Len Croudis:manufacturers obliged over safety and information on packs

5 July 2016

Food manufacturers have an obligation not only to make sure their products are safe but also to give consumers as much information about them as possible, says Len Croudis, Country Manager for SunRice.

He was speaking about food safety leadership in an FGC Leaders Series video.

“We have an obligation to make sure that what we put out there is safe and right for the consumer.

“Ideally, the company too should have things on their packaging around websites so they can engage and give the consumer more information. Saying nothing is not an option.

“Consumers, when they look at a product, really need to read the back of the packaging a lot closer. They need to understand that if the product, particularly if it’s agricultural, doesn’t tell you where it’s coming from then why would you buy it. You need to have that visibility and that assurance.”

He says supermarkets demand a very high standard from food products.

“The New Zealand supermarket scene is not just – hey, I’ve got a product, put it on the shelf. The supermarkets hold you to a very high standard and actually audit your systems every year.

“When you submit a new product you have to submit a whole series of other information around that product. It can’t be just, hey, I’ve got a product I want to sell it. It has to be driven by making sure that, one, it meets the consumer need – there’s insight behind it – but, two, that it also does perform like it should.”

He says when SunRice gets a customer complaint they go back and verify it all the way through to make sure that their processes are correct.

“We have full visibility of the product right through the supply chain. It’s probably reassuring to know … that the first time people actually touch the rice is when they open a bag and go to cook it.

“Our regimes are very, very high. We have continuous auditing processes. We also understand from a food defence point of view that’s it’s not always what comes into our business that we have to trace – we also want to make sure that … we have a pretty good visibility of all the markets it’s going into, not only once it lands in those markets but where it is distributed to.

“So we have an obligation to talk to our customers about how to store and hold the rice for them to on-sell to their customers to make sure that they themselves also know how to handle our products.”

FGC Chief Executive Katherine Rich says food safety remains the prime focus of FGC and its member companies.

“Having visibility right through the supply chain is absolutely vital and is one of the main reasons New Zealand is regarded around the world as being second to none when it comes to food safety and quality.”

Speakers in the FGC Leaders Series so far have been Geoff Shaw of Saturn Group on training up talent for senior roles, Sharna Heinjus of Kimberly-Clark on sustainability, Veronique Cremades of Nestlé on health and wellness, and Gerry Lynch of Mars on health and safety, Kelly Smith on talent and retention, Pic Picot on environmental sustainability, Mark Callaghan on health and wellness, Alison Barrass on health and safety, Craig Cotton on health and safety leadership, Lindsay Mouat on advertising to children and Hamish Marr and Kevin O’Shannessey on talent and retention.


You can view Len Croudis’ video on FGC’s YouTube channel here.