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Always had a passion for cooking? Do your friends always tell you to apply to Masterchef? Do you have a dish/product that you enjoy making and always wonder if you could turn it into a business?

The University of Chester’s NoWFOOD is a centre of excellence supporting food businesses in the North West with their development journey. Business Development Manager, Emily Pegg talks us through the first steps to starting your successful food business.

  1. Setting up your food business

    Once you know you have a winning recipe you may well start out from home. This is a great starting place, but can limit growth potential. To scale up your food business it is important to choose the right premises to move forward, although there are many things to consider you will need to be sure that the premises is registered and has food preparation areas, the relevant equipment your business needs (and if not you can bring your equipment in) and that you have adequate facilities for storing and disposing of food correctly. As with any workplace, it is important to comply with health and safety for yourself and any employees you may also have.

    The University of Chester’s NoWFOOD Centre is a great place to start your upscale journey with lots of business development support available along the way.

  2. Register your food business

    Whether you’re starting out from scratch or taking over an existing business, you need to register your food business with the local authority. Registration should be done at least 28 days before you begin trading. For more information on the types of businesses that need to register please refer to the Food Standards Agency website.

    It is also important to keep your business details up to date, therefore if you change owner, address or bring in a partner you must let the local authority know.

    Registered businesses may be inspected by the local authority to obtain their food hygiene rating.

  3. Managing Food Safety and Food Hygiene

    Complying with food hygiene requirements and food standards is crucial to the success of your food business, if you do not comply you can be closed down with immediate effect. As a food business owner, you must have an up-to-date HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) in place. It is also your responsibility to ensure that you and all staff receive suitable training in food safety and hygiene. You should reach out to the local authority as many of them offer training in this area you can also access information packs from the Food Standards Agency.

    It is also important to display information clearly on food labels and packaging, you will need to include any food additives and allergens which could be present in the food. Traceability of where your ingredients come from is imperative to record this accurately on labelling and in food production processes.

    Good practice is essential and you should aim to get food hygiene right from the very start of your business. Try to remember the 4 C’s of food hygiene to prevent the most common safety problems: Cleaning, Cooking, Chilling and Cross-Contamination; you should break down each process to ensure the relevant standards are followed at each point.

By Emily Pegg,
Business Engagement Manager