Dabas — your shortcut to market

Are you familiar with Dabas? Are your products listed there? Can you see the value of it? If your answer to all three questions is yes, you can stop reading now. All others should read on.

19 June 2019 •

Your prod­uct is ready. The flavours are spot on. The qual­i­ty is there. The pack­ag­ing looks good. Now for some­thing a lot less fun: the huge load of paper­work before the prod­uct can reach the con­sumers through cater­ing and retail.

Loads of paperwork

Those who are going to sell your prod­uct require an incred­i­ble amount of infor­ma­tion: brand, arti­cle descrip­tion, EAN code, size, weight, min­i­mum and max­i­mum tem­per­a­tures, source of the ingre­di­ents. Fairtrade or organ­ic or MSC brand­ing, mar­ket mes­sage, list­ing price … The list goes on and on.

The fast mov­ing con­sumer goods (FMCG) giants in Sweden: Axfood, Bergendahls, Coop, and ICA, demand a dig­i­tal cer­tifi­cate. And so does Martin & Servera, Menigo, Svensk Cater and the oth­er large cater­ing whole­salers. But small­er com­pa­nies are nor­mal­ly con­tent with a prod­uct sheet.

The giants also want the food­stuffs annex that has infor­ma­tion on ingre­di­ents, nutri­tion, aller­gens, whether it’s halal or kosher etc. Catering com­pa­nies need infor­ma­tion on prepa­ra­tion, num­ber of por­tions, nutri­tion­al and health claims and much more.

If you’re sell­ing to local gov­ern­ments the National Agency for Public Procurement Authority demands that you pro­vide a sup­pli­er’s dec­la­ra­tion about ori­gin, GMO-free, cer­ti­fied palm oil, labour con­di­tions and so on.

It’s not easy being a food producer.

What if it would be pos­si­ble to leave this paper­work to some­one else? Someone who would take care of every detail. Or at least if you could get sup­port through­out the whole process, so you would­n’t need to do it again and again. This is what Dabas does.

A database for food and beverage

Dabas is an arti­cle data­base with infor­ma­tion on most of the foods on the Swedish mar­ket. It’s open and free for any­body who needs infor­ma­tion from it. But to appear in this data­base food and drink com­pa­nies must pay an annu­al fee, and then a fee per product.

The data­base is run by Delfi Marknadspartner, who was there at the begin­ning when DLF, the asso­ci­a­tion for com­pa­nies sup­ply­ing FMCGs took the ini­tia­tive in 1991.

37 000 products

Joakim Browall is a co-own­er and vice pres­i­dent of Delfi Market Partners.

With the dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion in the 1980s cus­tomers of FMCG com­pa­nies request­ed that an “elec­tron­ic” ver­sion of the prod­uct sheets should be avail­able in the dietary plan­ning pro­grammes they were using. But when the big plan­ning pro­grammes start­ed charg­ing for each sin­gle prod­uct the sup­pli­ers were reg­is­ter­ing, it became too cost­ly. DLF decid­ed to do some­thing about it.

– We should­n’t have to pay for all the sys­tems who take part of our infor­ma­tion. Instead we place the infor­ma­tion in a cen­tral data­base, so any­body can retrieve it there, says Joakim Browall who is a part­ner at Delfi Marknadspartner.

In the begin­ning the data­base had about 5,000 arti­cles by 50 food pro­duc­ers. Now, 28 years lat­er, there are more than 37,000 prod­ucts from more than 500 food pro­duc­ers.

More small and medium sized companies

Lately, Dabas has seen more and more small and medi­um sized com­pa­nies in their data­base. One of the rea­sons is stronger regulations.

– The EU no. 11692011 pro­vi­sion on food infor­ma­tion to con­sumers, pub­lished in December 2014, means that detailed infor­ma­tion on any giv­en FMCG must be avail­able online. This has led to that also the small com­pa­nies are real­is­ing they need a solu­tion for that, says Joakim Browall.

An intermediary for the rest of the market

When a sup­pli­er reg­is­ters a prod­uct in Dabas it becomes search­able by every­body – from author­i­ties and com­pa­nies to jour­nal­ists and consumers.

In the Dabas data­base you can search or click your way around to find any of the more than 37,000 arti­cles that are list­ed there. Each arti­cle has detailed infor­ma­tion avail­able to any­body, with­out the need to reg­is­ter an account or to pay for the information.

The benefactor hidden in the wings

– Dabas is an infor­ma­tion provider for all the large pro­cure­ment and dietary plan­ning pro­grammes in both the pub­lic and the pri­vate sec­tor, says Joakim Browall.

Within hos­pi­tal care, elder­ly care and ser­vices, a pro­gramme called Matilda is often used to plan diets of indi­vid­u­als, with infor­ma­tion avail­able in Dabas. For cater­ing com­pa­nies there are the dietary and menu plan­ning ser­vices Aivo, Mashie, Kostdata and Aromi.

You can say that Dabas is the bene­fac­tor hid­den in the wings.

Oiling the wheels of the public procurement machinery

An exam­ple of how Dabas is used in the pro­cure­ment and dietary plan­ning pro­grammes is the han­dling of sup­pli­er’s dec­la­ra­tions required when local gov­ern­ments do their procurements.

The National Agency for Public Procurement has pro­duced cri­te­ria for sus­tain­able pro­cure­ment which are meant to con­tribute to reach the Swedish envi­ron­men­tal objec­tives. When procur­ing local gov­ern­ments can state which of these cri­te­ria are to be fulfilled.

– In Dabas a com­pa­ny can state which of the cri­te­ria of the National Agency for Public Procurement regard­ing sus­tain­able pro­cure­ment a cer­tain arti­cle ful­fils. Dabas is then the infor­ma­tion hub for ver­i­fi­ca­tion of and adher­ence to the cri­te­ria, says Joakim Browall.

When local gov­ern­ments are procur­ing food and drink for schools, elder­ly care, hos­pi­tals etc. they can in these pro­cure­ment and dietary plan­ning pro­grammes choose to see only those prod­ucts which match their set cri­te­ria. They can also down­load the sup­pli­er’s dec­la­ra­tion for every prod­uct and cri­te­ri­on. All sup­plied by Dabas.

Validoo – you mean vindaloo?

Another exam­ple where Dabas acts in the back­ground is spelled Validoo. It is a brand owned by GS1 Sweden, which in turn is owned by the asso­ci­a­tion for sup­pli­ers of FMCG and Svensk Dagligvaruhandel (SvDH).

GS1 Sweden is a mem­ber of the inter­na­tion­al GS1 organ­i­sa­tion that sets stan­dards giv­ing prod­ucts, ser­vices and places all over the world a unique iden­ti­ty. They col­lect data on these and share this infor­ma­tion with­in and between busi­ness systems.

GS1’s most known stan­dard is the bar­code present on all prod­ucts, prob­a­bly on yours too. But that’s not where Dabas enters the scene, they are there in the part about shar­ing information.

Validoo is Sweden’s largest data­base with arti­cle infor­ma­tion accord­ing to the GS1 stan­dard. The data­base holds infor­ma­tion on 330,000 prod­ucts from 2,500 sup­pli­ers and is used by about 70 recip­i­ents with­in FMCG, cater­ing, phar­ma­cies and the Swedish out­let for alco­holic bev­er­ages: Systembolaget.

Article infor­ma­tion is col­lect­ed from var­i­ous entry sys­tems of which Dabas is the largest when it comes to food and beverage.

Joakim Browall thinks that Dabas and Validoo are com­ple­men­tary to each other:

– Together we con­tribute, in dif­fer­ent ways, to a high­er effi­cien­cy in the branch and we help each oth­er to fur­ther devel­op the stan­dard. Generally we work well together.

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