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New Food Standards Agency survey reveals public’s biggest food fears

A new report by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed the public’s current perceptions towards food-related issues, including the top food safety issues of concern.

While some 45% of respondents claimed that they feel concern about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways, the good news is that this figure has come down since the last FSA consumer survey was carried out.

Why it’s so important for you to display your hygiene rating sticker

Some 84% of survey respondents said that they are now aware of the hygiene standards in the places they eat at or purchase food from. Of those, a significant 61% said that they rely on hygiene stickers and/or certificates for this information.

What this means is that most consumers are now taking note of your hygiene standards to help them make informed decisions about where to eat. It’s more important than ever that you display your hygiene rating, to prove to consumers that you care about food safety and to give them further reason to choose to eat at your establishment.

It’s currently mandatory for food businesses to display their food hygiene ratings in Northern Ireland and Wales, and the strong likelihood is that England and Scotland will soon follow suit. Mobile caterers looking for more ways to stand out from competition and appeal to passing trade should get ahead of forthcoming legislation and start displaying their rating now. You’ll find some fun ideas about alternative ways to display your food hygiene rating here.

What were the public’s top food safety issues of concern?

According to the FSA survey, the current top four food safety issues of concern among members of the public are:

  1. Food hygiene when eating out

  2. Food poisoning

  3. Chemicals from the environment, such as lead, in food

  4. Food additives

And the four most common wider food issues were:

  1. The amount of sugar in food

  2. Food waste

  3. Food prices

  4. Animal welfare

How should you react to these findings?

Are you already doing something to combat these issues? Are you shouting about it? If not, why not?! If you’re a caterer who prides themselves on the low sugar content of their food, put up a sign on your unit! If you’ve taken serious measures to reduce or eliminate food waste from your business, email your customers and tell them all about it. And tweet tweet tweet!

And if you’re not quite there yet, now’s the perfect time to come up with some great, sustainable ideas which could cut costs in your business and draw in more customers over the busy summer months in 2018. With the right combination of policies and procedures, you might even put yourself in with a better chance of booking certain green events to trade at.

Take a look at our sustainability page for some starter pointers and consider taking the NCASS Sustainability Training for Caterers course (which is half price for NCASS members).

And if you’ve got sustainable or diet-related practices that you’d like to share, tweet us at @NCASS_UK. We’d love to hear your great ideas and help spread the message about how you’re tackling the public’s biggest food fears.

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