Richard Werran, CEO, Cert ID Europe, said VAPor is a 360 Vulnerability Assessment programme created by trading standards officers and food technologists with supply chain and ingredient expertise.
‘Hot spot’ for food fraud
“There has been a considerable amount of client anxiety stemming from new requirements in BRC issue 7 from July this year for them to complete ingredient Vulnerability Assessments,” Werran told FoodProductionDaily.
“A new development, manufacturers are assessed on their management of ‘vulnerable areas’ in their supply chain as a potential ‘hot spot’ for food fraud.”
Cert ID Europe provides food safety and integrity inspection, certification and training services worldwide. It was set up in 1999 at the peak of the EU food and feed industry concerns about GMOs.
Werran added the company has expanded fast in the last few years and recently moved office to bigger premises and taken on more staff.
“Because we specialise in the areas that make the biggest impact on food manufacturers and retailers at the moment such as Non-GM, sustainability, BRC and food fraud, we are in demand,” he said.
“It is exciting times but it is important to ensure the efficient and effective management of people and resources.
“The growth of the emerging markets as food producers and exporters to Europe cannot be ignored however, each presents their own challenges and vulnerabilities. Major brands and retailers will need to drive food safety in these countries.
Top consumer trends
“Cert ID is fully conversant with the needs and expectations of European brands and retailers and through our new sister company, Cert ID Asia is ideally placed to translate these requirements into practical technologies.”
Werran said the top consumer trends to emerge in the next five years are;
- Health concerns - Consumers will form a much stronger connection between health and food. In particular type 2 diabetes will increase, forcing consumers to select different foods and consumers will be increasingly concerned about the risk of zoonotic viruses (those originating in animals with potential to cross to humans) -like avian ‘flu - affecting them.
- The Gluten Free sector will ‘come of age' - the increase in gluten intolerance will see most mainstream brands producing gluten free alternatives to their favourite products. As a result ingredient suppliers will need to accelerate product innovation to enhance functionality and improve the organoleptic food quality and consumer choice.
- The UK will commercially cultivate GM crops – as a result there will be far more demand from consumers for labelling of animal derivatives, meat, milk eggs fed a GM diet.
- The Organic sector will grow - Consumers are becoming more aware and anxious about pesticide use in the environment and as residues in food; consumers harbour doubts about GMOs.I think that consumers will increasingly view organics as a 'safe haven'
- Animal welfare/intensive farming (mega farms) will become important consumer issues. Efficiency but at what cost?
- Terrorism – I believe there will be a chemical/biological terror incident that exploits the virtues of a vertically integrated global food/feed supply chain carried out at some stage. All these sectors provide opportunities for inspection, certification, testing and verification to support consumer choice and increase consumer confidence in the food we eat.
“One of the main challenges is the technical skills vacuum in the food sector is now acute,” he added.
“Government really must support and encourage young people to attain academic qualifications in food and for the retailers and major brands to provide more employment and career path opportunities. Food is an exciting and fast moving business that increasingly requires technical expertise. I am not convinced that it is being supported as well as it should be at both school and university level.”