Moo Free delivers full traceability with NEW ‘Hub’

4 April, 24
Moo Free, the UK’s number one privately owned free-from chocolate manufacturer, has implemented the latest stage in its ongoing development of traceability technology

Moo Free, the UK’s number one privately owned free-from chocolate manufacturer, has implemented the latest stage in its ongoing development of traceability technology, with The Hub, an innovative new traceability module that is revolutionary for its sector, as it empowers them to achieve a full trace within a few clicks – a real USP for the industry.

“The Hub is a new programme developed to aid the running of Moo Free,” explains Louise Adams, Moo Free’s Technical Director. “Installing this technology was vital to ensure we had close controls on our raw materials and finished goods. As pioneers in free-from chocolate manufacturing, we know how important it is to have a due-diligence and full traceability capability which is robust and can be executed in a timely manner. “

Moo Free supplies its free-from chocolate to all the major multiples in the UK as well as wholesalers, b2b manufacturing and export customers. Moo Free went on to report a record year end for 2023 with 20 per cent growth versus 2022. This is in part thanks to gaining retail distribution in recent months for their award-winning chocolate, with new listings in Sainsbury’s and deepened retail distribution in other major grocers including Tesco, Asda, and Morrisons.

“As a result of our growing network of customers,” says Louise Adams, “we have to undergo a number of audits to enable us to be a supplier to them. As a leading manufacturer in the free-from space, it is important to have tight controls on our manufacturing processes and be able to trace our products at any stage.”

Created due to Moo Free’s owners not being able to find an existing system which was suitable for their needs, The Hub is the latest stage in a system which was originally commissioned in 2014 and has evolved over time with the changing requirements of the business. Moo Free co-founder Mike Jessop has continued to develop the programme, with input from department heads and operators, to keep up with Moo Free’s ongoing growth and create better user experience, quicker information gathering and seamless processes to manage all aspects of the business. A broad business tool, The Hub holds information such as product make-ups and recipe formulations to raw materials and packaging, and feeds into the planning tool to manage usage and stock levels. It logs all traceability information, from raw materials to finished goods, and holds all historical sales data by customer by line, as well as all orders, shipments, and invoicing.

Moo Free’s traceability process also includes supplier auditing to ensure they meet the company’s brand standards; product recipe make up management; raw ingredient intake management; production line and operator information; best before dates of ingredients; production units and dispatch management to end customers.

“Moo Free has tried to use a number of systems in the past,” says Louise Adams, Moo Free’s Technical Director, “which never quite delivered on all the things we need. As Mike Jessop is an experienced computer programmer and has had first-hand knowledge with the issues from off the shelf systems, it was something he set off to find a solution for. One of the main gaps from other systems was their batch traceability functions. Due to the category we are in, and the free-from status we have, it is imperative we have this traceability information on hand. This is a great example of where this technology is superior to others.”

The data in The Hub supports Moo Free’s Food Safety Quality Management system and has regularly aided the business during audits to compile and present full traceability information in a quick and timely manner. “The new traceability module has proved invaluable,” says Louise Adams, “when we are required to complete traceability exercises. The system allows both forward and backward traceability of raw materials, packaging and finished goods. The trace data is captured throughout the production process and onto the despatch of products, linked to customer orders. This is all achievable instantly within a few ‘clicks’ of The Hub. The amount of time this has saved is unmeasurable, and the days of trying to reconcile archie paperwork are thankfully a thing of the past.”

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