Food safety starts with ingredient quality and handling, Mikey’s CEO said

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Mikey's Muffins CEO Michael Tierney was a former chef in New York. Pic: Mikey's
Mikey's Muffins CEO Michael Tierney was a former chef in New York. Pic: Mikey's

Related tags Food Hazard analysis and critical control points

Chef-turned-CEO of gluten-free bakery brand Mikey’s, Michael Tierney, has underscored the proper handling of ingredients at the beginning stages of food production is crucial.

Tierney recognized a white space for “high-quality, tasty bread products”​ in the packaged goods market three years ago. Now Mikey’s products are available across the US at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Walmart and over 4,500 other retailers.

BakeryandSnacks reported Mikey’s entered the low-carb pizza crust​ category in September of last year, adding to its bread and muffin ranges.

According to IRI’s bakery data, that includes total US multi-outlets with c-stores for the last 52 weeks ending December 25, 2016, fresh bread posted sales of over $9m, a 0.3% increase compared to last year. English muffins posted over $743m in sales, a 1.6% growth over the previous annual period.

Going through every audit

Tierney said any challenges related to food safety begin with the sourcing of ingredients.

Source: Mikey's

“It appears the industry is shifting toward non-GMO certification, so it's good to be ahead of the curve there,”​ he said.

“In addition, safety primarily begins with ingredient quality and particularly the handling of them at the beginning stages of production, so enforcing good habits early on is a great place to start.

“Mikey’s takes many steps to ensure the safety of our products. Our co-packing and manufacturing facility goes through every audit imaginable - including BRC audits, FDA audits, gluten-free audits, Kosher certification, etc. - to provide the utmost in quality and safety,”​ Tierney said.

“Our products are produced in accordance with HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), which is a preventative approach to food safety from biological, chemical and physical hazards that happen during production."

Fueling further growth

Mikey’s has been experiencing strong growth that merely looking at its last 12 months in revenue does not accurately portray, Tierney told BakeryandSnacks.

“Our run rate is at $3.1m, and in 2017, I believe we will cruise past $4m in revenue with new product mixes and retailers already committed,”​ he said. “We’ll be undergoing a Series B round this year, but have already started to get in commitments.”

The new investment being raised is for $14.5m, according to the company.

“We are also launching new chocolate chip-flavored muffin tops that we’re excited to share with consumers. You can expect to see those on shelves soon,”​ he added.

“Our priority for 2017 includes building familiarity among those consumers who aren’t aware of the Mikey’s brand as yet. Also, to build on our brand and enhance the velocity in places that already stock our products and among our loyal customers.”

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