Linda Cudjoe, Head Of Food Safety & Technical, HARRODS
A complex business-like Harrods needs all the leverage and agility from technology to run smoothly. To put Harrods’ operation into perspective, there are 26 restaurants and 3 food halls all supported out of our onsite kitchens and an operational chocolaterie. We also service 3 external units from our kitchens in Knightsbridge; an operation driven by around 110 chefs and an army of support services.
Our offer is luxury, indulgent food with strong credentials of provenance, sustainability, traditional and rare foods that give the homemade or high-end restaurant feel from recipes that have been handed down through generations through to cutting-edge flavours in keeping with the times. The short shelf-life of our products is because we strive not to use preservatives, additives or artificial colours and flavours in our food. Our fridges and freezers are managed through digital temperature monitoring system which ensures the effectiveness of all Harrods sites.
It is vital that all fridge and freezer units are working effectively to ensure the safety and quality of our products. With the drive to be leaders in the luxury sector, significant investment was made in installing units within the new chocolate hall to not only manage product temperature but also product humidity to ensure products are at their best at all times.
We have invested in a system that brings every aspect of supplier approval management, food safety, quality management systems, compliance, customer complaint management, product launch management together in one simple to use platform. Its real time features allow us to see at a glance how our operation is performing putting us in a position to deploy swift corrective and preventative actions should this be required.
This system is fully integrated with our in-house labelling system which ensures that our pre-packed products for direct sale (PPDS) fully comply with legislation, including Natasha’s law which comes into force this autumn. With this integration, we are confident that we have real time updates on recipe and product information including allergens for meals served in our restaurants and products made and packed for sale in our store and outlets. And we go further than that by using QR codes to give our customers the opportunity to read for themselves ingredients list of loose products ordered through our online channels.
It is also important that Harrods has the agility and ability to respond to trends. During the period of store closure, we continued to offer our customers the food that they love right to their doorstep through our new online and delivery partnerships, with no impact on product integrity and giving customers access to product information in line with FIC regulations.
Furthermore, customers, more than ever want to know where components of their food and packaging are sourced and that they are sourced with sustainability and welfare of workers being paramount. Ethics and sustainability are the new normal with safety and legality assumed for a business like ours. We at Harrods manage this through our membership of Sedex, various sustainability schemes as well as relationship with suppliers right to origin.
We are proud that we use technology available to us to ensure end to end traceability through a transparent supply chain from “farm to fork”, giving ourselves and our customers the peace of mind that they rightly deserve.