How Elior delivers accurate, legislatively compliant allergen labelling across 200+ sites
This February, leading contract caterer Elior began the roll out of our ground breaking LabelLogic Live food and allergen labelling software to more than 200 of its UK sites. We also developed an additional bespoke programme especially for Elior that enables LabelLogic Live to pull data directly from Elior’s menu management software – Fourth’s Recipe and Menu Engineering (RME) - to deliver an instant, accurate, compliant solution for data end to end. Below Elior’s RME product manager Ian Smith, talks us through the roll out of LabelLogic Live within Elior and the impact it’s had on the business.
I’ve been with Elior for 19 years and have grown my career within the business. I started out as a site based chef, moved into marketing, creating new recipes as part of the development team then systems management eleven years ago where I first got involved as a RME product manager. I’m responsible for menu management systems which means that I oversee all of the menu data across the wider business - the systems that ensure everything is standardised, modular and ticking over just as they should. Allergens form a big part of this: ensuring that our allergen data (along with all of our other menu data) is present, correct and always up to date across our entire supply chain.
Elior, and the many business’ that fall under the Elior brand, are based in a wide variety of settings: healthcare, B&I, education, retail, sports and leisure environments, you name it and we’re there. Our ethos is ‘the whole experience matters’ because our customer's experience is everything and this is one of the many reasons that good menu management is so essential to our business as it ensures accuracy, consistency and accountability in all that we do.
We’d been using Fourth’s RME and Ten Kites software for several years. RME is our back of house engineering platform for menu planning and recipe creation, it holds all our allergen and nutritional data. Ten Kites is then a front of house product which pulls data in from RME then publishes and displays it to our customers. Introducing LabelLogic Live into the mix has meant that we can take all of that information and apply it to labelling as well. So we take a set of ingredients, turn them into a recipe, test, trial, cook, create the labelling, monitor sales then analyse every part of that process from start to finish.
Thanks to the open architecture of the Fourth Platform, Planglow were able to develop an API (Application Programming Interface - a standardised language that enables programs to communicate with one another) to take our recipe and ingredients data from Fourth and turn this into product labelling. This minimises human interaction with the data taking any human margin for error out of the equation so from source to customer our data flows are sleek, automated and void of human interference.
LabelLogic Live saves us an unbelievable amount of time. We use around 36,000 ingredients at Elior which encompasses 26 allergen attributes as well as reference intakes which, in turn, pull in around another ten pieces of data. Inputting that manually and matching the correct data to the right labelling field takes a tremendous amount of time - not to mention a meticulous attention to detail - but with LabelLogic Live this happens automatically. What’s more, we can refresh that data daily and accurately in a matter of minutes - 1300 lines of data in 15 minutes to be precise!
We were already using Planglow’s previous labelling software LabelLogic when Neil Steadman - Planglow's corporate account director - came to us and said he had a better solution. As soon as we’d seen what LabelLogic Live could do it was a no brainer. The API was then developed especially for us to work around everything we already had in place.
To roll out the software, Planglow’s account managers have been going into our regional offices, showing people how it works and getting them signed up. More than 200 sites are now using LabelLogic Live and because it’s so easy to use, the transition’s been very simple.
While we manage and control all our menu data centrally, LabelLogic Live allows us to set permissions that accommodate regional or even site-specific differences so our chefs can for example, create a bespoke product or a regional price difference. The software is always in line with legislation too so, let’s say the list of allergens expanded, we’d be able to update all of our labelling, shelf edge cards and menus immediately. The real beauty of it is, it doesn’t matter which label is selected either (we use dozens across the wider business depending on the division or brand), LabelLogic Live has streamlined the entire process delivering accurate, consistent labelling across the board, the end user simply selects the label or labels for them.
The Planglow team are really easy to work with, nothing is ever too much trouble. The online chat function that comes with the software has been brilliant as well - not only in terms of providing instant support for our sites but I’ve often used this to ask the team quick questions along the way. I’m not really a technical person so while I oversee a variety of systems, join them together and make sure they work, the LabelLogic Live API has made that an altogether cleaner, easier and far sleeker process without me getting involved in the more technical side.
In addition to further automating our data process in general, LabelLogic Live has helped us to meet a company wide goal of moving more of our data over to a cloud-based system. Planglow turned the integration around very quickly too - around four weeks - it’s simply been a very smooth process from start to finish.