Frontier's Sustainability Report Frontier, Simply Organic and Aura Cacia products


Our product objective is to provide safe, high quality branded products that are compliant with regulations and meet the needs of our customers.

The integrity of the products we sell is paramount to us. Here are some of the steps we take to ensure that integrity:

Full ingredient disclosure. The FDA does not require that ingredients be listed for many of our products, but our commitment is to let you know everything we are putting in our products. We provide a complete list by product for our herb and spice items. Aura Cacia ingredients can be found in Aura Cacia product listings, included on the individual shopping pages. In response to requests for more information about the ingredients we use in some of our products, we include ingredient information in our glossary of terms. And we are making changes to make that information even more accessible.

Genetically engineered (GMO) ingredient elimination. We believe genetically engineered crops, as currently regulated, constitute a significant risk to organic agriculture and may have other risks to long-term biodiversity and to human and animal health. It is our policy that any new products we add not contain any GMO ingredients. Because most of our products are derived from plants for which there is no GMO alternative, and we have such a large selection of certified organic products, less than 3% of all of our products are susceptible to GMO contamination. We consider any non-organic corn-, soy- or canola-derived ingredients as GMO suspect, and we are identifying and purchasing verified non-GMO alternatives to replace these suspect ingredients as quickly as possible.

Allergen control. As the awareness of various allergens continues to increase, we’ve taken steps to improve our allergen-control processes. We have strict procedures in place to prevent cross-contamination.  When we process products that have any FDA defined allergens (milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans), we do a special cleanup to eliminate cross-contamination. Additionally, we are certified by Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) who scrutinizes our facilities and procedures and verifies that gluten-free claims meet their standards. A number of Simply Organic items are certified gluten-free by GFCO.

Natural product standards. Herb, spice and other food products must meet a standard we have defined for natural ingredients. While no national standard exists (except for flavors), we used definitions from members and several organizations to create an internal standard for the products we manufacture. Our natural products' standard covers post-harvest treatment and processing. We do not purchase any herbs or spices that have been treated with irradiation or chemicals such as ethylene oxide (ETO), and there are a number of other ingredients and processes that are not allowed. For more information, see the list of ingredients and processes not allowed.

Product Quality & Safety

The commitment we make to our customers is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. We are committed to providing products that deliver quality and meet our members' needs.

Inside Frontier, we’ve defined the standards on how we operate regarding product quality and safety:

  • We support the development, maintenance and improvement of quality programs.
  • We will not compromise on the safety of a product under any circumstance, and every effort must be made to avoid hazards to health.
  • Compliance with all relevant laws and regulations is not negotiable.
  • People and equipment are made available to ensure the safety and quality of our products.

Food Safety.Frontier continues to invest in Food Safety upgrades and systems. We made the following changes to our systems, facilities, and equipment over in the last two years:

  • Added a second steam sterilization system that allows us to eliminate dangerous microorganisms in organic and natural herbs, spices, botanicals, and food ingredients. These systems avoids the use of the typical sterilization treatments — irradiation and ethylene oxide (ETO). (ETO is a dangerous chemical and has been documented to leave very high levels of carcinogens in the products after treatment.)
  • Improved our SQF (Safe Quality Food) audit scores.
  • Continue to invest in amount of training on standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all Production employees and managers.

Planned food safety initiatives for next year are:

  • In our newest facility in North Liberty, the many innovations around quality and food safety were incorporated, including air-conditioning – which is needed to maintain the high organoleptics of products.
  • As part of the food safety investments a second steam-sterilization unit in order to meet all of our product sterilization needs (mentioned above).
  • New grinding and blending equipment that will increase our ability to keep up with our growth and better enable us to comply with food safety standards were also added.

Quality. Our Quality Department has been making changes and improvements to support our food safety initiatives above. We have increased staffing levels to bring in new skills and added additional training for current staff. We also are improving our systems and process control, both in manufacturing and in the laboratory. We added new in-house testing capabilities, with upgrades to our chromatography and microscopy equipment, and we built a microbiological lab.

Improvements in 2012-2013 were:

  • Hiring a dedicated micrscopist for microscopic identification processes for botanicals.
  • Completing the testing protocols associated with third-party validation of our steam-sterilization system and processes.
  • Completion of an additional raw materials testing lab in our North Liberty facility.

Learn more about our quality programs.

Product Categories

Our products fall into three categories or business units: Foods & Flavorings, Aura Cacia, and Frontier Direct.

Food & Flavorings includes Frontier bulk spices, herbs, food ingredients, teas, and seasonings; Frontier and Simply Organic bottled spices, seasonings and flavors; and private-label spices.

Aura Cacia includes essential oils, aromatherapy bath products, skin care oils and other natural personal care products, and private label.

Frontier Direct is our distribution business that services natural product stores, buying clubs, and other retailers with 10,000 items across 280 brands, including about 2,500 of our own branded products.

Organic Products

As organic product sales grow, so do the number of organic products we offer. All new products in our spices and seasonings branded categories are certified organic, but we did add some non-organic products to our private label mix resulting in our seasonings offerings going from 76% in 2012 to 73% in 2013. We added new organic products to our bulk line resulting in an increase to 43% in the category. Results were an across-the-company increase in certified organic products from 45% in 2012 to 46% in 2013.

All Products % Organic in 2009 % Organic in 2010 % Organic in 2011 % Organic in 2012 % Organic in 2013
Aromatherapy 15% 11% 14% 14% 15%
Seasonings 56% 59% 76% 76% 73%
Bulk 39% 39% 36% 36% 43%
All Products 41% 41% 45% 45% 46%

All of the new products in our Food and Flavorings business slated for introduction in 2014 will be certified organic. With the exception of just a handful of new introductions in 2014 most of our new products for our Aura Cacia business will be certified organic as well.

Learn more about our commitment to organics.

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We continue to follow these guiding principles in relation to our products:

We practice full ingredient disclosure to demonstrate our commitment to product integrity.

We do not support genetically engineered crops and choose certified-organic crops
whenever possible.

We comply with all labeling regulations and avoid making unwarranted or illegal claims.

We honestly answer questions about our products and admit our mistakes.

We make product safety a priority.

We guarantee 100% customer satisfaction.

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