The new system, which will be launched next summer, can incorporate software the supply chain assurance firm launched in 2009 that alerts processors to the potential allergen risks their products run.
But the pending system goes further in detailing a comprehensive picture of all raw materials used, holding details of everything from nutritional information to country of origin.
Processors would be able to migrate information currently held on their product databases on to the new Qadex system and it would convert it into the format required by any customer.
“The software will create the information in the format required by Tesco or Sainsbury, for example,” explained Qadex business development director Stephen Whyte. “If the information is on another system, we can migrate it over with a migration tool.”
Whyte said that after the basic template and information had been uploaded, it could be automatically updated online by customers at any time. “The software will know all the allergens on site for every single ingredient used. As soon as a business knows what allergen to scan for, the system does the scanning for them.”
However, Whyte admitted the allergens list would only be as good as the existing information that customers held on potential allergens.
The entire system could save manufacturers considerable time that would otherwise be lost updating databases manually using paper-based systems, said Whyte. “We’ve surveyed existing customers and they estimate [by using the system] they can save 40-70% of the costs of doing it themselves.”
150 businesses now use the Qadex allergen platform to manage 9,000 suppliers. Users include First Milk, Britvic, Whitworths and Rectory Foods. It was developed with the aid of £10,000 worth of innovation support and guidance from the Food and Drink iNet, an organisation set up to coordinate innovation support for businesses, universities and individuals in the East Midlands working in the food and drink sector.