Whether it's nutritional values, allergens, insecticides or pesticides, people are increasingly conscious of what could be in their food. Transparency in the food and beverage industry is more important than ever and, as a market leader, DTS Food Assurance has established itself as a name that both food manufacturers and retailers can trust.
Buying food is a basic act of trust – a trust that what you are eating is both authentic and safe. Paul Bellchambers, Commercial Director at DTS Food Assurance, is acutely aware of the faith that consumers place in the company, and the food industry as a whole. “Consumers are more educated about what they want and what they need,” notes Bellchambers. “At the end of the day, it’s not only the manufacturer's brand at stake. Reputations can be burned very quickly and so, from a regulatory perspective, we always make sure standards are met.
“Our purpose is to safeguard food integrity through comprehensive assurance solutions and our vision is to lead the market in food assurance services.”
New ownership, new growth
Previously, the Australian company only tested dairy and food products, operating under the name DTS Food Laboratories. However, in June 2016, it was acquired in a joint venture by Bureau Veritas Group and AsureQuality. Through the acquisition the company has not only changed its name, it has also widened the range of services it offers, providing testing, inspection and certification services to the wider food industry.
“We now have the most comprehensive range of services in the market,” says Bellchambers, “and, from a testing perspective, we are the market leader by quite a long margin. I think that gives us a unique position in the market. It just makes the whole risk equation easier to deal with when you can work with one whole provider from end to end. It’s a unique benefit to be fully traceable the whole way through.”
Indicative of its scientific expertise, the company’s state of the art laboratories are NATA accredited and have 5 Quarantine Approved Premises.
As a member of the Allergen Bureau, DTS Food Assurance also works closely with the food industry to manage the risk of allergens. It is a collaborative organisation that benefits both consumers, manufacturers, and retailers alike, says Bellchambers. “We’ve been a part of the Allergen Bureau for about 10 years and I think it’s a very strong industry organisation to be a part of.
“In Australia, allergen cross-contamination is one of the main reasons for product recall. It can not only be damaging to the consumer if someone is sick but it can also be damaging to the brand, manufacturer, and the reputation of the industry. Therefore, it’s very important for us to offer our support.”
Speed of service
Keen to grow and evolve as a company, DTS Food Assurance hopes to expand into more geographic regions, diversify into more services, and innovate to remain a market leader.
Reporting a contamination concern or giving the go-ahead to release a product into the market is beneficial only if done both swiftly and safety. Therefore, ‘speed and accuracy of service’ is an area of utmost importance to both the company and the industry at large. Therefore, reducing turnaround time is another area of investment for the company, explains Bellchambers.
“Customers send us a sample, we test it, and we send them back the results, so any way that we can reduce the turnaround time will really help our clients,” he says. “As a result, we are heavily investing in automation, data and warehousing management, and recruiting talent.”
In a complex work environment where precision is paramount, DTS Food Assurance has only the best talent and expertise on board. With a dedicated workforce of 450 staff at the company nationally, teamwork is a core value of the firm. But when scientific expertise is in high demand, how does the company attract talent?
“I think the main thing is having the right work culture,” reflects Bellchambers. “At DTS Food Assurance it almost feels like you’re working for a family business, even though it’s not. This is because we have strong company values which our employees really embrace such as safety, quality, performance, teamwork and customer focus. We believe in creating development opportunities, creating leadership, and ultimately having the right people on our team because we think that a diversity of experience, both professional and personal, is what makes DTS successful.”
The road ahead
DTS Food Assurance has established itself as a market leader for food assurance in Australia. However, the company also has its sights set further afield. “We want to enhance and widen the potential of exporters here in Australia,” notes Bellchambers. “Therefore, from a testing perspective, we are looking at becoming internationally approved for some countries which are seen as promising markets to exporters. This would make it easier for our customers when they enter those markets as well.”
As people become increasingly aware of what’s in their food, transparency in the food industry is vital. Testing and analysis will always be a crucial component of the food industry, but thanks to its scientific expertise and trustworthy brand, it seems that DTS Food Assurance has established itself as a market leader for years to come.