Roland Koch, Quality Manager

Roland Koch (55) is Quality Assurance Manager for all Allos production sites in Drebber, Freiburg and the German Marketing and Sales Organisation (Allos Hof-Manufaktur Bremen). He and his team of quality assurance specialists are responsible for the quality of more than 500 organic products in the Dairy Alternatives, Sweet in Betweens, Bread & Biscuit Alternatives, Breakfast Cereals and Veggie Meals categories. His team identifies all potential risks in an overall risk-based analysis plan.

‘This risk-based analysis plan is organised across several axes. The first axis is the input axis, which is based on a raw materials plan. All raw materials are tested for taste and structure, as well as for GMO, salmonella, contamination, etc. The second axis is the ‘in-between’ axis. The set-up depends on the product and product range and involves a combination of tests for consistency, smoothness, pH value, dry matter, and so on. The third axis is known as the ‘output test’, a test of the stability depending on the kind of product. Sterilised and pasteurised end products are placed in a 30-degree incubation room for one week. After the final tests are made, products can then be released and launched into the retail channel.’

Born food engineer
Ronald Koch is a food engineer with passion and drive. He studied Food Technology at the prestigious University of Munich, where also the best brewery engineers are trained. But instead of starting his career at one of the big South German breweries, he decided to join Nestlé as an R&D specialist and product developer for baby food. In 1995 he switched over to Tartex – Allos, which was bought by Wessanen in 2001. ‘I think Wessanen’s unique, sustainable focus on healthy food is refreshing. In recent years we have developed a tremendous number of new categories and products. Our playing field is enormous!’

Only the very best
‘As a quality assurance team and with full support of our Board we only want the very best products. Superb quality with a great natural flavour is what we offer. Our products contain no artificial ingredients and we make sure the quality is consistently high. Since we only use natural ingredients, this is quite a challenge. But even with a portfolio of over 500 products we succeed every day, supported by heavy investments in research facilities.’

Vegetarian product development
‘As a German I really like meat, but at home now we regularly eat vegetarian meals or taste new products we have developed. My daughter Barbara, who is 25, has become a real fan of vegetarian meals. My family has, in fact, been serving as a focus group for our product development. We develop dozens of new products each year, based on quality tests and risk assessments. We conduct hazard analyses, determine critical control points (CCPs), and establish critical limits and monitoring procedures, all the way up to verification and documentation procedures.’

Legal requirements

‘Another part of my job is to make sure we comply with all regulations, both from the EU and the IFS Food Standard, a Global Food Safety Initiative and recognised standard for auditing food manufacturers. The focus is on food safety and the quality of processes and products. And as an organic manufacturer we must act at the highest level of organic certification checked by special organic certifiers. In fact, I have the most interesting job at Wessanen, and I’m looking forward to our future, with leaner production methods and even higher quality standards for more and more natural products!