Global Ingredient Sourcing
by Ramon Luna - February 8, 2017
Through the advancement in technology, the world has become a smaller place. What once was considered an exotic experience can now be brought right into your neighborhood, no matter how remote the location. Cultures from even the most isolated areas are now sharing art, traditions and their beloved foods. In no other time could we indulge in the bounties of these exotic lands as easily and as often as we do now. But as technology brings the world closer, real miles remain. Still, those miles have not halted the tastes of consumers who desire more than just domestic delicacies.
Let’s take the grain which had little notoriety outside of Peru but came to take the world by storm: quinoa. A known nutritional powerhouse in its native country, quinoa was already a staple food for Peruvian nationals. In the United States, however, quinoa gained popularity almost overnight, going from 7.66 million pounds imported in 2007, all the way up to 68.9 million pounds in 2013.
Peru’s favorite food also became difficult to acquire due to the sudden demand in other markets, such as Europe, where the demand for the protein-packed grain increased an astonishing 70 percent in 2013.
After consumers in two of the world’s largest markets developed a taste for quinoa, manufacturers were left to ask themselves: Where do I source this ingredient while guaranteeing its quality?
This is where an experienced ingredient supplier comes in to help your business meet market demands when it comes to foreign-sourced ingredients.
But before selecting an ingredient supplier, important questions need answers to ensure you receive the service you expect.
How Many Suppliers Do You Need to Source Your Ingredients?
Sourcing ingredients from around the world can be a difficult task. Reliability is a major hurdle for manufacturers. Can an ingredient supplier offer exotic ingredients from various locales regularly? How can one make sure every ingredient needed is always available—no matter where it originates from?
Having multiple suppliers may cause compromising material to go through to the final product unnoticed, tainting the name of your business and your products. It may be difficult to keep track of the quality of ingredients from many sources, but not doing so may lead to loss of revenue and time.
Going through the application process of every supplier you work with can be time-consuming. It can involve tedious paperwork and long waits for approval. When working with multiple ingredients, the process can be even more cumbersome. When going with one major ingredient supplier, that can deliver any ingredient no matter where it grows, you reduce the time it takes to put your product into production and save money in the process.
Sourcing many ingredients can be an exhausting process. However, few ingredient suppliers offer the flavors of the world in one warehouse. That’s why when a supplier is found that offers a worldwide selection of ingredients, it becomes imperative to build and maintain that relationship. Doing so can be the difference between obtaining the ingredients you need or having to settle for less.
How Is the Quality of Your Ingredients Managed?
Surprises can be fun, but not when they come up with your ingredients. Surprises end up costing you time and money. Due to the complexity of sourcing ingredients and the number of steps in a supply chain, ingredients can become compromised, which ends up costing the company its reputation. Once a brand is marred by quality problems, consumers do not easily forget.
It is vital for your supplier to know every step your ingredient takes, from when it is a seedling all the way to the final product. First, ask your supplier how its ingredients are cultivated. A supplier should comply with federal standards, such as United States Pharmacopeia and Good Agricultural Standards. Beyond that, a good ingredient supplier has a close relationship with its farmers. This relationship is nurtured and standards are put in place to know how ingredients are grown, prepared, tested and stored.
What About Beyond the First Purchase?
Having a consistent product is an essential part to any business plan and how customers recognize your products in the market. American consumers throughout various industries are always on the lookout for one trait: consistency. Today’s consumer expects consistency in all aspect of a business, from customer service all the way to the end product. Can your supplier provide consistency in its ingredients?
A good supplier knows how important it is to offer consistent ingredients. One way a supplier does this is maintaining positive relationships with its farmers. Communication between the two parties is the key to consistency in harvests. Maintaining a good relationship with farmers allows necessary forecasts in crop yields, offering advice in crop variety, managing seasons for each crop, and how each crop should be tested. Suppliers who have been in the industry a long time already know how important this relationship is when it comes to producing consistent ingredients. They have spent years building their relationships with farmers because they understand how vital it is for manufacturers to receive consistent products in regular intervals.
Where Do I Go for My Ingredient Needs?
It is difficult to find one company with many ingredients to fulfill just some of these qualifications. However, it is possible to have one global company meet these criteria and even surpass it.
Ecuadorian Rainforest was founded in 1997 by Marlene Hurtado-Siegel. With her knowledge of botanicals and deep relationships with partner farmers, Ecuadorian Rainforest has spent years as a reputable supplier in the nutraceutical industry. During that time, the company has mastered the delicate art of logistics, creating partnerships around the world to get ingredients to and from any port.
Ecuadorian Rainforest provides hundreds of nutraceutical ingredients, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, algae and spices from every corner of world. The company puts its ingredients through rigorous testing, taking many steps to ensure ingredients are free of pollutants and live up to its stringent level of quality.