Food Safety & Quality (FSQ)
We have a culture of food safety. Flowers Foods and its subsidiaries are committed to producing bakery foods that comply with all applicable regulatory requirements and standards, and meeting customer and consumer expectations for consistency, quality, and authenticity.
We take a systematic approach. Our 46 bakeries across the United States employ comprehensive food safety plans, rigorous training programs, and robust auditing practices.
We go above and beyond. In addition to regular inspections by local, state, and industry agencies, we conduct our own internal auditing.
Our comprehensive food safety management program is designed to protect our consumers from harmful food handling practices and prevent potential foodborne illness outbreaks. This program is governed by a science-based risk assessment and preventive control system for potential food safety hazards in our operations.
Some of our best practices include ongoing monitoring and verification procedures, corrective actions, a risk-based supply chain program for receiving facilities, and robust recordkeeping and documentation.
In 2022, we observed National Food Safety Education Month companywide by hosting a series of eight food safety and quality webinars for computer-based team members that covered such topics as the difference between food safety and quality; food safety culture; understanding labels; and supplier quality. For our bakery teams, educational topics were displayed on break-room video screens and quizzes challenged employees to test their food safety knowledge.
Our FSQ team members receive the required training to achieve and maintain appropriate certifications. A quarterly training process to facilitate these certifications is also open to other interested Flowers employees as space allows. In addition, Flowers has developed a twelve-month Quality and Food Safety training plan for all bakery team members, the results of which are tracked and regularly reported to leadership.
All Flowers bakeries are Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certified, which requires a full third-party review of our food safety plans and quality systems annually.
We conduct comprehensive evaluations of product safety and quality parameters throughout the production process, including finished product evaluations and shelf-life tests. In addition, internal audits conducted by a third party specifically search for opportunities to improve food safety and quality.
Mislabeling is the leading cause of food recalls, so it’s important to us that our labels are clear, transparent, and accurate, and that consumers understand what is contained in our products. We adhere to all federal requirements for labeling, and we regularly revise our labels to stay up to date with the most current guidelines.
In 2022, we began proactively adding additional allergen statements to our packaging to make it even easier for consumers to identify certain ingredients that may cause sensitivities or intolerances. This labeling update is ongoing in 2023.
It is estimated that more than one million Americans are allergic to sesame, and in 2021, the Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research (FASTER) Act named sesame as the ninth major food allergen recognized in the United States.
For the better part of 2022, a large cross-functional team of Flowers employees – including research and development, regulatory, quality assurance, supply chain, packaging procurement, ingredient procurement, bakeries, sales, marketing, legal, consumer relations, and communications – undertook the massive, yet necessary, effort to ensure every product baked by Flowers is compliant with the new law.
155 formulas with 622 different packaging components were impacted by this change and required an updated ingredient legend and revised packaging.
Flowers Foods upholds quality and food safety requirements for suppliers as part of our Supplier Code of Conduct. Our bakeries maintain audit records for the quality and safety of suppliers’ raw materials and packaging as part of their GFSI certification.
In addition, we uphold commitments to sustainable palm oil and animal welfare, which are overseen by our Chief Procurement Officer.
Since 2018, Flowers’ bakeries have maintained Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Supply Chain Certification, building upon our pledge to source 100% RSPO-certified palm oil for all cake products. Our cake bakeries are audited every five years to ensure ongoing compliance.
Flowers Foods values the humane treatment of animals. The majority of our ingredients are plant-based. A limited number of Flowers products contain eggs. We seek to source shell egg supply that is certified and compliant with United Egg Producers’ Animal Husbandry Guidelines (or an equivalent standard for conventional housing), and consistent with the Five Freedoms of animal welfare: 1) freedom from hunger and thirst; 2) freedom from discomfort; 3) freedom from pain, injury or disease; 4) freedom to express normal behaviors; and 5) freedom from fear and distress.
Health, Nutrition & Wellness
Flowers stays up-to-date on consumers’ dietary requirements and preferences and continually seeks new formulas and products to meet their needs.
Our products include “better-for-you” selections and sweet treats for consumers who like to balance healthy and indulgent options.
An Array of Options
In 2022, gluten-free and organic products made up 2.8% and 14.9% of sales dollars respectively.
For more than 100 years, Flowers Foods has offered consumers a wide selection of delicious breads, buns, bars, and snack cakes that meet various dietary needs, preferences, and lifestyles.
All our number one selling national brands – Dave’s Killer Bread®, Nature’s Own®, and Canyon Bakehouse® – are made with no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors, and no high fructose corn syrup.
Additionally, many of our products offer one or more of the following characteristics:
- Certified gluten free
- Keto/low carb
- Non-GMO project verified
- Sugar free
- USDA Organic
- 100% whole grain
We offer a variety of product sizes – single-serve snacks, thin-sliced bread, and smaller-sized loaves, in addition to family-sized packaging – to offer flexibility in serving size and consumption.
Wheat, the main ingredient in our bakery foods, comes from non-GMO crops.
Our Dave’s Killer Bread and Nature’s Own Perfectly Crafted® products are Non-GMO Project Verified. Our Henderson, Nevada, bakery was updated in 2022 to add a new non-GMO, certified organic line that produces DKB. Non-GMO bakery foods carry the Non-GMO Project butterfly logo on the package.
We produce other bakery foods that do contain minor ingredients derived from genetically modified crops, such as soy, corn, sugar beets, and cottonseed. These products are labeled in compliance with USDA bioengineered (BE) disclosure requirements.
In 2022, Flowers Foods invested in Base Culture, a brand offering better-for-you, gluten-free and grain-free sliced breads and baked goods.
Base Culture founder and CEO Jordann Windschauer created the company after struggling to find all-natural, delicious snacks that aligned with a Paleo lifestyle. In 2012, she started making her own products at home and, just five years later, opened Base Culture’s own manufacturing facility in Clearwater, Florida. Today, Base Culture products are available in roughly 7,000 retail locations nationwide as well as online.
Base Culture offers products that are 100% paleo-certified, gluten-free, grain-free, kosher-certified, dairy-free, soy-free, and non-GMO verified.
In 2021, Flowers established its Agile Innovation Team to develop and commercialize unique products in new categories. The first creation from this team was DKB Organic Snack Bars, which hit the market in 2022. By the end of 2023, they will be available at more than 13,000 stores from coast to coast.
These efforts complement the ongoing work from Flowers’ R&D team, based out of our Innovation Center in Thomasville, Ga., which is consistently cooking up new flavors and testing new ingredients for our core product categories.
In 2022, the team launched a website, creationsbyflowersfoods.com, to conduct real-world consumer research on our newest creations.
Dave’s Killer Bread Epic Everything Organic Breakfast Bread was added to the DKB portfolio. More than 150 testers named it the best bread in People magazine’s 2022 Food Awards.
Nature’s Own Perfectly Crafted Sourdough, made from sourdough starter with an unmistakable soft texture, became available in the West Coast, South Central and mid-Atlantic regions.
Canyon Bakehouse Brioche-Style Sweet Rolls joined the Flowers family in May and Hawaiian Rolls followed later in 2022. Free from gluten, dairy, soy, and nuts, and made with 100% whole grain, they are a great addition to any meal.
Nature’s Own Hawaiian is a soft-baked, fruit-forward loaf that became available nationwide.