Natural Fruit and Beverage Co are a market-leading packer of food products into resealable pouches. Based in Scotland, they offer a variety of services to food businesses in the UK and across the globe, including product development, ingredient sourcing, process advice, and pack design. In the factory, they have an array of equipment for mixing, filling, and packing food and beverages into pouches.
Natural Fruit and Beverage Co wanted a traceability system that would record lot numbers, as well as a system that would provide better operator efficiency and consistent product batches.
Stevens Traceability worked with Natural Fruit and Beverage Co to determine their priorities and goals and provided a modular traceability system that can be extended in the future if/when required.
The Stevens Traceability system comprises the Stevens Stock and Production software modules which are accessed and used on the factory floor.
Using the Stock module, Natural Fruit and Beverage Co receive, move, withdraw, and adjust their stock electronically, as well as enter ingredient lot numbers. All details entered in the Stevens system at this stage are used throughout the production process and start the product traceability process.
Ingredients are weighed in separate zones, with allergen ingredients weighed in a designated area. Using the Stevens terminal and scale, ingredients are weighed out and data from the system is printed onto a label by a connected printer. The system is set-up so that labels clearly state if the ingredient contains an allergen.
Virtual Container Referencing
In addition to the ingredient information printed onto the labels, a virtual container ‘VC’ number is also printed onto the labels (1 label per 1 ingredient). This information is used by operators at the Collation terminal, where the system also benefits from Step Containerisation.
At Collation, each label with a VC number is scanned separately with a barcode scanner in sequential order. The Stevens Traceability System dictates when/what ingredient should be added to the recipe, for example ‘Add VC number XYZ and mix for 10 minutes’.
Natural Fruit and Beverage Co can easily record lot numbers, and data is used throughout the production process, allowing them to trace forward and trace back their products and ingredients.
The system has been tailored to their requirements, and operators are much more efficient in production because the system tells them what ingredients to add to recipes and when. This has resulted in consistent product batches for customer and consumer peace of mind and less ingredient wastage.