Yoplait China, a brand of General Mills, achieved NF V01 005 certification in August 2017. In a country where dairy consumption is still a sensitive market, such a standard is a must-have and a way to make a solid difference. Perry Li, Dairy Manager of Supply chain, explains.
Why did Yoplait choose to be NF V01 005 certified?
NF V01 005 is a very rigorous standard. Not only does it focus on the delivery of finished products, but also and particularly on the management of the whole production process. Yogurt is mainly made from raw milk. Yet dairy consumption in China is very sensitive and specific. Also, Yoplait is a new brand in this country. Therefore we are happy to have achieved such certification of the whole supply chain, because it’s a big step towards putting trustworthy products on the market. Thanks to this standard, we are confident we can win more consumers and help make Yoplait grow rapidly in China.
How did the company get ready for the certification?
The audit started in 2015. We came across some difficulties right from the start, because we did not fully understand the documents and the certification system, that is farm management and consumer insights. Fortunately, I was able to take part in a professional training session at Yoplait in France. There I was assisted by some French colleagues who have strong expertise in NF V01 005 certification. Back home, we made some changes and adjustments in order to match all the requirements of this certification. It was really worth it because in the end, it enhanced our confidence in the quality of the delivered goods. Everybody was and still is very enthusiastic about the whole process!
What’s changed since the certification process started?
I would like to emphasize that we have great confidence in the supply of raw milk and its production process. We know dairy farms will respect all of the audit’s requirements regarding the purchase of raw material, the production process and transportation in accordance with the standards of the audit. And our plant will also respect all the items and requirements regarding the reception of milk.
What is the certification’s added value for Yoplait? Does it help the company improve its expertise?
For us, the biggest impact is that most of the raw material is now safe. There’s no doubt this has helped increase the market’s trust in Yoplait China. The consumers choose to buy our products because they mean security and trust. We’re looking forward to getting to know the certification better, and at the same time, we hope that we can level up our business on the market, increase the confidence and the appreciation of the consumers, and improve our knowledge of AFNOR’s world.
Has being certified already made a difference?
Our competitors are also certified, but they are more focused on the manufacturing process and the quality control of the products. However they do not take into account the management of the entire supply chain. I think this is the biggest difference with us, which is also an advantage. That’s why we are looking forward to letting the market and the consumers know that we are through with the certification, that our supply chain of raw milk is reliable and safe, and that we focus on the management of the entire chain.
What new improvements does the company plan for the future?
The company’s management team is aware of the importance of this certification and of the fact that the supply of raw milk in China is a very special and sensitive issue. We are very careful and will stay focused on doing everything properly. We are also looking forward to getting additional help from AFNOR so that we can fully understand and implement the whole process.