Since 2012, ofi has been taking actions to support farmers and seasonal workers, and to improve conditions in the hazelnut supply chain in Turkey. This is in line with our commitment to develop supply chains that respect people and human rights. And to make sure no children or adults are subject to illegal, forced or abusive labor practices. Over 70% of the world’s hazelnuts are grown in Turkey, where the challenges in the supply chain are complex and deeply entrenched. During the hazelnut harvest each summer, workers (the vast majority of whom are Turkish citizens) travel to take up seasonal work on hazelnut farms.
In partnership with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), ofi piloted the USDA’s Guidelines for Eliminating Child Labor and Forced Labor in Agricultural Supply Chains in collaboration with the Turkish government, Nestlé and Balsu. Completed in June 2018, the pilot assessed over 1,000 hazelnut farms and the report identified the systemic barriers and solutions to improving working and social conditions.
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.
Imagine waking up to a world without your morning cup of coffee or being able to enjoy your favorite chocolate. Unthinkable, right? But climate change threatens the livelihoods of millions of small-scale farmers who grow these everyday ingredients.
That's where HEARTH (Health, Ecosystems, and Agriculture for Resilient, Thriving Societies) comes in. It is a collaborative public-private partnership approach to sustainable development in biodiverse landscapes initiated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Together, USAID, olam food ingredients (ofi), and partners have invested approximately $50 million across six cocoa and coffee projects worldwide, including four HEARTH partnerships. We aim to equip farmers with the right tools and training to transition to more environmentally friendly techniques without sacrificing their livelihoods. There are three key ingredients at the core of HEARTH’s approach to climate action: