The term "specification" is used commonly in the food industry. One of the benefits of working directly with an ingredient manufacturer is the access to ingredient information.
An ingredient supplier will provide a specification to a potential customer upon request. A brand owner uses this to ensure they are receiving a consistent quality ingredient. This is a helpful tool when a supplier has multiple product versions or variable quality. Ingredient "specs" also help brand owners compare different ingredient sources for quality and price.
Ingredient specifications typically contain:
Product and process description
Country of origin and manufacture facility location
Supplier product identification number
Specification version number
Compliance with applicable regulations
Product or facility certifications (organic, gluten free, kosher, etc.)
Unrounded nutrition data
Allergen check list: indicates if a CFIA priority allergen is in the product, on the same production line or facility (informs labelling and claims)
Product code format
Product properties (depends on product)
Physical: flavour, colour, dimensions, density, etc.
Chemical: pH, % moisture, Water Activity, % fat, etc.
Microbiological: test results and limits for microbes of concern
Defect tolerances: breakage, misshapen, off colour, etc.
Packaging format and material
Units per Case, Case Dimensions
As brand owners increase distribution they may need to create a specification for their final product. This is often part of a food safety plan (HACCP Plan or a SFCR Preventive Control Plan) or used to communicate with potential co-packers and sometimes retailers.
Reach out to your Venturepark Labs contact to discuss what a Finished Product Specification could like for your product.
By Marlis Bens, Venturepark Labs Program Manager