A recent report by the BBC has highlighted concerns expressed by the FSA over newly formed ‘at-home’ food businesses, who fail to register with their local authority. And in turn, this has prompted increasing numbers of consumers to consider whether the food products they buy from small online food operators is actually safe to eat.
Your legal requirements
Remember, food business registration can be as simple as completing an online form via your local authority website, and is a legal requirement for any business that:
- sells food
- cooks food
- stores or handles food
- prepares food
- distributes food, including:
- restaurants, cafes and takeaways
- catering businesses run from home, B&Bs, mobile catering and temporary businesses
- marquees, food stalls, food pop ups and food vans
- nurseries, schools and care homes
- distance selling, mail order and food delivery including online
Registration as a food business is free in the UK.
As a food business, you are also legally required to ensure that you, and anyone else working with food receives adequate supervision, instruction and/or training in food hygiene for the work that they do.
Use your credentials as marketing tools
As a food professional, how do YOU judge a restaurant’s food safety standards? You know what to look for, so when you are visiting a new food business, you probably check out the FSA Hygiene Star Rating (Food Hygiene Information Scheme rating in Scotland) in the door or window, and seek evidence of staff training certificates once inside.
You can use the same tools to market your online food business. If you are paying for food safety training, as well as nurturing skilled, knowledgeable staff, you should also look for other ways of making a return on your investment; that is to say, use it as a marketing tool. Talk about any training successes you’ve had via your social media accounts and website. This proactive approach shows customers that you care about their safety, and your team’s development.
At The Safer Food Group, we love to see customers celebrating training success. Tag @TheSaferFoodGroup in your social media posts, and we’ll give you a virtual pat on the back – increasing your audience reach and underlining your commitment to producing food safely.
You can also promote your official food hygiene rating – especially effective if you gain a 5 star / Pass rating. The FSA have created a media page and resources to help you advertise your rating virtually – it includes a great little toolkit with some invaluable ideas
Be proactive – talk about food safety
You might feel uncomfortable talking about food safety on your social media page but remember – it shouldn’t be a taboo subject, and if you uphold high hygiene standards in your business, you should be proud to talk about them. You can guarantee that some of your potential customers want to know – and are too shy to ask – so make it easy for them to choose you!