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Small Business Schemes Chris Grimes, SALSA Scheme Director. Landscape. “ The gap between legal requirements and industry best practice* is getting wider – but the average size of UK food producers is getting smaller” *as defined by BRC Global Standard. Evolution of FS standards and schemes.

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Small business schemes chris grimes salsa scheme director

Small Business Schemes

Chris Grimes, SALSA Scheme Director


“The gap between legal requirements and industry best practice* is getting wider – but the average size of UK food producers is getting smaller”

*as defined by BRC Global Standard

Evolution of fs standards and schemes
Evolution of FS standards and schemes

Pre 1995 – large food buyers had own audit standards

1995 Emergence of 3P standards (EFSIS, TLC etc)

1999 First issue of BRC Technical Standard

2002 CB’s abandoned branded standards with BRC Issue 3

2005 EFSIS and CMi introduced their own SME standards

2005/6 BRC, IFST and other food industry stakeholders began discussing the need for an SME Audit Standard.

2007 SALSA launched as BRC alternative for smaller producers

Salsa origins
SALSA Origins

  • Start-up funding from government agencies

    • DEFRA, FSA, Scottish Enterprise

  • ‘Joint Venture’ between four industry partners

    • NFU, FDF, BRC and BHA

    • IFST appointed as scheme operator

  • Self-funding, not-for-profit organisation

  • Aim was to be a reliable, affordable and effective food safety certification scheme for ‘small’ and ‘micro’ producers with wide recognition by UK food purchasing ‘community’

Other standards and schemes
Other standards and schemes

Some Buyers still conduct first party audits

Eg Tesco, M&S

Commercial third party standards

EFSIS Safe & Legal

CMi Due Diligence

Membership schemes such as

HEFF Hygiene and Food safety Standard

Online/desktop certification products


Key numbers september 2011
Key Numbers – September 2011

Registered Suppliers 2,246

Registered Buyers 838

Current Members 766

Current Approved 401

Micro Businesses >70%

Why is salsa in demand
Why is SALSA in demand?

More Buyers sourcing local food

Buyers need certification for due-diligence

New food businesses are micro and small

Fewer medium and large suppliers in UK

Micro businesses need help to achieve standards

Traditional audit approach ‘verifies compliance’

Certification must be affordable to micro businesses

UK food & drink purchasing community want SALSA

Salsa addresses the market
SALSA addresses the market

  • A ‘scheme’ (not just an audit standard)

  • Provides support resources for members

  • Advice and mentoring integral to the audit process

  • Affordable to small and micro businesses

  • Credibility without UKAS accreditation

  • Support from UK food & drink purchasing community

  • Easy to fund (where funding available)

Scheme structure
Scheme Structure

  • Standard

    • Pitched between legal requirements and BRC

    • Suitable for micro (<10) and small (<50) producers

    • Best practice expectations of industry stakeholders

  • Guidance

    • Compliance to standard

    • Tools & Tips for individual requirements

    • Self-assessment toolkit

    • Mentor network (67 across UK)

  • Information

    • Directory provides local sourcing tool for buyers

    • Guidance, support and funding for suppliers

    • News, local events, bulletins and updates

Scheme resources
Scheme Resources

  • Centrally

    • Co-ordination and allocation of resources

    • Membership payments and administration

    • Member helpline

    • Website maintenance

  • Locally

    • 67 Mentors, of which 54 Auditors

    • All approved through IFST-RPFAM

    • Sector specific approval for mentoring and auditing

    • Compulsory training and CPD workshops

    • Participation in resource developments

Analysis of scheme s impact
Analysis of scheme’s impact


Suppliers perform better on audits if mentored

Suppliers report positive experiences

Mentors are independent, local and sympathetic


Approach preparing the supplier action plan works well

Auditors look for compliance and improvement

Most suppliers demonstrate improvements


Increased recognition among enforcement officers

Included in FSA earned recognition study

Recent developments
Recent Developments

Detailed ‘Tools & Tips’ for members

Developed by Mentors

HACCP Training Qualifications

Developed by Mentors

Levels 1 and 2

Regulated through Ofqual

IFST Accredited

What next for salsa
What next for SALSA?

Improved guidance and online resources

Improve access to mentors

Improved directory tools for buyers

Provide additional relevant services

Platform for continuous improvement

Foundation for growth and progress to BRC