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Looking ahead at the future of food assurance

in Corporate News
Author: AsureQuality
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Last week we were privileged to host customers and industry partners from across New Zealand for a networking event at our Mt Wellington office in Auckland. 

It was great to be able to share with food industry leaders some of the key initiatives that AsureQuality is working on to ensure that we continually excel across our services; enable successful innovation projects co-designed with customers and partners; and deliver market relevant, standardised assurance services for New Zealand food producers and exporters. 
 
AsureQuality CEO, Kim Ballinger, outlined the company’s focus on creating more value for customers through unified assurance and improved customer experience, by delivering on AsureQuality’s vision to be the integrated food assurance partner and to unlock and grow the value of NZ Inc brand and reputation.  

Group Service Manager Food Testing and Laboratory Management, Michael Hodgson, introduced some of the improvements underway at AsureQuality’s laboratories. These include the exciting laboratory expansion project at our flagship site in Auckland which will create more space for state-of-the art automation technology to improve throughput and speed; a pilot sample tracking and visibility project which uses RFID to track samples as they flow through the lab for real-time status updates; the addition of further automation in our busy Chemistry department; and digital plate reader technology in Microbiology which will provide the foundations for leveraging AI driven image analysis in the future. 

In the fast-moving data space, newly formed, dedicated teams are working on delivering AsureQuality’s Innovation and Data roadmaps. Elke van der Maijden, Group Manager Innovation and Insights, described the company’s vision for its data platform, to provide a structured, standardised data lake integrating the vast data sources across our services and offering interoperable capabilities for sharing and ingestion of other data sources. The use of data underpins the ability to add value and actionable insights to customers and the industry. The innovation team are actively identifying emerging tech opportunities which can be applied to our services, for example, enabling new ways of capturing audit data using sensors. The importance of co-design with customers was a key message and Elke extended the opportunity for partnership with customers to engage on current and future projects in the pipeline. 

Head of Quality, Dan Aubrey and Sandra Williams, Compliance Manager Hort, Food and Dairy, led an interactive discussion on the current range of bespoke market assurance programmes and standards, sparking an interactive discussion on the potential for industry alignment and equivalency across standards through a pre-competitive provenance programme under a NZ Inc framework. 

The discussion and engagement from all attendees was very valuable, and the event proved to be an ideal platform for customers to provide input to shape the direction for the future of food assurance services in New Zealand. Following the feedback from all who were able to attend we are looking forward to creating a regular forum for food safety and quality leaders to network and learn from each other. Watch this space!