Consulting Services for Supermarkets/Grocery Stores

  • Overview
  • Benefits of Consulting
  • Why Work With NSF?

In the highly competitive and fast-paced supermarket, grocery store and convenience store businesses, it’s been said that your reputation is only as good as your last customer’s shopping trip. Our food safety experts offer consulting services with technical information and guidance to help ensure food safety as well as customer and regulatory satisfaction.

With nearly 70 years of food safety expertise and a deep understanding of the retail supermarket/grocery store industry, NSF is also your trusted resource for consulting and technical services on nearly every aspect of retail operations. We can assist with supply chain assurance, traceability, risk assessments, allergen management, crisis/recall assistance, complaint management and much more.

For more information, view all our consulting services under Benefits of Consulting or contact us at +1 877.893.1325 or restaurantinfo@nsf.org.

Benefits of Consulting

We offer the following consulting services for supermarkets and grocery stores:

  • HACCP Planning - Whether you need HACCP plan development, training or registration, NSF is your HACCP expert. We can assist you with general questions about hazard analysis, critical limits, operations limits, verification, validation, etc. If you have a working HACCP plan, we can help you add additional products or review your plan to evaluate its compliance with all current FDA requirements. We also customize HACCP services to meet your company’s requirements.

  • Traceability - NSF helps you accurately and efficiently gain full supply chain visibility. Increasingly complex food supply chains make traceability an equally complex challenge. We can establish the traceability of food products and ingredients at all stages of production, processing and distribution. We look at all the issues to enable quick and efficient traceback including recordkeeping and procedures, risk analysis and product handling.

  • Supply Chain Assurance – Whether you source your foods from local or global suppliers, we help you efficiently maintain supplier databases and products’ legal compliance. With the complexity of today’s food supply chains, it is increasingly difficult to manage supplier information and approvals. We can help efficiently maintain supplier databases to ensure the supply of safe and legally compliant products, from manufacturing to wholesale, storage and distribution, and retail delivery.

  • Risk Assessments – We help supermarket and grocery store operators assess their risks and recommend ways to minimize risk. With decades of food safety knowledge, NSF experts can guide food companies through the complex process of risk assessment. We provide many risk-based services to help protect your brand and your bottom line, including:

    • Science-based techniques to help you evaluate sector-, country- or product-specific risks
    • Assistance in creating risk profiles and risk modeling frameworks
    • Microbiological risk assessments and laboratory testing to support your risk analysis objectives

  • GFSI Pre-Cert Consulting – We help get your suppliers ready for Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) certification. As GFSI extends broader and deeper into the food supply chain, more food processors, packagers and storers/distributors are required to be GFSI certified. If your company needs assistance preparing for GFSI certification, we can facilitate gap analysis, training and operations assistance to get your facility GFSI-ready. If you are using small local vendors who are exempt from GFSI, we can assist in customizing an approval program that will give you confidence in your local providers’ food safety practices.

  • Complaint Management – We provide a systematic way to track and report customer complaints regarding quality or food safety issues, with the ultimate goal of brand protection. Complaint management is integral to overall brand protection, customer retention and effective supply chain management. We combine extensive knowledge of food safety and regulatory requirements with a team of sector-specific supply chain experts.

    Our services include tracking and trending of complaints and food safety risks, management reporting and facilitation of effective product withdrawal/recall, with the ultimate goal of brand protection and continuous service and supply chain enhancements.

  • Helpline – Our retail food safety and brand protection specialists are on call, day and night, to assist with compliance issues, accidents and food safety incidents. Our helpline provides on-call technical specialists to assist with client queries and concerns about compliance issues. It can also be used to log reports of accidents or food safety incidents. Our input can range from simple telephone advice to complex researched information and subsequent involvement in legal challenges. Every inquiry is documented in a dedicated, secure database to allow trend monitoring and analysis, quick reference for clients and statistical reporting.

  • Allergen Management – We offer a wide range of services to help prevent allergen contamination at the retail level. With food allergies and related regulations on the rise, food processors, retailers and restaurants must remain fiercely diligent regarding labeling, traceability and cross-contamination. Our team of allergen experts provides comprehensive risk assessments, allergen control and management, training, traceability and specification development services that provide practical, actionable results that prevent allergen issues and protect your brand.

  • Specification and Supplier Management System – In partnership with MICROS, we developed Portico, a specification and supplier management system for the foodservice and retail sectors. This Web-based system manages complete end-to-end services to help companies develop specifications; track suppliers, food safety reviews and regulatory approvals; and track products. Ultimately, it can help protect brands, manage supply chains and ensure robust, integrated product life cycle management processes are in place.

  • Maturity Model – Our proprietary diagnostic tool addresses the underlying causes of food safety failure. The tool enables companies to identify performance against various criteria, ultimately characterizing an organization against four “generations” of maturity using nine key factors including culture, training, policies, traceability, management and regulatory compliance.

    Used successfully by retail, restaurant, hospitality and manufacturing sectors of the food industry for many years, the Maturity Model outputs provide a clear gap analysis and road map of customized actions to meet your specific business requirements or objectives.

  • Behavior-Based Compliance – Our system provides an in-depth understanding of employees’ food safety practices, and guidance to improve them through cultural and attitudinal shifts. To ensure safe food, proper food safety practices must be implemented at every step of the process. Responsible companies develop comprehensive food safety policies, training and tests, but there are no guarantees that learned practices will be consistently executed on the job. Workplace psychologists have established that two of the most important factors are management culture and the attitudes and aptitudes of individual team members. Only by changing behaviors and embedding safe practices within organizational culture can businesses succeed.

    NSF’s proprietary behavior-based compliance service assesses workers’ food safety knowledge and confidence in their knowledge, and develops appropriate interventions and motivational tools to hardwire compliance in your company’s culture.

  • Crisis Management – We help you quickly, accurately and professionally manage crisis situations while keeping your reputation intact. Companies never want to confront a food contamination, illness or recall incident associated with their product. In these critical times it is imperative to have formalized crisis plans in place. We provide many services to help weather the crisis in the most responsible manner for all parties involved.

    We can partner with you throughout each phase of a crisis, from developing crisis plans to performing qualitative and quantitative risk analyses and risk modeling, to creating product recall plans, leading mock recalls and providing laboratory testing services. Depending on the industry sector, we can also supply expert witness services.

  • Occupational Health and Safety – We offer you customized occupational health and safety (OSHA) consulting and audits for the retail industry. Our experts work closely with clients to help ensure their programs satisfy regulatory requirements as well as internal expectations. The NSF audit team evaluates compliance to establish health and safety standards related to employee work behaviors, environmental risk factors and OSHA recordkeeping.

    Our audit services provide informative data related to the compliance level of each unit in health and safety training programs, based on client expectations, and ultimately reduce costs. Our team identifies workplace safety hazards and provides root cause analysis to laser-focus improvement efforts for maximum impact.

    Our customized approach can include OSHA recordkeeping verification and other client-specific injury related documents. We can also collaborate with clients to build a comprehensive program to evaluate compliance, enhance brand protection and drive continuous improvement of the company’s overall safety program.

  • Risk Management – We provide comprehensive risk management solutions to identify potential risk and prepare clients for the rigors of regulatory oversight. From regulatory compliance to operational excellence to shrink management, we offer cost control and brand protection programs. Our experts provide client-specific consulting and auditing services in price integrity, operational compliance, loss prevention, etc.

    Our services offer risk protection in challenging operational and regulatory environments. We help assure your programs are properly implemented by evaluating the effectiveness of established processes and behavioral and recordkeeping controls.

Why Work With NSF?

Backed by industry experience and expertise, NSF consultants help you understand and comply with food safety regulatory requirements to protect and enhance your brand. We specialize in understanding your business and objectives, and employ best practices and industry expertise to develop practical and relevant solutions that give you a competitive advantage.

Our team consists of both experienced food safety professionals and experts in key supply chain sectors, particularly retail supermarkets and grocery store operations. These specialists understand the federal and state regulations and standards around retail food, and make sure you comply with relevant safety and quality requirements.

NSF’s reputation enables us to recruit and maintain a team of talented industry professionals. With excellent staff loyalty and low turnover, we maintain exceptional continuity of service in key areas.

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  • The quality of NSF food safety audits is unparalleled. Expert reviewers analyze the issue, identify its cause and help us address and fix it. Our operators now provide safer food to travelers as a direct result of NSF’s educational-based reviews.Sheila Bliss, HMSHost

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