Last updated on 10 May 2012
Food Hygiene Rating Scheme and Food Hygiene Information Scheme – Display of ratings and inspection results at food business premises in England, Northern Ireland and Scotland
The objective of this research was to provide an estimate of the number of businesses voluntarily displaying Food Hygiene Ratings in England and Northern Ireland and Food Hygiene Inspection ‘Pass’ results in Scotland and the reasons why they are/are not displaying them.
Study duration: December 2011 to April 2012
Contractor: GfK/NOP Social Research
Project code: FS244011A
The FHRS for England Wales and Northern Ireland and the FHIS for Scotland are FSA/local authority partnership initiatives for providing consumers with information about hygiene standards in places where they eat or shop for food. The overarching aim is to reduce the incidence of foodborne illness (and the associated cost to the economy) through improved hygiene standards.
Businesses are given stickers/certificates with their FHRS rating or FHIS inspection result and encouraged, though not required, to display these at their premises. This voluntary approach was agreed by the FSA Board in December 2008, however t it was also agreed that this voluntary approach should be kept under review.
Research on the voluntary display of FHRS ratings at business premises in Wales was carried out in 2011 to inform the work on a Bill to introduce mandatory display of ratings there. This research was extended to England, Northern Ireland and Scotland to inform the FSA’s wider review of the voluntary approach to the display of ratings/inspection results.
The objective of the research is to:
- ascertain how many food businesses displayed their FHRS rating or FHIS ‘Pass’ result and where it was displayed
- consider the impacts, if any, of displaying the FHRS rating/FHIS ‘Pass’ result
- understand the drivers for businesses that display their FHRS rating / FHIS ‘Pass’ inspection result
- understand what would encourage businesses not currently displaying their rating/ ‘Pass’ inspection result to do so
The research included an audit of a sample of businesses that had been given an FHRS rating or FHIS ‘Pass’ inspection result to record the presence (or absence) of FHRS/FHIS stickers and/or certificates and identify where these were displayed.
Telephone interviews of approximately 500 businesses in each country were also carried out. These included questions about awareness of FHRS/FHIS, the claimed receipt and display of a sticker and/or certificate, including location of display and the reasons for display or non-display. This sample included a proportion of the businesses that had been audited.
In addition to the FHRS/FHIS work, an audit was undertaken of businesses in London in areas where ‘Scores on the Doors’ is still operating to establish the levels of display of star ratings.
Results and findings
Key audit results
- 43% of businesses were displaying their FHRS rating (32% visible from outside)
- 12% of the businesses in the sample with a rating of 0, 1 or 2 were displaying this at their premises. This compared with 56% of the businesses with a rating of 4 or 5.
- 50% in businesses were displaying their FHRS rating from outside (38% visible from outside)
- 22% of the businesses in the sample with a rating of 0, 1 or 2 were displaying this at their premises. This compared with 57% of the businesses with a rating of 4 or 5.
- 47% of businesses were displaying their FHIS ‘Pass’ inspection result (16% visible from outside).
Reasons for display
The most commonly reported reason for displaying FHRS ratings/FHIS inspection results was so that customers are able to see that their premises were hygienic (England 67%, Northern Ireland 70% and Scotland 68% of businesses that reported display).
A number of different reasons were given for non-display. These included:
- Don’t have to/not compulsory
- Do not agree with rating/unfair
- Doesn’t suit surroundings
- Not relevant to our businesses
- Poor/low rating/inspection result
- Didn’t know we should; and
- Company policy not to.
Motivations to display
Reported motivations to display results for businesses that were not currently displaying a rating or inspection result included:
- Nothing would encourage me;
- A better rating;
- If it was compulsory;
- If it was issued in a different format; and
- If customers asked to see it.