JJ Food Service, an Enfield based wholesale foodservice specialist, is helping to make implementation of the new allergen regulation easy for its catering, on-trade and foodservice customers by re-designing the labels on its own-brand range and ensuring that 100% of its supplier base is compliant with the new allergen regulations.
Ali Guvemli, chief product officer said: “Caterers will need to make sure they are working with suppliers and wholesalers that are legally compliant. We’ve responded by evaluating all our suppliers to make sure that they are ready for the change – some of them have been slow to respond so we’ve stopped working with them altogether.”
35% of JJ’s sales come from own-label lines and the wholesaler has re-designed its packaging and labels to comply with the new law, making allergens clearly visible on all JJ products. “We have also used the opportunity to highlight accreditations like Free Range, GMO-Free, Red Tractor etc. which we believe are key selling points for our customers”, said Guvemli.
All JJ customers will be given a leaflet explaining the information, which can be included on menus and marketing materials, and can also be referred to when selling. “We don’t just want to educate ourselves, we alsowant to give our customers the materials they need to be prepared”, he said.
But there is also a ‘grey’ area which caterers should be aware of, explains Guvemli. If a wholesaler buys a product before December 15th 2014, it can still be sold without the correct labelling. Some suppliers have responded by offering new labels that can be downloaded from their respective websites to use on old stock. “When we have these links we will share them with our customers”, said Guvemli.
He added: “The advantage of working with us is that our products are fast-moving – they don’t sit around gathering dust. We want to make sure we are doing everything properly and by working with us, our customers are doing the same.”