At McCormick®, we understand that working with flavor components means dealing with variable environmental situations—which demands a careful, deliberate and consistent approach. And, because we’ve been sourcing products from tropical and subtropical developing areas of the world since the late 1800s, we are uniquely qualified to recognize potential challenges and how to best ensure that McCormick products come with the seal of quality. We see quality as a core competency at McCormick and our systems, processes and focus are among the most rigorous in the industry. What does that mean? We test our finished products—and just as importantly, we test the ingredients that go into them.
Quality is embedded in McCormick’s DNA. Our goal is to be proactive and to anticipate and mitigate any possible quality risk. We do this by starting as far upstream as possible, often at the source, with preventative measures including education. Secondly, our intervention measures include checking, testing, evaluating and assessing our products. Lastly is our response system. Spending time and effort in the prevention step makes good business sense.
A few highlights of our commitment to the highest standards of quality include:
• We have the largest quality investment in the spice and seasoning industry, and we are in an elite group of companies around the world to achieve a Safe Quality Food Level 3 Certified Supplier rating,
• We developed a clean, safe, efficient and natural steam pasteurization process for herbs and spices, designed to preserve the ingredients’ quality and characteristics
• We conduct several million ingredient and product analyses each year.
Setting new standards
Not only do we meet quality metrics in each area that we operate, but McCormick continues to raise the bar in quality standards. For instance, we developed and use a proprietary microscopic detection method to ensure the purity of our products. We incorporate the latest analytical measuring equipment in our laboratories to insure chemical compliance and wholesome products. At the field level we have deployed a backward integration program for growing Indian chilies in order to balance quality requirements and farmers’ concerns, developing meticulous agricultural practices to consistently meet endproduct specifications. Our vendor traceability process and Laboratory Information System ensure full traceability and detailed analytic quality control from vendor lot to finished product.
A responsibility shared by all
At McCormick, quality isn’t the job of just one department or set of individuals: but rather quality is ingrained in the work culture of all of our employees. Here, quality is not just about testing at the end of the process—our proactive continuous improvement approach means that quality is built into each product right from the start and across the entire supply chain. Our executive-level Enterprise Risk Management committee has the following four focus areas, further underscoring quality’s importance to McCormick: brand protection, purity, quality and safety of our products. The team works to understand and mitigate any emerging risks that could potentially impact our product integrity.
A strategic, quality-oriented global sourcing approach
The McCormick Global Ingredients Limited procurement team sources spices and herbs from over 40 countries around the world. The sourcing organization has a combined total of more than 100 years of procurement experience in the spice trade; and we put that expertise to work every day to find the highest quality spices and herbs around the world. Through this team, we have established long-held strategic alliances with many of our suppliers and with selected farm communities.
We have intimate knowledge of local farm and market conditions everywhere we operate. As a part of our preventative strategy, we continue expanding our presence in source countries in order to bring our high quality standards as close to the product as possible. For instance, we have joint ventures in India concentrating on red pepper, and in Indonesia focusing on cinnamon, both with the goal of managing the raw material supply chain back to the source. We have developed key strategic alliances in other major spice-growing countries, contributing to a network of suppliers who help us build strong ties with farming communities and help them to continuously improve the quality and productivity of their crops.
Cultivating exceptional suppliers
McCormick has been committed to developing and maintaining a strong and healthy supplier base. This has allowed us to get closer to the raw material source. Through the close and local relationships, we are in a better position to improve the product quality at the farm level through education like helping the farmers understand that quick drying processes help avoid mold and teaching them how storing the product in a safe, dry place helps prevent potential issues later. With this type of education and McCormick’s ability to manage product integrity from source country to end product, farmers deliver a better and more consistent product which leads to steadier demand and better income.
A commitment you can see and taste
From England to South Africa and the United States to China, McCormick safety investments have resulted in Global Food Safety Standards site certifications. While the standards are known by various names—ISO 2200, BRC, SQF—all are aimed at providing an independent framework so that the company’s food safety and quality management systems comply with domestic and international regulations and requirements. McCormick has 20 facilities around the world holding 25 of these certifications. Part of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), these audits are strictly governed to control the experience and quality of the auditor and the audit system, unlike other third-party audits; they are designed to better assure that the products, processes and systems provide safe, quality food to consumers.