SugarCreek: Brandworthy Food Solutions

Overcoming the Challenge of Managing Untested Kitchen Staff

Posted by Craig Fissel

Oct 24, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The path from your ingredient supply chain to your customer's plate is a winding one, with plenty of obstacles to overcome along the way. Balancing flavor profiles, designing an appealing menu, keeping both raw ingredients and finished dishes at the optimal temperatures — all that translates to a lot on your plate. If your kitchen is a well-oiled machine, your staff is the fuel that keeps it running, and many managers are so caught up with keeping issues like these at bay that they neglect the performance of that fuel. From sanitary best practices to sous vide, your employees should be able to handle it all without breaking a sweat, but what happens if untested staff is your only resource? There are three guidelines you'll need to incorporate into your operational approach.

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Topics: Food Safety, Food Service

2 Restaurant Operations Objectives You Should Be Focusing On

Posted by Olga Bitsakis

Oct 21, 2016 11:30:00 AM

The very heart of a restaurant, regardless of market segment, comes down to two things: maintaining momentum and pleasing customers. Restaurant operations staff should consider these the primary goals at every single level of planning and implementation. Essentially, if it doesn't keep the restaurant moving forward or make customers happy, or if it does one at the detriment of the other, it should read as a signal that it’s time to stop, assess and fix. If moves that don't serve these goals are pushed through anyway, the negative impact on your success and restaurant safety procedure adoption isn't far behind.

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Topics: Food Safety, Food Service

New Protein Choices Complicate Food Handling Practices

Posted by Jim Coughlin

Oct 17, 2016 11:30:00 AM

As customer demands for menu complexity continue to grow, the restaurant industry is struggling to implement store-level safety and handling procedures at the same speed. While the presence of meat on a fast casual or fast food menu was once the sole responsibility of the freezer and deep fryer, new ingredient options — including fresh, organic and local protein choices — have necessitated a crash course in potential food problems ranging from the supply chain to the prep counter. While an abundance of caution can needlessly drive up costs in many aspects of menu-planning, when it comes to protein sourcing and handling, it's an investment that definitely pays off.

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Topics: Food Safety, Food Service

3 Major Foodborne Illnesses Procurement Will Contend with in 2016

Posted by Lance Layman

Feb 22, 2016 9:30:00 AM

With the rise of social media, bad news in food safety has broken the speed of light and swiftly become a retailer's worst nightmare in the food industry. While potential issues can and should be communicated as quickly as possible to prevent illness, those conversations aren't limited to a single consumer-retailer sphere: the whole world is listening. An outbreak, or even a cautious recall, has the momentum to topple brand image and damage sales, if it's not closing doors entirely.

As 2016 marches steadily onward, three culprits lurk in the shadows, waiting for a gap in food handling and packaging procedures: e. coli, norovirus and salmonella. Here's how to learn from the mistakes of others, and prevent your brand from becoming an unfortunate infographic-bound statistic.

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Topics: Food Safety, Supply Chain

Why Bacon Manufacturing Is More about Food Technology Than Packaging

Posted by Steve Shutte

Feb 19, 2016 8:30:00 AM

A single recall or health scandal can turn a household name and market darling into the low bar for their competitors, virtually overnight. Just ask a brand like Blue Bell or Jeni's. Food safety is swiftly becoming a focus and a need for informed consumers, who expect impeccable behaviors in every step of the supply chain — from the initial supplier to the final plate. Ingredient viability and safety is a vital component when they're voting with their dollar, which is why they reach for brands that emphasize trustworthy handling procedures and innovative packaging solutions. However, these two brand-boosting moves alone aren't enough to fully secure a supply chain, especially if they're applied after the fact. Recovery from a food safety scandal can be infinitely more expensive than preventative measures, which is why you need to carefully evaluate your supply chain.

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Topics: Food Safety, Bacon, Technology, Supply Chain

What Will the Bacon Manufacturing Plant of the Future Look Like?

Posted by Ed Rodden

Jan 29, 2016 1:30:00 PM

2015 was not a great year for the food industry. One food safety nightmare after another made the news. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration listed 28 separate recalls and alerts for the month of December alone. Those recalls represented products ranging from dietary supplements to fresh farm produce which were recalled for a whole array of problems —salmonella, E. coli and listeria contamination, undeclared milk, soy and eggs, contamination with glass and metal fragments.

Brand after brand struggled when problems with their products arose, which sometimes made their customers seriously sick, and lead to food recalls. Once problems were detected, these companies at times found it difficult to pinpoint just where the problems had originated. Was it with the original supplier? Did contamination take place during production? Was the food mishandled during shipping? All of this confusion left many consumers with a bad taste in their mouths, and many brands saw their customer base shrink.

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Topics: Food Safety, Bacon, Technology

3 Factors That Will Improve Your Next Food Safety Audit

Posted by Alan Riney

Jan 25, 2016 11:00:00 AM

These days, it’s all too common to turn on the evening news and see a food-associated health risk make the nightly headline. While not all of these outbreaks are, currently, preventable, at least some of these situations could have been avoided with right technology and processes. But while food safety is of vital concern to everyone in the food industry, not the only concern that should occupy your attention. A disruption of any kind in the food supply chain is threatening. Producers, suppliers, grocery chains and restaurants, not to mention consumers, all suffer.

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Topics: Food Safety

Modern Processing Methods Make Foods Safer, Better Than Ever

Posted by SugarCreek

Dec 18, 2015 10:30:00 AM

In the last decade, “processed food” has become a dirty word for some consumers, reports The Washington Post. Just last year, food blogger Vani Hari (who blogs at the now-discredited site Food Babe) stirred up consumer fears when she reported that bread contained a chemical additive also used in yoga mats—glossing over the fact that there are over 10,000 additives safely used in even home-cooked foods every day. Thanks to the biased reporting of bloggers and writers like Hari, processing food now connotes big industrial operations for many consumers. Even companies like Chipotle tapped into this mistrust with ads like “The Scarecrow,” which touted the virtues of farm-fresh food over “Big Ag” and corporate farming businesses. But is the backlash against processed food justified?

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Topics: Food Safety

What’s Your View on Pork Antibiotics?

Posted by SugarCreek

Dec 4, 2015 9:30:00 AM

In October, Subway made headlines by announcing that they would stop selling meat from animals given antibiotics. The plan involves switching to antibiotic-free chicken and turkey next year and eliminating all other meat raised with antibiotics within the next nine years. The move comes in the face of pressure from consumers and activist groups like the US Public Interest Research Group. But many producers, including a number of those in the wholesale bacon industry, have expressed misgivings about the move. Is going 100% antibiotic free necessary or safe?

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Topics: Food Safety, Bacon, Proteins

Chipotle’s Food Safety Blow-up Is a Dream Scenario

Posted by SugarCreek

Dec 2, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Consumers are no strangers to foodborne illness and product recalls. In 2015, outbreaks were reported in everything from organic spinach to Blue Bell ice cream. A listeria or E. coli outbreak can spell disaster for companies, especially fast food chains that fail to get out in front of the outbreak. A foodborne illness can cost operations millions of dollars in lost sales, lawsuits and legal fees and negative media exposure, not to mention the cost of identifying and removing infected ingredients from the supply chain. Consumers often avoid the affected chain long after the outbreak ends. That’s not the case for Chipotle, however. Despite being in the midst of a major E. coli outbreak, the chain continues to enjoy strong public support.

What is Chipotle doing right, and what does their successful approach mean for other quick service restaurants and their copacking partners?

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Topics: Food Safety