Before we could make our first Seed Bar, our co-founder Nicole spent years finding the highest quality ingredients and most reliable suppliers from around the world. As our business grows, our demand for these ingredients increases, but our quality standards have remained the same since day one.
Over the years, we have developed a nine-step sourcing process, in order of highest to lowest priority, to determine where we get our ingredients from.
As an allergy-friendly company, our first priority is to find ingredients that have the lowest probability of cross-contamination with the top eight food allergens, plus sesame. Once allergen risk and seven other requirements have been met, we look at price last. Throughout the entire sourcing process, we look for high quality ingredients from trusted suppliers by following these nine steps.
1. Allergen Risk
All of our products are made in our dedicated Bakery free of peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, and sesame. To ensure the safety of our consumers, we trace all of our ingredients back to the fields where they were grown to minimize the risk of cross-contamination. We work with our suppliers and use independent third-party testing labs to ensure that we are reducing the risk of cross-contamination with these food allergens as much as possible. Additionally, every supplier is required to provide an allergen statement for the ingredients that come into our Bakery.
2. Food Safety
All of our ingredient suppliers must be compliant with food safety mandates determined by the FDA and FSMA. Our facility is SQF certified and undergoes an annual audit.
3. Certification Compliance
We are Non-GMO Project Verified and our Seed Butters are USDA Organic Certified, which means that all of the ingredients we use must be Non-GMO and all Seed Butter ingredients must be Organic. Our products are also certified Gluten-Free, Vegan, and Kosher. All of our suppliers are also required to be Certified Kosher and our oats are independently Certified Gluten-Free according to Purity Protocol standards, which are the strictest standards possible.
Whenever we can, we prefer to partner with single-source suppliers for each ingredient, as opposed to partnering with companies that source many different ingredients. This method allows us to minimize the risk of cross-contamination with potential allergens and fosters greater transparency within our supply chain so you know where your food is coming from.
Our name, 88 Acres, comes from the 88-acre farm in Central Massachusetts that Nicole grew up on. We are passionate about finding ways to support our local farmers and look to source from local or regional suppliers whenever possible.
6. Lead Times
As a small, nimble, and independently-run Bakery, we need our suppliers to be flexible to our on-demand manufacturing requirements. We have very limited on-site warehousing, which forces us to order smaller quantities of ingredients more frequently. We work with suppliers who are not only flexible, but also easy and quick to communicate with.
We look for suppliers who not only have enough ingredients for the food we are making this year, but who will also be able to scale with our rapid growth. Smaller suppliers don’t always have enough of what we need for us to be able to partner with them. This requirement is often the reason we are unable to work with a local supplier.
8. Mission Alignment
As a mission-driven company, we look for suppliers who align with our brand values and vision for a transparent supply chain. We partner with suppliers who follow above-board employee practices, pay fair wages, and support their local community.
While price is last on the list, it is always an important consideration for making our food accessible to as many people as possible while still creating high-quality and nutritious food. The prices of the raw ingredients used to make our Bars, Butters, Dressings, and Seed’nola reflect the quality of those ingredients and the standards of our production process and employee welfare. By working with suppliers we trust, we are able to meet our standards of safety, quantity, logistics, and mission alignment to ultimately find a balance between quality and accessibility.