How to find a reliable food product supplier?

Finding a reliable food product supplier is vital to the development and delivery of solutions. Partnering with food suppliers that consistently provide products on time and on budget enables manufacturers to serve consumers, even when global supply chains are disrupted. Yet, it can be unclear how to identify a dependable supplier of food products.

The importance of working with a reliable food ingredient supplier was emphasised during the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent period of high inflation and geopolitical conflict. With cross-border trade links fraying and costs rising, the choice of ingredient suppliers determined whether manufacturers were able to keep bringing products to market at a cost that was acceptable to consumers.

Here, we look at the three factors that differentiate food supplier companies and serve as indicators that they are reliable partners, using Solina’s mix of a local mindset and international network as an example of a system that has withstood disruption.

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Understand their infrastucture

Food product suppliers with local teams have advantages over centralised, global organisations. Having R&D and sales teams on the ground in a country enables suppliers to understand the taste preferences of local consumers and the needs of customers operating in the market. However, local businesses lack the infrastructure and redundant capacity to cope with disruption.

Solina combines a local mindset and local footprint with a strong international network. With teams on the ground across Europe and North America, we are tapped into national trends but the international network means customers also reap the benefits that come with scale. Our network enables centralised recipe management, the Solina global sourcing platform and extensive contingency plans.

Ask how they cope with disruption

Every supplier will face disruption at some point because unforeseen events such as the pandemic are inevitable, however much a company tries to prepare. How suppliers respond determines whether they remain reliable, whatever is happening in the world and to their supply chains. All experienced, reliable ingredient suppliers will have examples of how they mitigated disruption and maintained supply.

Solina’s decentralised structure was tested in 2019, when a fire damaged a production plant in Romania. The fire would have stopped a local business from maintaining product supply. In contrast, we used our centralised recipe management and shared sourcing platform to transfer work to other locations within our network in Europe and North America.

Look for flexibility

Every company’s needs are unique and continually changing in line with consumer trends and shifts in the business environment. The best suppliers recognise that and adopt a customer-first mindset that puts their customers’ ingredient solutions at the heart of everything they do.

At Solina, our mindset has manifested in an approach that deploys extensive expertise in raw material and ingredient sourcing to create tailored solutions while complying with regulations, certifications and quality control requirements.

In conclusion, finding a reliable food product supplier requires careful consideration. By focusing on the infrastructure and flexibility, plus evidence the supplier can use its resources to mitigate disruption, the search can identify partners that have the quality, customer service and reliability needed to help your business thrive.

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