» Duerr’s – Sustainability and responsible sourcing at the heart of the UK’s oldest independent jam maker’s success

04 March, 2015

Duerr’s is the oldest family-owned jam maker in England with a dedicated history of providing the highest quality preserves. Established in 1881 the business has continued to grow and diversify and today is a £60m turnover business, employing around 240 staff at its Wythenshawe sites.

Central to the success of the business is the pedigree of its products. Duerr’s source the finest grade ingredients from around the world, and this combined with solid manufacturing practises maintains the highest standards of product. This winning combination ensures Duerr’s remain at Green and A grade level as demanded by the retailers they supply into.

Indeed Duerr’s invest in the sourcing of the best quality ingredients for each of their product lines. They support the UK and European markets, sourcing locally grown produce where possible. Duerr’s work closely with their customers often assisting them with NPD and ensuring they reflect the ‘family values’ of the Duerr way of working.

Accredited certification to the BRC standard builds in food safety processes to the business and is a pre-requisite to being able to trade with national food retailers. Duerr’s work with the majority of the UK’s retailers, producing own brand labels for them. Central to working within the retail food sector and supplying into national retailers is the requirement for transparency of supply chain. Indeed some retailers require Organic accreditation whereby Duerr’s suppliers can evidence the source of the seeds, the soil in which the products are grown and the farmers who produce the products, including methodology of farm production.

Duerr’s pride themselves on striving to maintain the highest levels of product quality and production and work to the stringent requirements set out by the BRC. They also meet other certification levels, including being certified by the Soil Association, Organic Standards and more specialist areas, such as Kosher Certification which meets the standard across their honey and peanut butter product lines.

Sustainability is also a core value to the business. Duerr’s are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), whose key aim is to ensure that manufacturers are able to conduct a chain of custody audits regarding the traceability of product back to the plantation where the palm oil has been grown. Consumer interest in global sustainable issues has been a driver for ensuring that manufacturers, such as Duerr’s, are seen to be responsible in the sourcing of all their ingredients.

To ensure compliance with the certification in place, Duerr’s have their own on-site QA Chemical Laboratories, including HPLC at the peanut butter site. All internal labs are accredited by CLAS, (Campden Laboratory Accreditation Scheme), the leading independent laboratory accreditation scheme for food industry laboratories, this ensures that Duerr’s are meeting the highest level of food and drink manufacturing. Especially pertinent with the rise in food allergies, including peanuts, Duerr’s are keen to ensure the production of their product ranges are stringently tested, and meet all the required regulations.

Indeed Julie Fallows, Duerr’s Site Technical Manager said “the CLAS auditors provide lots of guidance and expert insight to assist with any non compliance issues, thus ensuring that the very highest standards are maintained at all times.” Fallows also said “BRC auditors can be extremely helpful, as they provide an objective view of the business, making recommendations to enhance processes.” Fallows also further outlined the benefits of a certification audit saying “the auditors provide fresh input and new ideas, sharing best practice which has a beneficial impact on the organisation.” She went on to say, “audits are expensive, however the corrective actions and objective evidence gathered has a positive impact on the QMS operating throughout the factory.”

Efficiency of savings and improved QMS in the business

The regular reviews and auditing of the certification standards in place provide Duerr’s with the opportunity to refine their processes and to continue to attain the highest standards of service and products. In addition the supply chain is reviewed regularly, and monitored closely, to ensure best practice is maintained at all times.

Accredited Certification: A Valuable Tool for business

Regardless of business size some element of the majority of organisations will rely on one or more of testing, inspection, calibration or certification of products and/or services. Often this is not a core service for many organisations so finding reliable suppliers to carry out these services becomes just as important as securing profitable customers.

In these competitive economic times, organisations both large and small, within the public and private sectors are all striving to increase sales, whilst simultaneously seeking to save time and money. Many are finding that accredited certification is one tool that can help their organisation to grow and develop better quality contracts, with both suppliers and customers.

In addition to providing them with confidence in the goods and services that they produce, accredited certification is also having a positive effect on the day to day function of the business itself.

The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole National Accreditation Body recognised by UK government for the assessment and verification against internationally recognised standards of certification, inspection, testing and calibration activities. Its key role is to “check the checkers”.

A key benefit UKAS accreditation delivers is to provide confidence in the organisations that either hold or utilise services that have achieved UKAS accredited certification status, as these certification bodies operate to recognised standards and are competent to deliver a consistently reliable and impartial service.

Accredited certification is being used as a tool to deliver internal business improvement and regulatory compliance, with proven cost savings a key result of streamlined processes. UK organisations of all sizes are recognising the value for money that accredited certification provides them.

For further information on accreditation and a list of UKAS accredited bodies, visit www.ukas.com