from your favourite customer. The client says they want a seafood course for their holiday event. They need a ready-to-eat, heat-and-serve menu offering tuna, assorted vegetables, and desserts. They are working on a budget and want the food extraordinarily tasty. Before ending the call, the client adds they expect you to send samples by the middle of next week.
So, your product development team develops the recipe and gathers the ingredients from your regular suppliers. But they cannot find the key ingredient, tuna. So you and your team have to work hard to find a wholesale food supplier like Kiril Mischeff which has more ingredients available at any time.
Choosing the right ingredient supplier
Choosing the ingredient supplier for your requirements is quite complex, but it will be vital to the success of your products. Here are some of the essential criteria to follow.
- Meeting your standards. Determine what you need and the standards your different departments follow so you can find the ingredient supplier that will meet all of them. Your workflow will help you decide the standards your company should adopt.
- The reputation of the supplier. You need a reputable supplier with a history of supplying high-quality products and value-added services. Find a company with several years of operating its business, one that is financially stable, and has favourable reviews from customers. You should check if the supplier meets industry standards and current regulatory requisites.
- Accreditation. Ingredient suppliers should have the required accreditation and certificates. Look for the SALSA accreditation, which will inform you if the company is legitimate. Check also if they registered with the local authority.
- Ingredient handling. You should check how the supplier handles and packs their ingredients. Enquire if they provide allergen information, nutrition facts labels, storage conditions, and the shelf life of their items. They should provide packaging information and a general description of the product. Enquire if they provide samples.
- Product consistency. The quality of the food or the product should be consistent. Your customers will associate poor quality with you rather than with your supplier. You will lose customers if your supplier does not have consistency in the ingredients’ quality.
- Flexibility and responsiveness. You must find a reliable supplier that meets your delivery deadlines. Likewise, choose a supplier that can respond quickly to changes in the orders and delivery (within reason). A good supplier must accommodate small and large orders in emergencies.
- Affordability. The ingredients should be affordable, so you can also make a profit. But weigh up the pros and cons carefully. Cheap suppliers do not always mean they will provide you with the best value for money as it can affect your other criteria. Determine how much you want to pay for the ingredients, considering the service, quality, reliability, and price the supplier offers.
Your company’s reputation and success depend in part on your choice of ingredient source. While this guide is not complete, you can get help from organisations and authorities from government websites.