Specifications for raw materials, ingredients and primary packaging are important for all food businesses. Whether you are a restaurant, a specialty grocer, delicatessen, central kitchen, hotel or manufacturer, you should know exactly what you are purchasing and have confidence that your suppliers are providing you with ingredients that are food safe, wholesome and authentic. Robust specifications can help to protect your food business from inadvertently purchasing, using or serving fraudulent ingredients and raw materials. They can also help to protect your business from the financial fall-out if things go wrong.
How to develop a raw material specification:
- Download our free template by clicking the button below.
- The template is a word document, easy to edit.
- The template includes sections for all the things you should consider when building a specification.
- You can use all the sections, leave some blank or remove some if you don’t need them.
- You should create a separate specification for every unique material, do not create category-level specifications.
- Use your suppliers’ product specifications as a starting point; they should include key characteristics of the ingredients.
- Add any extra criteria that will help you to control the quality, safety and authenticity of your products. It is useful to imagine that you are receiving the material at your door or loading dock; what would you like to know about the material before you accept it? For example: Is it at the correct temperature? Is it properly labelled? Is the packaging undamaged with no evidence of tampering? Is the material free from undeclared allergens? Does it have the fat content you expect? Has it been aged (meat) for as long as you expect? Is it free from Salmonellae? Use these questions to check that you have included all important criteria in your specification.
- Don’t forget to include requirements for suppliers to have a food safety certificate, licence, approval or registration, where relevant.
- If you are purchasing materials under fixed supplier contracts (as would be the case for food manufacturers), the draft specifications will need to be approved by your purchasing department and by the suppliers themselves before they can be formally issued and implemented.
- Review each specification at least annually and update the issue/review date.
Need help? Our food safety and authenticity experts can develop your purchasing specifications. Contact us today.