If you’re a fan of the delicious range of kencko flavors and products available to you, then you have our fantastic research and development team to thank. Go ahead and send a shoutout to our incredible registered dietitians if you not only enjoy how kencko tastes, but you’ve also enjoyed the nutritional benefits that come with it. (And I don’t need to tell you that as you read this remarkable blog post, you have me, our copywriter, to give props to.)
But the work these folks do wouldn’t be possible – heck, the work every single person at kencko does wouldn’t be possible – without the tireless efforts of our quality assurance team to keep our products safe for you, our members.
At a high level, the QA team is involved in almost every step from ingredient sourcing and approval to checking in with members to confirm their happiness with the final result.
QA is tasked with ensuring that our product looks excellent, complies with every legal requirement across the various regions we serve, and is safe for consumption. If you thought the intro was a bit much, here’s a non-comprehensive list of the essential checks the QA team performs. It’s not hyperbole!
Ensure that all ingredients included in our recipes comply with HACCP (hazard analysis and critical control points) regulations and various organic certification requirements;
Perform regular audits at our facilities to make sure we follow all food safety standards;
Oversee the kencko training program that ensures our production and fulfillment teams are continuously up-to-date on food safety best practices;
Work closely with our suppliers to guarantee that all our ingredients are in of the highest quality;
Keep tabs on member needs, suggestions, and recommendations about quality;
Support other teams in establishing their processes and procedures that ensure unmatched quality and safety;
Strive to constantly improve the quality of our products.
Ah, a stickler for the specifics, huh? Read on.
Before our ingredients even arrive at our warehouses, QA is hard at work evaluating them. During the stages in which our fruits and veggies are grown, dried, mixed, and transported, QA is busy conducting:
Document reviews of things like organic certifications and food safety certificates
Regular quality and food safety meetings with suppliers that process and mix ingredients for us
Supplier audits, both in-person and remotely
Verification of the ingredients against their specifications
Random analyses of ingredients and final product for pesticides, heavy metals, microbes, and mycotoxins to ensure that our product meets the highest safety standards
Once sourced ingredients arrive at kencko’s HQ, there are still plenty of essential steps to go through before your smoothies, bowls, and gumdrops are safely shipped out to you! And there are acronyms to be remembered… lots and lots of acronyms.
Regular GMP (good manufacturing practices) audits of:
All operational facilities – any place where our product will be handled
Our storage warehouse
Our packing facilities
Regular meetings with co-packers, plus packing and fulfillment teams
Regular analyses of food handlers’ hands, water, and surfaces for microbiological contaminants via ATP (adenosine triphosphate) testing
Regular training of food handlers on things like food safety, HACCP, quality control, microbiology, sanitizing plans, and batch coding systems
The QA team’s work is never done. That’s because even while your box of kencko goodies leaves our HQ, ships to your door and gets into your hands, they’re still thinking about it every step of the way. They’re responsible for:
Sampling every batch of product to check quality
Regular analyses of the final product at the micro and allergen levels
Reserving samples from each production and testing them over time to check the shelf life
Visiting external warehouses for spot checks
Control tests on the traceability of our products
Checking in with our member experience team to help them with any member queries or issues pertaining to quality
If this list of responsibilities is making your head spin, you aren’t alone. This copywriter is floored by the amount of absolutely essential work the members of this small but mighty team perform.
And when asked what the hardest part of the job is, they had this to offer: “Constantly staying up to date, and ensuring that all the different requirements (including legal, regulatory, market specific and members’ needs) are met!” So basically the whole job? Got it! And thank you for all you do!