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There is no accounting for taste, but quality is another matter!

When it comes to taste, Sonneveld leaves nothing to chance. We make sure you can always trust the quality of our products. Our quality department continuously monitors our (product) standards and business processes; it provides audits, to make sure our products meet the requirements. In this, we constantly partner with our international colleagues. In an interview with our quality manager Maarten Boonstra, we invite you to discover the process that precedes the selection of our suppliers, in this case, suppliers of pumpkin seeds from China. Maarten tells you more about how we ensure the quality of our raw materials and what factors play a role in the interests of our customers.

Finding the best suppliers
‘Sonneveld processes pumpkin seeds in various products. Our customers can rely on the high quality of our products, which is why we put time and effort in finding the best suppliers. We always aim high.’

Preliminary research
‘The first step consists of preliminary research that takes place at our desk. We look for suppliers who are available and who qualify for further assessment’, says Maarten. We thoroughly assess the certifications of the suppliers and we send these companies a set of questionnaires with questions about the circumstances they work in. Based on the preliminary research, we selected four Chinese suppliers who appeared to be able to meet the requirements to become our pumpkin seed supplier right away. ‘Paper gives us a lot of information and sometimes the answers say exactly what you would like to hear. We find it important to verify the results ourselves, using a so-called supplier audit. We visit the suppliers to ensure that everything is really the way the supplier indicated it on paper, which is rarely the case.’

Supplier Audit
‘We really want evidence that the supplier does what he says. Of course, we check the taste, size and appearance of the seeds. And we closely examine all possible conditions, such as production conditions, hygiene, environmental conditions and the working environment. We check the documentation and analysis certificates regarding cultivation and production of the seeds.’

Shine Skin pumpkin seeds
FACTS: There are two types of pumpkin seeds for your baking products: “Shine Skin” and “Grown Without Shell” (GWS). These are not the kind of pumpkin seeds we know from the store. Shine Skin pumpkin seeds are cultivated with a white shell or hull. The pip itself has a green colour and the hull can be peeled mechanically. GWS is cultivated without hull and has a dark green colour. GWS is larger than Shine Skin, has a higher oil content and a stronger taste. At Sonneveld, we prefer the GWS pumpkin seeds. The supply chain of pumpkin seeds in China is quite long, especially from a European perspective. Traditionally, the seeds are shipped to Europe from Tiajin or Dalian. Before the seeds are distributed all over the world, they often have travelled 4000 km in China.

No success
One of the four possible pumpkin seeds suppliers was rejected right away. This company's beautiful words on paper did not match reality. ‘We were the first Europeans who submitted the company to an audit and they were not prepared for our visit. We quickly noticed the quality level was well below our requirements. The seeds were not handled in a food-safe way, which caused a high risk of contamination. There was no protection against pests, no metal detectors were used and the X-ray device that had to detect inaccuracies did not work.’

Enough excellent suppliers
‘Fortunately, there are many examples of excellent suppliers that are seriously committed to food safety, quality, environment and working conditions. Some companies are at the same level as the best companies in Europe and are working with an ecological and sustainable production on their own initiative. Excellent suppliers do exist. You just have to go through some trouble to find them and gradually filter out the bad companies.’

Work continues
We have found the best suppliers of pumpkin seeds. This does not mean that we can sit back and relax. We carry out continuous and extensive tests. We take samples of each delivery to check, for example, for heavy metals and pesticides and to check whether the delivery is in line with the relevant legislation regarding bacterial content.

That's why quality always comes first
Couldn't we just spend a little less on quality guarantee and lower the prices of the raw materials? No, because if we did, we would not be Sonneveld! If we did, we would just be another supplier not interested in the success of the bakeries. We strive to be a valuable partner for Dutch bakeries. That is why we strive for high quality and food safety so that you can benefit from:
High, uniform quality raw materials that you can trust.
  • High, uniform quality raw materials that you can trust.
  • High delivery reliability, providing you with the right quantities at the right time.
  • The certainty that production takes place under excellent conditions.

We make great efforts to find the best suppliers for our requirements. Therefore, it is important that we visit them and thoroughly examine them to ensure the required high level of production. An additional advantage of such a visit is that it facilitates concluding excellent agreements.

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