The coffee processing company began the nine-month long process to implement the standard which provides the company with leverage to trade in retail markets in Europe, Canada and USA.
According to Salada’s General Manager Dianna Blake-Bennett, the attainment of the standard reflects the company’s intention to compete at the highest level on the international market.
“We decided to pursue SQF Level 2 certification as it was a means to achieving one of our key strategic goals, which is export growth. This significant accomplishment means that the company will have an even higher level of recognition, credibility and competitiveness,” explained Blake.
Over JMD $15 million was spent in the implementation of the standards required to attain the certification.
“It was intensive and required all hands on deck from the team. We had to modify infrastructure including the re-doing of our plant floors, and the upgrading of our equipment because the SQF is a very detailed certification system and documentation is a critical component so that was challenging,” Blake added.
But despite the challenges faced in accomplishing the standard, Blake said the company had been committed to what the standard would mean for Salada.
“Consumers have the assurance and confidence that food produced in a SQF certified company is safe and meets the global quality and food safety standard,” she said.
Blake-Bennett also noted that the international certification would not result in an increase of the prices of their products.
Certified consultancy organization Quality Systems Solutions & Initiatives (QSSI) who provided Salada with support during the certification process commended the company for their dedication to attaining the SQF Level 2.
“Achieving 94% is not easy especially with a prescriptive standard such as SQF. The production workers at Salada understood the rationale for the changes to be made and committed to the task by making food safety and quality a habit,” revealed QSSI Managing Director Sheryl Anderson.
Salada is now focused on capitalizing on the certification for this and upcoming fiscal years by regaining ground on export sales.
“With this certification, we are now looking to expand our export reach as this gives us increased opportunities to seek new markets for our products,” Blake-Bennett noted.
Salada’s products, including their flagship brand Jamaica Mountain Peak coffee and teas, are currently exported to the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and China.