We help prevent disruption for retailers with supply chain control and enable them to appeal to eco-conscious consumers as we have the people and programs in place to offer traceability and sustainability.
In agriculture, you learn to expect the unexpected. Thanks to our global presence and diversified sourcing, we can always adapt so disruption to your supply is minimized.
Farming can be unpredictable. A harvest might be lower than anticipated. Prices can drop or climb dramatically due to over- or undersupply. But, thanks to being spread across the world and sourcing ingredients from multiple origins, at ofi we can manage these risks. Which means you get reliable supply.
Our diversified global presence also helps to insulate us from supply shocks that may disrupt the production of a particular crop in a particular location in any particular year. It allows us to offer certainty of supply and provide the requisite food safety and quality assurance to our customers through adaptive solutions.
This is supported by our team of risk experts who have deep understanding of agricultural commodities and financial instruments trading to help manage the price changes and volatility that can create a difficult operating environment for producers and supply chain participants. We focus on building long-term partnerships with our customers and offering tailored solutions.
Consumers increasingly want reassurance about where their ingredients come from. Thanks to ofi’s superior traceability, you can give them exactly that.
Providing traceability for agricultural raw materials can be challenging given the complex and fragmented nature of many ingredient supply chains, because many crops tend to be grown by small-scale farmers who sell to an intermediary, who may then sell on to another intermediary, mixing sacks from different sources along the way. With the aim of reducing complexity in our supply chains, we make every effort to work directly with farmers, organising buying stations and local cooperatives.
This way of working not only provides us with the data we need to trace our supply back to the farmer groups we work with, but also provides opportunities to create positive impact by implementing sustainability programmes with customer, government, not for profit and development finance institution partners. With traceability, we can also reduce social and environmental risks such as deforestation and human rights abuses.
We also work closely with large-scale growers such as in California for our onions and garlic. Here, we have long-standing relationships with multi-generational farmers passionate about their crops and stewardship of their land. We provide them with proprietary world-class seeds and our ag operations teams and crop supervisors help support production, harvesting and logistics. Of course, with our own farms and estates such as almonds, black pepper and dairy farms, we offer full traceability and absolute control.
Ensuring all suppliers sign the Supplier Code – which also applies to their suppliers
Training farmers through our sustainability programmes
Providing advice and guidance through our digital applications
ofi’s unique technologies play a vital role in improving traceability:
Olam Direct: the app that lets farmers do business directly with ofi
Olam Farmer Information System (OFIS): putting isolated smallholder farmers on the digital map.
AtSource: our sustainability insights platform which gives you more supply chain transparency than ever before
You expect consistent functionality of ingredients. That’s why we have our own people on the ground at every stage of the supply chain.
Getting better performance from food ingredients starts with the best seeds and seedlings. This is an ongoing mission for our plant scientists and agronomists in their support to farmers. One of our seeds, developed by the Spices team, produces onions with more dry matter—boosting yields and reducing the amount of water, fertiliser and pesticide needed per acre. A great example of the power of plant science.
In our smallholder farmer networks, our sustainability teams provide training on how to get the best quality crops with the lowest environmental impact. For example, with careful use of fertilisers and pesticides, replacing synthetic chemicals with natural alternatives wherever possible.
In addition, our own custom developed planting and harvesting equipment has shown significant reductions in our carbon footprint. We also provide training on how to protect crops post-harvest, providing equipment such as drying mats and tables which help prevent contamination from the soil.
This combination of superior seed, expertise and reduced inputs provides our farmers with well-managed crop risk and yield. All made possible thanks to our global reach and teams working together at every step of the supply chain.
Making sure our ingredients are delivered to customers without contamination or adulteration is our top priority.
We achieve this by:
Operating highly integrated supply chains working with both large-scale growers and smallholders
Providing training and quality seeds to help farmers reduce the risk of contamination
Maintaining the highest standards of quality and food safety control at our processing plants
Continuously investing in safety, health, quality and sustainability
Putting in place food quality and safety systems including GMP and HACCP
We are excited to be represented by our deZaan team, one of our legacy cocoa brands, at the 2023 Summer Fancy Food Show on June 25-27, 2023 at the Javits Center in NYC. deZaan offers a range of cocoa powders designed for chefs and artisans and made with the finest cocoa ingredients available. The range showcases the full spectrum of what cocoa powder can deliver with its complex range of flavor profiles, colors and technical properties. Explore the endless possibilities of cocoa.
The trend for bold colors and flavors in food and beverages is rising this year. With consumers increasingly exposed to an array of global food trends, including a wide range of exotic flavors and colors, many are becoming more experimental. At the same time, confectionery products, treats, and snacks are often a moment of fun and relaxation in consumers’ daily lives, so they can be a great opportunity for experimenting with new and exciting shades.
Sydney Valla was an undergrad at Fresno State when she first discovered ofi (olam food ingredients) at a career fair. They were passing out tomato-shaped stress balls and recruiting new grads for a management trainee program. She signed-up for an interview and the rest is her-story.
What motivates you when you wake up and come into work?
My team! There are six of us who are 100% dedicated to the Spices eCommerce business and we have a combined 35+ years’ experience at ofi. Together, we work to be a solution provider for new and existing customers, put in place processes to help the business grow and overcome any challenges that are thrown our way.
Anything you’d like to add to help others succeed?
Being in numerous different positions throughout my career (supply chain, product line, sales) has made me a more well-rounded employee and allowed me to view problems from many different angles to find better solutions. I’m glad that I joined a company that offered career growth and expansion. Being a sponge during the early stages of my career allowed me to soak up lots of different information.
What has been your favorite moment at ofi so far?
When I was a product line manager, there was a large fast-food chain that featured one of our ingredients in a delicious and highly promoted LTO. It was so cool to go through the drive thru, pick up lunch, and know that one of the products that I helped to sell was in an item that was being sold across the country.
Our company purpose is ‘be the change for good food and a healthy future.’ In what way do you live our purpose through your work?
Through the eCommerce offerings, we can connect with new customers and segments that have previously been difficult to reach. This allows us to work with new customers to make educated purchasing decisions about where their product comes from, our sustainability offerings, and more. Outside of work, I sit on the Board of Directors for the Central California Food Bank which feeds over 300,000 community members in the Central Valley.
Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.