Egersund Seafood is a network of Norwegian fish shops and restaurants, as well as a manufacturer of gastronomic food, salads, and semi-finished food products in Ukraine. The company is famous for its high-quality products and innovative approach in the business organization. In 2019, Egersund Seafood became one of the first companies in Ukraine to implement a digital HACCP plan, and it happened because of the cooperation with Estonian IT company FoodDocs.
What makes Egersund Seafood unique is that fish and seafood are delivered to the warehouse without any liaison. This means that quality control is carried out throughout the whole supply chain: starting from the catch, food processing, and transportation finishing with the actual sale to the final customer. At this stage, the company owes three shops and two restaurants in Kyiv, and the company is growing every day. They will be opening a new store and launching a restaurant with a cool design concept: white iceberg, a wide range of dishes, exceptional service, and most importantly - the quality of fish and fish products make Egersund Seafood stand out in the Ukrainian market.
FoodDocs: virtual consultant for food safety control
Egersund Seafood is active on the market since 2014. Within five years of operation, they have established logistics and quality control for different stages of international shipping, including raw material storage in warehouses and product manufacturing. "We did not have FoodDocs back then, yet we understood the principles of quality control. FoodDocs was a huge relief to us all," admits Maksim Slipenko, Head of Production and Chief Food Technologist at Egersund Seafood. According to him, the FoodDocs software provided an all-round explanation of the HACCP plan and its requirements. "Before, when we talked to other food safety specialists they seemed to define HACCP principles and critical points very differently. However, FoodDocs digital plan has simplified our work: it already contains essential information that is reliable and meets European food safety standards," he emphasizes.
Digital HACCP plan implementation
According to Ukrainian law, starting from September 20, 2019, the HACCP plan became mandatory for all food operators. Egersund Seafood decided to implement the HACCP plan by hiring a contractor. "We received several commercial proposals, had a conversation with all of them, and unanimously decided to pick the European company," Slipenko said.
In his opinion, it is not difficult to understand the FoodDocs’ dashboard, the software is intuitive. However, to create a flow diagram for the HACCP plan - is a difficult task. "You need to be a food technologist and have a good understanding of the production processes in order to correctly mark control and critical points. In Egersund, I’m in charge of this task," said Maksim Slipenko.
The implementation of the HACCP plan was carried out in stages. When the company had just launched its production of fish gourmet products, the chief technologist Maxim Slipenko began to create a flow diagram of all processes. "When we were making smoked fish, I controlled the quality of chips and the availability of certificates. When we were salting the caviar, I controlled the temperature of the production hall, the time of salting, and the percentage of salt mix. I introduced the temperature protocols for refrigeration chambers, raw materials’ shelf-life monitoring sheets, and food hygiene standards," he says. By the time the company switched to digital HACCP, all necessary documents were ready. "It took us two weeks to implement the digital FoodDocs plan: we filled out all needed fields in the software through a video call with a FoodDocs rep. Then, I scanned and uploaded all the contracts and flow charts, set up monitoring sheets, trained a colleague who is responsible for quality control. And then, the digital system was launched," he recalls.
Cooperation with FoodDocs and results
Because of FoodDocs, it has become convenient to maintain the HACCP plan: the program itself asks for the temperature parameters of the equipment (food core thermometers, hygrometers, cold rooms). Filling in the monitoring sheets via the FoodDocs mobile app saves a lot of time. In the case of external audits, the company just needs to log into its FoodDocs account, download the plan, sign it, and report is ready. "FoodDocs helped to systematize all stages of food safety control," said Slipenko. "For us, FoodDocs is a step forward. In April 2020, we conducted an annual audit which showed that the safety of our food products is 100%. We are pleased with the results of our cooperation with FoodDocs and recommend the platform to other food businesses," summed up Maxim Slipenko, Head of Production and Chief Food Technologist at Egersund Seafood.
According to the latest data, about 3000 companies from 97 countries are using FoodDocs digital platform to control food safety. Today, FoodDocs is available in five languages: English, Estonian, Ukrainian, German, and Russian. FoodDocs enables continuous food safety monitoring of any number of stores and/or restaurants within a single chain. The digital HACCP plan by FoodDocs meets the requirements of the European Union regulations.