Evaluation of 'provision of allergen information for non pre-packed foods' guidance

Last updated:
16 January 2015
In 2008 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) produced voluntary best practice Guidance on the Provision of Allergen Information for Non Pre-packed Foods aimed at caterers and retailers, which gave advice on controlling food allergens in food businesses where the food has not been pre-packed e.g. take-aways, restaurants, bakeries, deli counters, sandwich bars and schools etc.


Study Duration: January 2010 to March 2010
Contractor: Jigsaw Research
Project code: T07063

This research was commissioned to assess the awareness and uptake of the full guidance, and gauge its impact on businesses. As mentioned above, the full guidance was accompanied by a leaflet and a poster, and research also examined the impact of these supporting materials amongst the target audience.

Specifically, the research objectives were to:

  • Assess the level of awareness of the full guidance and supporting materials.
  • Explore the uptake of the guidance and supporting materials and the extent to which it has led to businesses changing their practices.
  • Assess the usefulness of the full guidance and supporting materials.
  • Assess whether these materials would be sufficient guidance for businesses if a statutory requirement to provide allergen information was introduced.

Research approach

The project consisted of both qualitative and quantitative research. For the qualitative stage, a total of 16 in-depth interviews were conducted with various caterers and retailers, some training bodies and Environmental Health and Trading Standards Officers (EHO’s and TSO’s). For the quantitative stage, a total of 374 semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted with caterers and EHO’s and TSO’s.


No major changes need to be made to the full guidance, leaflet or poster. The key issue for the FSA is to boost awareness and usage of the guidance among both enforcers and businesses, by:

Stressing the importance of allergen controls and customer notification in non pre-packed foods

Ensuring as many businesses as possible are aware of the guidance

In the longer term, increasing consumer awareness in the expectation of this leading to higher levels of business engagement

Contact for further information

Name: Sarah Hardy
Tel: 020 7276 8532
Email: sarah.hardy@foodstandards.gsi.gov.uk