Q&A with Eric Collins, Lab Coordinator


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 1/9/18

Eric

Eric Collins is a singer/musician turned Research & Development Laboratory Coordinator. After having spent a little over a year working in production at Fuchs, Eric set his sights on Research & Development and has spent the past six years with the R&D Department. Combined with experience he'd gathered as a box maker, machine operator and even a sanitation worker for the company, once the opportunity arose for him to work as a Laboratory Technician, Eric pulled together all the skills he'd accumulated and applied them there in the Sample Lab. Eric has developed a reputation for being detail-oriented and committed to making sure our customers receive samples in a timely manner.

Q&A

Q: Your role here has been transformed over the past year. Tell us more about your new role and what you do to help our customers with their projects.
A: In my new role, I work to ensure that our customers receive only quality samples and products. Now, as a laboratory coordinator and food technician trainee, I have also taken steps towards learning more about food science and product development while I oversee the production of samples by the laboratory technicians in our Sample Lab and Research & Development Laboratories. I have been pursuing further education in the field of food science to be better equipped to assist our food scientists. As I’ve been learning more, I have a hand in some development work, including sensory evaluation.


Q: A lot of our customers have been curious about our new sensory lab. Explain more about our sensory testing.
A: I organize all sensory tests in the company's brand new sensory laboratory, gathering data as R&D works to ensure products launched here are solid and tested with quality. At our old facility, we did not have a dedicated space for sensory testing, so our new sensory lab has proven to be an asset that we have been utilizing regularly in order to better serve our customers. We utilize sensory testing for a wide range of purposes, including matching and duplication projects, and I coordinate all aspects of sensory testing to ensure that the process goes smoothly and we have enough participants.


Q: What are you looking forward to in 2018?
A: In 2017, my role expanded to collaborating with marketing and our Corporate Executive Chef, Elizabeth, with our sample kits. With these quarterly projects, I help with planning and my main objective is to ensure that these marketing endeavors go off without a hitch as they reach the customers of Fuchs, globally. Looking forward to 2018, I’m excited to assist with the execution of our next round of forward-thinking, trend-driven sample kits.

Q: What's your favorite part of your role here at Fuchs?
A: In all that I’ve done here at Fuchs in my different roles here, the fulfillment I’ve gained each year with Fuchs has remained the same. To me, nothing compares to seeing a development project in its infancy, grow and take a life of its own and end up on the shelves of your local grocery store. It's the joy that drives me each day. It's what motivates me!

To learn more about our R&D team, click here. 


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Fuchs China Spotlight


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 12/19/17

plant

The Fuchs Group, the world’s largest privately-held seasoning and spice company, operates on four continents to carry out our mission to serve food customers no matter where they’re located. When you work with Fuchs, you gain the advantage of global resourcing and market insights, giving you maximum flexibility. Here, we highlight our facilities in China, which recently expanded to Shanghai in 2016.

plant teamHistory:

In 2000, the Fuchs Group opened Fuchs China Foodstuffs, located in Anqiu city, Shandong Province. That facility provides over 10,000 tons of spices and seasonings to customers in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. To accommodate for rapid growth in this region, a state-of-the-art R&D facility was opened in Shanghai in 2016.

Capabilities:

SH teamWith expert knowledge on food trends and access to insights from leading market research sources, the marketing team at Fuchs China is well equipped to offer on-trend concepts and insights to foodservice and retail customers. At our Shanghai facility, we have also invested in developing a culinary and R&D team to fit the needs of customers whose products range from snacks to sauces to menu items. Advanced processing equipment and an increased manufacturing capacity allow Fuchs China to meet the demands of any customer.

SH 2Products:

Fuchs China has over 7000 products in its portfolio – and will custom formulate seasoning solutions for a wide variety of applications. In addition, Fuchs China offers freeze dried spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Certifications:

Fuchs China is Halal and Kosher certified, and its facilities meet HACCP, IFS and ISO22000 standards. 

Check out Fuchs China's website here

To learn more about our global capabilities, contact us

 


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Q&A with Joe Fuchs, Purchasing Manager


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 6/6/17

Joe

A native of the Baltimore area, Joe Fuchs has been in the spice and seasoning industry since he was 19 years old. This month, he’ll be celebrating 22 years at Fuchs, where he holds the role of purchasing manager. 

Q&A

Q: What's going on in the spice market these days?
A: Whenever we are talking about the spice market, it’s interesting because we have got more variables that come into play now versus fifteen or twenty years ago. Buying spices has become a lot like buying stock.

Cumin seed, for example, was expected to have 25% larger harvest this year than last year, and prices were expected to go down. The largest growing area in India got hit by heavy rain and hail, which wiped out a portion of that crop, and that means that cumin seed is going to increase in price. We’re still thinking the price will go down, but we didn’t expect it to firm up three to four months ago. So, cumin could become a challenge this year. Cinnamon prices right now are unprecedented. It was always probably the cheapest spice out there. Domestic garlic also became a challenge this year as well. The good news is that the black pepper market continues to slide, and prices are down versus last year. Vietnam had a good black pepper crop this year.


Q: You recently attended the American Spice Trade Association annual conference. What were some key takeaways from that?
A: ASTA gives us the opportunity to catch up with colleagues from all over the world, so this conference, for me, is a very busy time. It was a great opportunity to catch up with people who I don’t normally meet with in person because they are miles and miles away. This year’s attendance broke the four hundred mark, and more people have been taking an interest in ASTA recently. For me, as a buyer, the crop reports are the most interesting part of the conference. In terms of takeaways, many of the presentations were geared towards addressing the new regulations with FSMA, the regulatory reform agenda as a whole, and food safety issues.


Q: What would you like our customers to know about our purchasing department?
A: We are here for our customers; that’s the bottom line. We will work hard for our customers to do what is right for them. As buyers, we’re really working for both sides; for both Fuchs and for our customers to make sure that we’re getting quality products. If you think about it, our finished product becomes our customers’ ingredient, so we really are an extension of our customer. You may not be able to buy a Fuchs seasoning off the shelf, but pick up a potato chip, and that’s who Fuchs North America is.

Q: What's your favorite part of your role here at Fuchs?
A: I like the challenge of the changing markets. No two days are exactly the same. It can be maddening, but it’s never boring. I also enjoy working with people around the world, and finding a middle ground with them to get the job done.

 


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Q&A with Mark Richardson, Quality Assurance Manager


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 2/14/17

Mark Richardson

Mark holds a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Memphis, and he has 25 years of experience in spice and seasoning quality and food safety. Mark has enjoyed over 10 years at Fuchs North America, where he manages all aspects of quality and food safety for our North American facilities.

Q&A

Q: How does Fuchs' quality program work?
A: Our quality program is a three tiered program. The first tier involves Vendor Assurance and FSMA compliance, supplier qualifications, and food safety capabilities. Suppliers are approved by Quality, Regulatory, Procurement, and R&D, and supplier approval requires vendors to comply with our requirements. Once a vendor is approved, we monitor them continuously, based on each lot of material that we receive from them. We score them on the total number of incidents as well as the severity of those incidents. We also require annual GSFI third party audits.
The second tier is our in-process continuous improvement program. We monitor the consistency of the production process at each stage, recording errors and assigning root cause and corrective actions. The purpose is to continuously improve. The third tier involves measurement of customer complaints. Fuchs’ focus is proactive rather than reactive. The first two tiers are in place to make sure that there are little to no customer complaints. Fuchs has realized considerable improvement because of this program.
With our three tiered program in place, our goal is always to have perfect ingredients, have a perfect process in place, leading to perfect products, every time.


Q: What kinds of certifications does Fuchs have?
A: Our facilities are GFSI certified, SQF Level 2 through the NSF certifying body. Fuchs has International HACCP Alliance Certification, and we’ve been Organic Certified and NOP compliant since 2012.


Q: There’s been a lot of buzz about FSMA lately. Can you explain what it is and explain what Fuchs has done to prepare for the changes that will be going into effect?
A: FSMA is the Food Safety Modernization Act, and Fuchs is currently compliant with FSMA. We have 6 members of our Quality Department trained in FSMA FSPCA Preventive Controls. The next part of FSMA to be launched is the Foreign Supplier Verification Program. Fuchs’ Vendor Assurance Program already includes risked-based assessments based on ingredient categories.


Q: What is Fuchs' stance on sustainability?
A: The Fuchs Global Company is a committed partner toward sustainable practices. This includes our companywide recycling program, our energy efficient ETO chamber for spice processing, and monitoring of our facility air and greenhouse gas emissions.


Q: What would you like customers to know about Fuchs’ Quality Department?
A: Fuchs considers our Quality Department to be available as an asset for customers to contact regarding questions. Our team is available for consulting and technical questions regarding spices and seasonings. We want to be an additional resource, not just people who perform testing and analysis. We have a solid team of excellent people who add value to what we do.

Q: What's your favorite part of your role here at Fuchs?
A: My favorite part of my job is interacting with people and working together to solve problems.

To learn more about our Regulatory and Quality departments, click here.

 


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Q&A with Ashley Brooks, Regulatory Affairs Supervisor


Posted by Rebekah Wicke on 12/20/16

Ashley Brooks

A native of Maryland, Ashley graduated with a degree in Chemistry from Stevenson University and has focused on food science, regulatory and quality assurance throughout her career. When Ashley first began working at Fuchs almost a decade ago, she worked in our Microbiological lab. She eventually became a Quality Assistant Supervisor and is now our Regulatory Affairs Supervisor, specializing in domestic and international regulations. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking plant-based recipes, spoiling her three cats, and playing tennis with her husband.

Q&A

Q: What are the top regulatory concerns facing our customers right now?
A: Everyone is getting ready for FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) to go into effect; that’s the biggest concern right now. We’re making sure that we have the documentation that our customers need, and we’re also working on getting documentation from our suppliers. Other major regulatory concerns include preparing for the Nutritional Facts Reform and the new Federal GMO Labeling Law.


Q: What trends are you seeing in terms of regulatory requests and concerns?
A: Sustainability is a trend we’ve been seeing. Clean label is becoming more prevalent; they don’t want anything artificial. There’s also definitely been a trend toward organic and non-GMO products, especially in the past 5 years. Our department provides all of the documentation our customers need for getting their products certified, so that they can make those claims.


Q: There’s been some confusion about what the differences are between organic certified and organic compliant, Non-GMO and Non-GMO Project Verified. Can you explain what the differences are?
A: Great question! So, organic certified means that at least 95% of the ingredients are certified organic by a USDA approved organization. The USDA runs the National Organic Program (NOP) which develops the standards as to what qualifies as organic. Organic compliant means that the product meets NOP’s requirements to be used in food products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic ingredients” although not certified organic in and of itself. 
When it comes to Non-GMO, there isn’t a law, just industry standards for what qualifies as Non-GMO. This will be changing soon with the announcement of a new Federal GMO Labeling Law. The Non-GMO Project, however, is an organization that has its own standards for what high risk ingredients are for GMOs and products need to meet their standards in order to be Non-GMO Project verified. We don’t get our own products verified, but we make them compliant so that our customers can have their products verified.


Q: What would you like our customers to know about our regulatory efforts?
A: I want them to know that we are happy to help in getting documentation in a timely manner. I want to emphasize that our customers should use our regulatory department. We’re always open for questions, and we really are here to be a resource for our customers. I pride myself in providing accurate information and timely information.


Q: What’s your favorite part about your role here at Fuchs?
A: I like that every day is different. I’m always continuing to learn new things!

To learn more about our Regulatory and Quality departments, click here.

 


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