Well, we were talking about how we can most easily communicate to you how each of our products is safe for you. We’d been using the Fair Trade Certified label for years to communicate that our ingredients, most specifically the chocolate, sugar and coffee, are fairly traded. We started using the symbol because it is important to us that our products are not only the best that they can be, but that they are socially and economically conscious as well as sustainably grown.
Well, after ten years, we’ve gotten to the point where about 80% of our production is fairly traded, sustainable and economically conscious. But, we’ve also changed our core business plans in the process.
Some of you will be aware that we are packing food products for other companies and taking advantage of our ability to force these clients to switch to the Socially conscious slow fair trade model that our Peppermaster customers have gotten used to. What happened is a tale for another blog, but although we remain committed to these principles, we will be dropping the Fair Trade logo from our jars as fresh batches are made.
What we have done instead is to create a database listing that you can access in order to see what our products are and indeed what they aren’t. And we’ve put it right onto the jar. We decided that since so many of our customers are keen on avoiding certain ingredients it would be easy to simply add such symbols. The quagmire we waded into doing the research was a little frightening, not to mention insulting.
There are many symbols out there that will gladly tell you that our products are gluten-free. In fact, the Canadian Celiac Association received a grant to create a mark that would boldly designate for customers that our product is gluten-free. Except, the symbol rather than remaining zero-gluten as Canadian food products were heretofore required to be, they are now allowed to include 20 ppm of gluten and still carry the symbol. We balked.
How do we use a symbol that says we MAY have gluten in our products when we’ve gone to so much trouble to make them zero-gluten? Well, we decided that we don’t.
Rather than use that symbol, we decided to do the research to find out what we are NOW legally allowed to do without the “certified gluten-free” symbol in order to communicate to our customers the fact that there is no gluten in our products as there never was?
We’ve learned that in order to continue to say “gluten-free”, for the next two years, we must continue as we have been doing, providing our customers with the specifications of the ingredients that go into our products as zero-gluten, then we’re good to go.
As such, we’re now in a position where at least two of our claims to fame are not allowed to be written on the jar, because we didn’t pay someone to audit our trail. So, true to form, we’re going to do things a little differently.
Since in order to make the claims, we simply need to prove that our products ARE what they say we are, and we have auditors trailing us regularly for our other things, we created a system whereby, if you require the specs on a certain product, we will have it available for EVERY batch that comes out of our facility. Whether that be a Peppermaster product or one of the other products we make.
In addition to this, we created a tableau that is easily referenced to determine whether or not the product in question is up to snuff.
If you’ve got allergies, if you want to be assured that the product is gluten-free (zero-gluten), fairly traded, garlic free, onion free, sugar free, low or no salt, etc. Simply consult this PDF file: Peppermaster Icons
Let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything!