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Product Certifications

These days it seems like you cannot go into a store without seeing the words “organic” or “gluten free” everywhere you look. Thanks to the amount of competition in natural food production, it may be tempting to want these seals of approval on your food as well.

Surely you have heard the saying “The proof is in the pudding.” Well in this case, the proof lies within your food bar. If you want to make certain claims about your product, they must be tested and certified. Let’s take a look at the different types of certifications you can obtain.

Manufacturing

The first category we will discuss is manufacturing related certifications. There are a number of different reasons to use a contract manufacturer. While production volume is a concern, it is important that the quality is consistent and that the facilities are held to strict sanitation standards. Retail stores like Costco require a 3rd party to come in and inspect the facilities and procedures used to make the product.

These inspectors are much more precise in their inspections than their local counterparts. They have a very detailed process that looks at things like baking temperature and an analysis of the ingredients used. Manufacturers who pass the inspection will obtain what is known as a 3rd party GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certification.

Manufacturers holding a GMP certification provide reassurance to retailers that no sub-par products will be sold. There is no charge to customers for a GMP audit and each facility is provided with a score based on how well they fulfill the requirements of the certification. It is worth noting that Element Bars currently has an outstanding score of 97.5% on our GMP audit.

One important thing to clarify is that there is no actual license issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  While the FDA does perform audits to make sure certain requirements are met, this is not necessary to register with them. GMP certification basically takes the place of any FDA license that would exist. However, you can be licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Health Related Certifications

In this day and age, consumers are becoming more and more health conscience.  Additionally, allergy and health related concerns put a significant burden on manufacturers to verify the quality and origins of their ingredients.

Thinking about obtaining different certifications may seem overwhelming at first. However, your options will ultimately boil down to these three areas; organic products, gluten free products, and kosher products.

Becoming Certified Organic

Element Bars is certified organic, which means that our customers can advertise USDA organic on their packages. To offer this benefit, we had to undergo rigorous testing and inspection by the Midwest Organic Services Association, or MOSA. Their role is to come into a company and verify ingredients claiming to be organic are truly organic and ensure that they are compatible with any conventional ingredients used.

When deciding whether or not to get certified organic, cost is a crucial factor to consider. Organic ingredients cost a great deal more than standard ingredients. On top of that, it costs a manufacturer around $1,000 per year to become certified organic for each product line. This cost is then passed on to their customers.

Certified Gluten Free Products

On August 5, 2014, the FDA began regulating all gluten free products. Becoming certified gluten free can provide your business with a loyal customer base consisting of consumers with gluten allergies. In recent years, gluten free products have even become popular among the general public for the various health benefits they bring.

Similar to the organic certification process, an inspector is required to come in and look at the facility as well as the ingredients used for a new product line. Each ingredient is then swabbed and tested for gluten. Before it can be declared gluten free, the entire product is then tested to ensure the total amount of gluten is less than 10-ppm.

Generally, being gluten free is far more cost effective for businesses than going organic. The inspection is still paid for by the customer, however it only will cost about $100. As an additional cost saving measure, gluten free products can be produced in the same facility as non-gluten free products, as long as the processes do not mix. Element Bars is a certified gluten free manufacturer and we do not process any wheat in our facility.

Becoming a Certified Kosher Manufacturer

While it is not common for smaller businesses to specialize in kosher products, you may well be considering it if you plan on selling your food bars in particularly religious areas. Going kosher may seem like a great selling point on paper, but it is one of the few certifications that Element Bars does not offer.

There are two main reasons for this. To start, there is simply a vast amount of paperwork involved in the process of becoming a kosher manufacturer. Our goal as a company is to provide flexibility and freedom to our customers, not to stall them with red tape. This would be very counterproductive to that end.

Additionally, unlike the other certifications mentioned, being a certified kosher manufacturer is an all or nothing gig. You cannot run kosher product lines in a facility that manufacturers non-kosher products.  This would require every single ingredient we use to be declared kosher. While we respect the need for kosher products, we decided we would rather provide our customers with a wide array of ingredients that will allow them to be as creative and versatile as possible without restrictions.

When you are just starting to produce your food bars, it may seem tempting obtain all of the certifications you possibly can. Before you do this, though, you should really take time to evaluate all of the costs involved. It is usually recommended that you first monitor certain factors like the amount of sales your current products generate and your operating expenses. As a smaller business, you do not want to add any additional costs until you know how profitable your current products will be.

If you would like to learn more about obtaining certifications, or to learn more about contract manufacturing options for your protein bar, please visit our website at http://www.elementbars.com/whosalers.aspx, email Jonathan Miller at jmiller@elementbars.com or give us a call at 888-411-3536.

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