How to Choose an Oil Supplier?
What could be the essential considerations when choosing the best supplier of oil for frying, cooking, baking, drizzling - aside from the Price!
Question 1: The suppliers pricing - cheap oils cost more over 30-365 days?
Note: Out of 100 procurement officers there are only 5 that can actually determine correctly the cost of an oil for a kitchen or food service group.
The simplest example is – why is the cost of a $200 tin more expensive than a $500 tin.
By testing the $200 tin, we found it only lasted safely, producing good quality food in the fryer for 10 hours (1 day) in a busy kitchen.
Whereas the $500 oil, made fabulous food safely in the fryer for 100 hours.
Hence for 30 days the $200 oil cost $6,000 and the $500 oil cost you $1,500 over 30 days.
The oils that rich in saturated, polyunsaturated fats & all the partially hydrogenated are being sold at very low prices as the market moves away from using them - e.g. palm, soybean, rapeseed, sunflower, corn, re-refined oils and any combination of these oils. The market calls them vegetable oils.
While the non-genetically modified oils that rich in monounsaturated fats (Omega 9) and particularly Oleic Acid (60% for Enjoi Canola, 84%+ for Enjoi High Oleic Sunflower) have a fry life from 2 x for canola and 4-5 x for Enjoi High Oleic Sunflower than the short fry lives of the current oils sold an used in busy Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau and China kitchens.
The price of an oil does not tell your total expenses for oil over 30+ days. The cost of one container/ tin is totally false. What is important is the measurement of the oils health & safety making healthy & safe foods. So the fry life of the oil - 1 day in a busy kitchen or 2 to 3 days for unsafe oils in slow kitchens OR otherwise 7-12 for the best oils in professionally managed kitchens producing healthy safe food over 30 days or 365 days.
Ask Enjoi for a cost comparison table by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org
Question 2: HOW GOOD IS THE SUPPLIER’S CERTIFICATION?
Please note the majority current certificates issued rarely will provide or should be relied upon to assure the buyer that the oil will not contribute to making a food unsafe. The variation in the certificate content raises the concern for reliability to the users.
The FEHD has told us – “that simple act of accepting certificates is insufficient”.
A receiver of certificates has not completed their acts of responsibility by simply attaching the certificate of unknown value or content to their records.
In fact they must make sure the certificates show clearly they meet the Hong Kong Standards as well as the Food Safety Standards for quality.
Unfortunately certificates are not always reliable as they can be recreated & amended.
Likewise the traceability and the security of the place the oil is refilled into tins or tubs from the commercial tanks holding the oil after it is refined & made is also a major concern.
Unfortunately Hong Kong, Macau, China & Taiwan have a lot of re-packers and they are always seeking to improve their margins and compete against other suppliers. To compete they cut corners and seek to reduce the actual cost of the delivered oil by adding lower cost oils.
Solution: Enjoi provides a table to help you understand how to read the certificates.
Most certificates or labels are not reliable as they change the quantity of a serve or otherwise the chemistry of an oil can be written to confuse anyone!!
The integrity, traceability and accuracy of the certificate as well as the timing of the chemical analysis are terribly important.
Question 3: HOW SAFE & HYGIENIC IS THE SUPPLIER’S STORAGE CONDITIONS?
The oils Health continually Change: Storage conditions are terribly important.
So if a supplier cannot meet them you are paying too much.
Temperature controlled < 25°C
Minimum air circulation
Darkness is preferable
Image adapted from Bloomberg
Most oils are not stored or transported for long lengths of time in suitable temperature controlled containers. Hence the value of the oil drops dramatically in transit as it changes its chemistry & physical properties (colour, thickness & smell).
Likewise if the Distributer's storage or retail shelf conditions are not ideal (as it is in 99% of the cases) then the oil will decompose earlier than its shelf life.
Question 4: CAN YOU RELY ON THE SUPPLIER’S LABEL, PRINTED DOCUMENTATION & WEBSITE?
Please note that story / “old wives’ tale” that a label is good for every day you look at it - is 100% very wrong. Once you take a meat, cheese, vegetables or a banana out of the freezer, these foods will start to cook if you live in a hot and humid country where the daily temperature range can be 20°C. The banana sitting on most kitchen benches can be seen cooking (changing its chemistry) as it goes from dark green to light yellow, darker yellow, yellow with brown spots to brown. Brown bananas are very unhealthy.
Likewise all oils will change their health & safety levels as they leave the refinery, are stored in unhealthy, dirty storerooms or distribution areas where there is plenty of light, humidity, high & low temperatures that allow the oil to cook slowly - just like the banana.
Since the label is not a good indicator. The next level of information that can support your decision making & evaluation procedures is to know more about your suppliers strengths - knowledge, testing systems, servicing & track record.
A portion of the data required to qualify the oil should be found on websites & published databases. If the information is general information and not specific then the value of this information to protect you from qualifying your code of ethics, food safety, HACCP, & ISO programs to FEHD, your shareholders and the consumer is almost worthless.
Very few suppliers can qualify the oil and it truly comes down to their willingness to share educational material and service the customers on site. In China there is www.Okoer.cn that proved in July 2015 that the top 6 extra virgin olive oils imported were not reaching the standards and in December 2015 the CFDA stopped them being sold and CIQ stopped their importation.
Question 5: WHO CAN YOU TRUST TO TEST THE OIL BEFORE PURCHASE & DURING USE?
Enjoi can only introduce local labs to you. We cannot be seen to be influencing the testers – analysis of the oil just before it gets to you. Hence this Hong Kong certificate will be showing the oils chemistry after it has arrived in Hong Kong and just before it is delivered to the customer is in effect protecting you from disciplinary actions from the FEHD.
Should this expense be too great then we can help by supplying for HK$4,800 (market value $8,000) a HACCP approved tester which will measure the total decay or breakdown of the oil (total Polar Compounds – TPC) from its original state. 99.99% of the time every oil tested shows a reading of 3-5 times the TPC result for Enjoi Oil. So if you buy an oil for $150 and the reading is 4 then you have paid $150 x4 = $600 which is more than the cost of Enjoi’s oil.
Aside from the many kitchen issues you executive chefs are faced with.
Users of oil & sellers of oil must instruct 3rd party responsible advisers to complete the standard & quality tests in recognized laboratories.
SO WHAT SHOULD BE THE BUYER’S SOLUTION?
You cannot loose on cash flow and on following a pathway, which can help increase sales.
All you have to do is exchange the actual information of your annual expenditure of oil. Enjoi shall match that expenditure and guarantee a 70/30 split on the savings. Enjoi will take 30% of the savings for 3 months to cover monitoring and teaching expenses.
Enjoi’s guarantee can come with a deposit of oil. Enjoi after reviewing the existing equipment, menu, staffing and accounts will either say no thanks or guarantee a 20% or higher savings on costs including fixed & variable overheads.
We have already proven this in 50 kitchens – which all face equipment & staff issues.
The conditions of this agreement are simple.
The staff clean each night 100% the fryers - they should be doing this now.
Secondly each night they pour the oil through a filtering system into a soup pot instead of into a tin for waste collection.
Again the costs & risks of doing this are very low. Enjoi will teach every outlet on how to manage the use of the oil as well provide documentation that the kitchen is meeting all the HACCP regulations as far as their oil use is concerned.
So what do you have to lose?
I am looking forward to your timely response & invitation to meet.
Director of Enjoi Ltd.