Quality and Food Safety

Mars Associates in Belgium checking quality of Uncle Ben's rice
Associates check quality of rice in Belgium

Quality is the first of the Five Principles of Mars, Incorporated and is the basis of the brand loyalty and consumer trust that has made Mars the company it is today.

We are a private, family-owned manufacturing business and pride ourselves on making the vast majority of our branded products ourselves. We occasionally use external manufacturing partners, who are carefully selected to ensure that they meet our stringent quality and food safety requirements and the terms of our Supplier Code of Conduct.

Our Quality Management Process (QMP) framework is our comprehensive program to ensure we consistently deliver high-quality and safe products. It is focused on the prevention of issues by applying robust standards that prescribe how we make safe and high-quality food. In exceptional cases, things can go wrong and products can reach the market that do not meet our quality and food safety standards. On these occasions, we do not hesitate to put our consumers first and recall the product. We use what we learn from each recall to improve our capabilities. Our goal is zero consumer recalls.

To deliver high-quality and safe products we specify and procure high-quality ingredients and packaging. Our rigorous Material Quality Management Standard ensures we manage these critical business processes consistently. We strive to continually improve our approach, and ensure that doing business with Mars creates mutual benefits for suppliers. Our approach is to build long-lasting collaborative relationships with a small number of suppliers. Our Material Quality Management Standard guides us to ensure integrity throughout the whole supply chain, including through audits of second and third tier suppliers (the companies supplying our suppliers). This can mean that Mars is actively involved in supplier quality assurance at the origin of many key agricultural ingredients, such as cocoa, rice and tomatoes.

Our Partnership with LRQA

In 2007, we began a partnership with the internationally recognized, expert auditing company, Lloyds Register Quality Assurance (LRQA).

“The principles underpinning the LRQA audit program have been designed to thoroughly assess the Mars QMP while supporting its continuous improvement. Importantly, this is a thorough process and system-based audit and it is certainly not a superficial checklist style inspection.”
Andrew Smith,
President, LRQA

LRQA undertakes an annual external audit of our factories and business units to support our internal auditing process. These are very comprehensive audits, typically lasting three to four days. They assess our facilities against our demanding internal QMP framework of quality and food safety standards, which encompass the requirements of international standards, including ISO 9000 (quality), FSSC 22000 (food safety), the British Retail Consortium Global Standards, and the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point food safety system.

If a plant passes each element of the assessment we consider it compliant. If not, the results allow us to assess what action is needed for the site to achieve compliance, and how long this will take. In addition to highlighting non-compliances, the audits identify best practices which can be shared throughout Mars.

Since embarking on this approach in 2008, we have demonstrated a great improvement in the effectiveness of our QMP. To ensure continued success, we are extending our audit program to encompass all our markets, global business segments and corporate activities. This will help to drive further strategic quality and food safety improvements across Mars. We are also helping sites and business units to focus on key performance improvement opportunities and achieve excellence.

Embedding quality and food safety

Maintaining the very highest quality and food safety at all times across all areas of the business is demanding, and doing that consistently around the world is even more challenging.

By integrating our quality and food safety processes into each of our key business IT systems, we are providing consistent support so all our Associates can follow our standards.

This means embedding statistical analysis and risk-based systems into our specification systems; supplier qualification and assurance into our buying systems; traceability through our manufacturing and distribution chain; and consumer and customer feedback into our customer relationship management systems. Our goal: that the voice of every customer and consumer be heard by the Associates who can make the improvements necessary for long-term satisfaction. By integrating quality and food safety into all of our systems, we are enabling Associates to do a consistently effective and high-quality job.

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