The Who I work with
Multiple food outlet events/festivals
Hospitals / care facilities
Schools / children’s institutions
Sports Clubs /Societies / Associations
Government /office buildings
Take away shops
Airport, Transport station style dine-in eateries
Caterers (e.g lunch buffets)
Eat in food establishments
Pop up restaurants
Conferences with catering
Events with catering
The Who – you can serve
“Inclusivity” is the ability of the food business to serve all types of customers so they can be included.
- Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Flexi-tarian, Meat free day (12% DK) according to the Danish Vegetarian Society 2019
- No Pork, No beef, No animal products, Fasting periods, religious holidays. Geographical variation in the prominent religions within cities, capital regions, near country borders and number of tourists
- Allergy to Milk (e.g 2.5% children worldwide) egg, shellfish, nuts, Actual number suffering allergy or intolerance unknown, suspected to be 10x documented official diagnosis as it is difficult to diagnose. A person with one food allergy, has an increased chance of being allergic to other foods. Allergy not only caused by 14 allergens the EU requires on labels (also beef, tomatoes, chilli etc). Unknown safe thresholds for what is acceptable “free from” and no threshold for other animal products in vegan foods. Estimates vary however roughly 6%-10% of the population have a food allergy however double as many believe they have a food allergy. It can be difficult to isolate/diagnose/confirm. Unanimous agreement Worldwide that allergy prevalence is on the increase. Changing terminology confuses matters, both gluten allergy and gluten intolerance exist. Sometimes known as food sensitivity (when it does not involve a certain aspect of the immune system (IgE) but causes a reaction, which can vary between individuals). An intolerance can still be extremely servere.
- Lactose intolerance (65% world/ 10% northern Europe) (World Health Organisation)
- Pregnancy, breastfeeding, Coeliac’s Disease (1%) Crohn’ s Disease / IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome (0.5%), Diabetes (6%)
- Aversions (including imagined allergy/intolerance) >20%
Total estimation 40% of the population have a dietary preference.
The Why – it is important
Food inspectors are allowed to enter your premises at any time during opening hours without warning.
They are able to serve notices to close a business – effective immediately.
Condemn and destroy, sample, seize food, take out of service any food or equipment associated with the food business – effective immediately
They can demand documentation regarding suppliers, traceability, recall, ingredients or other compliance documentation such as temperature checks, staff training, pest control and it hasto be produced/available immediately.
Reasons to have a robust Food Safe Management System
It is required by law but depending on the size and complexity of the businesses, it can be relatively informal, requires HACCP – Hazard Analysis.
Aids staff training and competency, and motivates better work when it is clear what, how, when AND WHY. Food handlers need to understand the importance of hygiene and other controls for the system to work.
To prevent food poisoning, harm or injury (or DEATH)
Save chemicals, save time, due diligence defence, save food waste, improve food quality, shorten waiter response time,
For staff to understand roles and responsibilities
To prevent pests, improve cleaning, extend equipment durability.
Secure the sickness policy – norovirus has the most devastating effect on a food business’s reputation as it is so infectious
Improve customer service and impression of professionalism, staff have more time to serve if not bogged down with documentation, reduced complaints and reduced chance of an unannounced visit from the food authority.
Its not all common sense, plus someone has to check the checker.
It works for NASA.
Food businesses must have TRACEABILITY (where is the product from, when/where is it purchased/ sold), this includes codes regarding origin of anything of animal origin, including oysters etc.
This is to aid RECALL should a product need to be removed from the market (e.g. frozen berries containing e.coli). or products with incorrect allergy labelling, products with incorrect use by dates, chemical contamination, or something like the horse meat scandal.
DURABILITY – food should have an expiry date (best before or use by dates).
HACCP/FSMS – all food businesses have to have HACCP relevant to the size of their business. Including PREQUISTES, all the things that need to be in place before food is handled e.g pest control or staff training .
TRAINING – all staff must be adequately trained, all staff must be at least aware of the 14 EU listed allergens
Food businesses must be registered, and therefore the are inspected by the food authority depending on the authority’s assessment of how complex and risky the business activities are. These inspections are public record and inform a publicly available rating scheme (e.g SmileyRapport DK or FSHS UK The press can access these reports.
Certain foods or catering methods have additional requirements (e.g. Sous vide)
By asking relevant questions regarding allergies, by giving a good impression of cleanliness (staff and premises), communicating preferences and capabilities on the menu and through talking to wait staff the high standards and FSMS can be demonstrated improving brand reputation and the customer experience
People can suffer from food poisoning like symptoms due to many illnesses or after eating food up to several weeks before. Do not give anyone a reason to doubt that the food you served was safe.
Labelling requirements are changing, consumers are experiencing more “free from” or “vegan” items in the supermarkets. In the UK 2021 food retail outlets will also have to have robust labelling of allergens on in house prepared but packaged foods, previously exempt from labelling.
Other EU countries, such as Spain and Sweden have very good levels of allergy labelling or vegan options. Keep up with what the neighbours are doing.
The EU has increased the number of allergens from 8 – 14 (in 2014) required to be listed on labels or provided in restaurants, and it is likely to increase in future, some restaurants already list 19. Many outlets in the UK and Denmark have allergy information and dietary preferences (suitable for vegans or vegetarians) available in an allergy matrix.
Reminder of the WHY!
You may also offend their beliefs (religious or non religious) and cause scandal in the press. There is also the aspect of including those with dietary preferences or needs as to be a more community/friendly establishment. A good example is vegans do not necessarily eat alone, or in vegan restaurants, sometimes the entire group chooses where to eat based on the entire group being able to eat/ find a suitable choice without hassle of ringing beforehand etc, so if there is one dietary preference in the group, that person chooses where to eat
The number of diagnoses allergy suffers is increasing, the number of people that suspect food allergy or intolerance is increasing
The number of dietary preferences is increasing (particularly vegans and vegetarians)
Social media capabilities are advancing
Technology in the food industry and the size and complexity of food systems is increasing,
Competition is increasing and legislation is slowing catching up.
Consumers are already experiencing high standards elsewhere, both in their local cities or abroad.
If there is something wrong with the food you are serving, you can react before it has an effect, before it is served, even before it is delivered in some instances. If there is a problem with your supplier, you can recall food easily without using huge amounts of time (and panic). If there is an equipment breakdown, the kitchen can safely adapt (e.g. freezer breakdown) to prevent food waste. If someone starts having an allergic reaction you can save their life and prove due diligence. Knowing what to do in an emergency situation can save food, time and lives.
Plus being competitive with a strong brand will help your business survive recession, political issues such as Brexit and to implement new legislation seamlessly.
Reduce – costs, time, staffing, food waste, chemicals, food authority visits or fines, marketing costs, complaints and RISK
Improve – profits,sell more to your current customers, expand into niche markets, be the preferred choice, be everyone’s first recommendation, cater to groups, be more than compliant, be outstanding. Be in demand.
Catering to dietary preferences and being inclusive can steal customers from your competition.