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Sustainability, ethics underpin supply chain

Sustainability, ethics underpin supply chain
Quest Foods supplies a range of quality frozen herbs, vegetables, ingredients and fruit to a variety of clients.

Quest Foods has differentiated itself from the competition by only selling environmentally sustainable and ethically sourced products, says company owner Leon Garton.

“Environmental sustainability is an important factor in selecting suppliers as the export industry in some developing countries is based on unsustainable environmental practices, which would not be permitted in New Zealand.

“Our products are sourced from suppliers who have demonstrably proven records in sustainability, efficiency and personal ethics,” he explains.

The company supplies a range of quality frozen herbs, vegetables, ingredients and fruit to a variety of clients including food manufacturers, bakeries and food service businesses.

Products are sourced mainly from New Zealand, Australia and Europe, where Leon says the food safety standards are extremely comprehensive with identification, recall, traceability, origin and microbial standards all monitored and conforming to regulated standards.

Likewise suppliers, transport agents, storage facilities and distributors are expected to maintain exemplary standards in food handling practice.

Quest Foods dates back to 2007 and Leon, a livestock rep at the time, purchased it in 2008 with wife Jill after seeing the huge potential for growth.

Based in Whangarei the company remains a strongly family owned and operated business with Leon taking on the role of manager and looking after sales, Jill, administration and their son Jayden office manager.

Leon says the focus is on offering customers personal service.

“We work with our clients to ensure they receive products and performance suited perfectly to their needs,” he says.

“I personally liaise with our customers as it gives that personal touch and also allows me to really understand their needs.”

Quest Foods works hard to find the products customers request – hence the company name, says Leon.

It supplies some specialist products not available elsewhere in New Zealand.

“Innovative product development is all about having something different,” says Leon.

Quest Foods aims to offer a large range of products giving customers every opportunity to have something ‘outside the box’ while still being convenient and economical,” says Leon.

Products are either fresh or IQF (individually quick frozen).

Leon says IQF products are often superior in flavour as the IQF process does not allow large ice crystals to form in vegetable cells.

Sustainability, ethics underpin supply chain

Also, since each piece is individually frozen, the final product is not frozen into a solid block making it convenient for customers who may want to use a little at a time.

Quest Foods also offers ambient (room temperature) products, mainly purees.

There is also a small range of organic products, which were introduced around a year ago due to growing interest from customers. Quest Foods delivers nationwide.

Leon says by utilising a third party logistics service this has created good efficiencies and allows costs to be kept reasonable for customers.

Due to growth, Quest Foods is presently restructuring to create even greater efficiencies and Leon is targeting further growth and an expansion of the product range always with an emphasis on quality, food safety, consistency and efficiency.

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