The firm said understanding the different regulations and gaining local knowledge helps meet requirements in terms of food safety and quality in the country.
Salvatore Ranchetti, group quality director at Ferrero, told FoodQualityNews.com that it is confident about food safety in the domestic European market.
“Food safety is something we are aware of and have fully under control in the domestic market, which means Europe, which is for us a comfort zone where we know what the rules are,” he said at the Global Food Safety Summit in Madrid.
“We have a strict relationship with our suppliers, we have very good control in our manufacturing operations and we know how our customers treat our products in the distribution chain.”
However, as the firm is trying to expand outside Europe in developing countries it becomes more difficult.
“It’s more difficult to understand which legislation and how it is applicable to our products, how to manage the same product in different regions where the legislation is quite different and then to start the relationship with local suppliers and assess the capability for them to keep food safety under control,” he said.
“The same is [applicable to] the manufacturing plant using a lot of people not confident within an industrial environment and not used to hygiene practices we are using in Europe.”
The maker of Tic Tacs, Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and Kinder said a product needs to be adapted to meet different markets in terms of food safety requirements.
Local people in charge
Ranchetti said a key challenge was to transfer the know-how of its products in emerging markets.
“So the combination we found was to use an expert in Ferrero, in this case an expert on food quality and safety, and asking them to give three years of their life going around in the globe and supporting local people, because we want local people to grow in this experience, so people who have studied food science on a local basis but are not aware of Ferrero products,” he said.
“We support those people to become in charge of our quality and our ultimate goal is that for any plant outside Europe we have local people managing quality on a permanent basis.”
Ranchetti said it needs to differentiate country by country while having one common quality system.
“The product portfolio may change depending on the country but we are strict, coherent on our product recipe, to keep it the same everywhere and to find which product can be successful in one country,” he said.
“We have the same approach on food quality and food safety, so we need strict coherence between the different elements in the value chain because if one element in the chain is weak, the entire chain is weak.
“If we look at raw material, ingredients, packaging material and manufacturing operations, conversion to finish product in our production plant as well as at competitor locations and then in the warehouse and transportation to arrive to our customers, we need to keep consistent across all these steps.”
Ranchetti predicted difficult times in the future in terms of raw materials.
“We know that there will be less raw materials available compared to the demand and we see year by year we are forced to buy raw materials in different regions giving more complexity to our system,” he said.
“While we will become more expert it is the market that will take us to consider raw material and origins we are not used to.”