It’s one thing to read an ingredients label and know that a product contains sorghum.
It’s quite another to be able to meet the farmer who grew that sorghum with a few quick clicks. And when consumers eat Quinn pretzels, that’s an opportunity they get.
In an era where consumers are demanding more information about their food products, Quinn’s unique “farm to bag” traceability provides all that a curious consumer might want and more. Its popcorns and pretzels all have batch numbers on the package. Plugging that number into the brand’s website takes the user to a detailed listing telling not only what the ingredients are, but where they are from, how they were grown, harvested and collected, and why they are included.
“One of the core tenets from the beginning for Quinn was this idea of transparency, and it remains one of the core values of the brand today in really everything we do,” Quinn Snacks Vice President of Marketing Chris Murphy told Food Dive. “From the beginning, consumers were able to find exactly where all the ingredients” came from.
Murphy said this stems from the beginnings of the snacks company, which started when founder and CEO Kristy Homes-Lewis was trying to find more nutritious things to feed to her son. In-depth research and thoughtful sourcing led to the clean label products from Quinn. And since such care had gone into finding those ingredients, the company wanted to be truly transparent. Murphy said transparency is at the core of everything Quinn does as a brand.
While other brands may be able to provide general information about a product and its origins, Quinn’s information is extremely detailed. The company says the information is “three layers deep” — the name of farm and farmers, the location of the farm and an overview of their practices.
This information isn’t always easy to get, Murphy said. It involves a deep dive into everything that a supplier does. That includes suppliers from overseas, like organic carrots grown in China, as well as ingredients like palm oil that have proven troublesome for other manufacturers in terms of their environmental and human rights impacts. Some of the suppliers who work with Quinn also work with larger manufacturers, but are not required to provide them with quite so much information.
“To my knowledge, I don’t think anyone’s walked away,” he said. “What it comes down to is educating them. ...Normally, we can overcome that pretty quickly with just a conversation about what we’re hoping to accomplish.”
The information is available on the Farm-to-Bag section of the company’s website. With the batch number, stamped on every bag of Quinn pretzels and every box of Quinn popcorn, consumers can see exactly what went into the snack they hold in their hands. If a consumer doesn’t have a snack, the site offers information about all of Quinn’s ingredients and their suppliers.
Most consumers and other food companies are intrigued by Quinn’s deep dive into transparency. The Farm-to-Bag portion of the website draws the second most clicks, Murphy said.
He said the company hopes that its work on transparency and traceability can start conversations among both consumers and manufacturers. Food companies can use Quinn’s extensive platform as an example of how to do it right, and consumers can start demanding the same kind of transparency from other brands. However, he said, manufacturers who don’t have this extensive transparency baked into their corporate DNA would definitely have a lot of work to do to get there.
“One of the big hopes for Quinn is that we could be a beacon for what transparency could be within the food category and others would follow,” Murphy said.