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. We’ve eliminated all ingredients containing gluten from our products. We brought in the Gluten-Free Certification Organization (GFCO) to scrutinize our facilities and procedures and to conduct testing. We obtained certification to manufacture gluten-free products. We have launched a number of Simply Organic items that are certified gluten free by GFCO and intend to expand our offering into the future.
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.
|WEIGH IN: Do you agree with our standard for natural? What, if any, changes would you suggest?|
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:
Food Safety. A major food recall (peanuts and peanut butter) in 2009 rocked the whole country — all the way up to the President’s kitchen. The result was an overhaul of governmental food-safety regulations that became the Food Modernization Act of 2011. Third-party food manufacturing safety and certification programs across the country also made improvements to their standards and processes. In order to comply with the new standards and, more importantly, increase the food safety of the products we manufacture, we made the following changes to our systems, facilities, and equipment over the last several years:
We are continuing to improve our facilities and processes in 2012. The planned food safety initiatives for next year are:
Quality. Our Quality Department has been making changes and improvements to support the food safety initiatives above. In the last few years, we 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 2011 were:
Projects planned for 2012 are:
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 baking mixes; 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 290 brands, including about 2,500 of our own branded products.
As organic product sales grow, so do the number of organic products we offer. All new products in our spices and seasonings category are certified organic. We were also able to replace some non-organic with organic products when a similar quality became available. Results were an across-the-company increase in certified organic products from 41% to 45%.
|All Products||% Organic in 2007||% Organic in 2008||% Organic in 2009||% Organic in 2010||% Organic in 2011|
All categories of organic products grew as a percentage of total products except for the bulk category, even though bulk increased its organic offerings by 30%. This resulted from our closing our industrial business and placing a number of industrial items (25-pound box items) in the bulk category.
Frontier’s objective regarding packaging is to efficiently use only packaging and supplies that are 100% reclaimable and made with a high percentage of renewable materials.
Our packaging initiatives for 2011 were to develop a sustainable packaging standard, implement a database to track the sustainability of each packaging component, and develop and begin implementing a list of sustainable packaging improvements.
The sustainable packaging standard we developed guides us in every new package or packaging change we make. The standard addresses issues like recyclability of packaging, recycled content in packaging, and materials not allowed in our packages. See our complete Frontier Packaging Standards for detailed information.
Our most recent sustainability packaging improvements:
The one sustainable packaging improvement that we’ve worked the hardest and the longest at has still not found success. Our Frontier bulk package is made from a multi-layer material that cannot be recycled. We want to replace it with a bulk bag material that can be recycled in most communities. The challenge is finding a material strong enough to withstand the essential oils in our herbs and spices while keeping out light, air, and moisture. Most materials react with many of our botanicals and start to breakdown in storage. We haven’t given up and continue to make this packaging goal a high priority.
|WEIGH IN: Do you avoid buying products with too much packaging or with non-recyclable packaging?|
We practice full ingredient disclosure to demonstrate our commitment to product integrity.
We do not support genetically engineered crops and choose certified-organic crops
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.
© 2013 Frontier Natural Products Co-op. All rights reserved.