Pro Tip: To prevent ingredient supply chain interruptions, bakers should be aware of primary suppliers’ contingency plans and approve secondary suppliers who can step in when necessary.


The first step the procurement team must take to handle the threat of ingredient supplier interruption is to contact all current suppliers to determine what business contingency planning they have in place to maintain the supply chain.

After that, secondary suppliers of critical ingredients should be identified and put through the standard supplier approval process. This process must be completed, as taking shortcuts would increase the likelihood of a food safety consequence during a supply shortage.

The approval effort should include checking databases and other sources to determine if any of these ingredients are subject to food fraud.

 Food fraud that compromises food safety should be of primary concern. Any targeted ingredients should be subjected to appropriate testing for the known compromising agent.

Finally, for ingredients that are imported into the United States, it is required that the Foreign Supplier Verification Program be maintained. Ignoring this law is not an option.

Samples of the ingredient from a proposed secondary supplier should be procured for testing in small batches and in actual production. This will help ensure that the quality and food safety attributes of these ingredients meet the standards and performance levels identified in the specifications. 

Other backup plans could include the sharing of affected ingredients between sister locations to cover the needs for both sites until the compromised supply chain shortages are resolved. Sourcing specialty ingredients may best be resolved by converting production to core products with ingredients that are more easily sourced. 

Contingency planning and maintaining strict standards for suppliers should ensure that food safety and quality are not compromised during a supply chain interruption.

Peg Ray is the senior manager of product development and innovation at AIB International.