Making sure the ‘Fresh’ is always in our name - Celebrating World Food Safety Day 2023
Celebrating World Food Safety Day 2023, we want to shine a spotlight on the efforts of our International Food Safety Team (FSQA) at HelloFresh and their achievements in the last twelve months. From working with partners including LRQA, Bureau Veritas and TUV to establish the BRCGS Storage & Distribution certification standard across our distribution centres, to using advanced platforms such as Form.com and EcoOnline to manage our operational food safety, to establishing our Quality Safety Culture programme, we are constantly evolving our standards and making sure the ‘Fresh’ is always in our name.
We have built a strong, trusted brand over the years, and currently operate in 18 countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The meal-kit market is our primary business vertical, which is covered by our HelloFresh, EveryPlate, Green Chef and Chefs Plate brands. We are also developing our direct-to-consumer ready-to-eat business vertical, represented by our Factor and Youfoodz brands.
Across our international markets, we launched a number of food safety initiatives in 2022, including a paperless inspection process with Form.com. This provides a standardised routine for internal audits, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) inspections and other food safety and quality-related controls, with verification at set intervals for all key food safety standards. We are also able to track real-time data on metrics such as hygiene, product quality and errors, thereby aiming at mitigating potential risks and creating effective work routines and high-quality workflows.
To complement our centrally-defined policy for food safety management, we are designing training material to specify and institutionalise our expectations for food safety leadership principles and employee standards. The continuous reviewing of this training material will help us deliver consistent and strong food safety standards whilst further enhancing our food safety culture through engagement and awareness.
Food Safety leaders from all our international markets at the FSQA summit 2022.
Investing in people and expertise
Our recurring FSQA summit provides an opportunity for our food safety leaders from all markets to come together in person to exchange ideas and best practices. In 2022 our focus was on “Scaling Safety & Quality across the HelloFresh Group”, in line with our FSQA mission statement of “Partnering with all teams to mitigate risk, drive standards, be more than legally compliant – ensuring operational excellence with safe and high quality ingredients for the consumer”. We always strive to be better and matching just the minimum requirement is never our goal.
Our fulfilment centres live up to the highest food safety standards
With so many people in different roles working in 18 different countries on three continents, the International Food Safety team decided to put a renewed focus on codifying and professionalising our standards, processes and products and scaling up best practices across markets and site locations. For this reason, HelloFresh has established a process of ensuring the high food safety standards in our fulfilment centres are confirmed by external certification. In 2022 we received BRCGS Storage and Distribution certification for nine of our distribution centres in the International segment with a further four distribution centres to be included in the programme this year. We are proud to say that we were able to partner with BRCGS in updating their existing Global Standard for Storage and Distribution to include e-commerce operations, and thus contribute our experience to improve an industry-leading standard. In the US, all of our fulfillment centers are already SQF (Safe Quality Food) certified since 2021.
Safety and innovation are key priorities at our state-of-the-art fulfillment centers
Launching our Quality Safety Culture Programme
As part of our ongoing work on developing our teams and supporting the entire company, we’ve launched a Quality and Safety Culture programme which engages with all levels of the organisation. Partnering with Camden BRI and Culture Excellence we have surveyed all of our International distribution centres and market headquarter teams, providing every single employee with an opportunity to anonymously provide us with feedback on what quality and safety mean to them, using Culture Excellence’s carefully constructed survey. After analysing the data and looking at patterns and trends, we have developed our action plan of initiatives which are linked to three core themes.
Training as the primary cultural embedding mechanism - it’s effective, relevant, practical and enjoyable.
Rewards & Recognition: we want to enhance the structure to promote and recognize good behaviour and invest in skill development
Openness & Transparency to drive engagement, communication and consultation in safety and quality measures - promoting upward information flow and downward guidance.
The initiatives linked to these themes will start to be executed across all our sites over the coming months.
Foundations of Excellence- The Five Pillars of Quality & Safety Culture at HelloFresh
Launching the HelloFresh Food Academy
To further improve food safety excellence we partner with established institutions such as Campden BRI, and BRCGS to develop training courses in the HelloFresh Food Academy. Different functional teams across HelloFresh have access to the Food Academy including Culinary, Procurement, Operations and FSQA. Courses include Allergen management, Ethical trading and Sensory training courses to learn about the sensory and taste properties of products - along with many others. The overall program focuses on core food safety skills, risk reduction, strengthening food safety and quality culture, and developing food technical knowledge. Over the last year, Campden BRI and the HelloFresh Food Academy team have developed 22 courses designed to meet HelloFresh’s needs.