Beginner’s Guide on Starting a Food Production Business in the United Kingdom
Are you passionate about the food business? If that’s the case, starting a food production business in the United Kingdom is one of the most attractive business ventures. The food industry in the UK is among the largest in the manufacturing industry. According to statistics, by 2018, the world’s food market was estimated to be 2.1billion pounds making it a lucrative business. This business requires taking into consideration dedicated premises and enthusiastic staff members. For beginners, you can start small and progressively build on your business.
Here’s a guide on starting a food production business in the United Kingdom.
Transforming your passion into a business idea is the beginning of establishing yourself in the food industry. However, the food business isn’t that easy, and you’re bound with heavy regulatory burdens. This means you have to get acquainted with the rules governing starting a food production business in the United Kingdom. The UK is one of the market leaders in food production coupled with its unique food culture. The modernized and traditional tastes capture the imagination of many buyers and consumers.
According to the British Dietetic, consumers in the UK are conscious of their general health following coronavirus. The catering industry in the UK is worth 88 billion pounds, with 43% of consumers spending on drinks and food. According to Mintel, the UK fast food and takeaway market is estimated to be approximately 9.4 billion pounds. If you’re planning to be a food production corporate service provider in the UK, opportunities are in the poultry supply chain. The UK is the third-largest dairy-producing country among the EU countries and the tenth producer in the world.
Business Registration Process
Starting a food production business in the United Kingdom is profitable if you do it right. With the right business plan, you stand a chance of being competitive and scaling your business. But before you begin, you just need to understand the regulations and registration process of the food business.
A food business cannot operate without first having a business name and certification of registration. Before company incorporation, you must first register your business name. The proposed name should resonate with the nature of your business. It should be unique and shouldn’t contravene the name registration process. The Companies House is the department that is responsible for the company registration in the United Kingdom. There are different types of business structures such as sole trader, partnership, and company. Registering a company requires you to have the proper legal documents. Some of the documents include a Memorandum and Article of Association, certificate of registration, and business license.
If you’re planning to sell your food online, you’re subject to UK food law. This law covers safety, good hygiene, labeling, record keeping, and product call or withdrawal. Moreover, ensure that you have a statement on your website to advise customers to acquire allergen information before placing their order. Finally, for entrepreneurs with the idea of running a food business from home, they must ensure:
- They get permission from their mortgage provider or landlord
- Get permission from the local council
- Tax allowances
- Business rates
- Health and safety.
Do Market Research
Before you get started, you must first understand the food production industry in the UK. As an aspiring investor, you’ll be able to find out the level of demand and competitors. This will aid you in planning what type of structure you would adapt and the food to produce. Again it’s advisable to carry out a risk assessment before setting up a food business. Any food business must use HACCP procedures that address food safety and hygiene risks. The safety packs cater to small companies and consist of personal hygiene, cross-contamination, cleaning, and chilling.
Develop the Layout of Your Space
A food premise is an establishment that requires the right ambiance. As a business owner, once you’ve registered your business, you can then start working on the design and layout of your space. When creating space for your restaurant, you typically dedicate about 45-60% of the space to the dining area and 35% to the kitchen area. The remaining part goes to the office area and storage. Again, to ensure a smooth flow between the kitchen and the dining areas, having a clear layout.
Acquire Business Permits and License
As you plan on starting a food production business in the United Kingdom, you must check with the local regulatory office. Food businesses must provide allergen information in the UK and follow labeling rules as prescribed in the food law. What it means is that you must:
- Provide allergen information to your customers.
- Handle and manage food allergens effectively in food preparation.
Additionally, you must inform your customers if any food you provide contains 14 allergens as per the allergen food law. It also applies to any additives or any other items present in the final product.
Hiring of Employees
When it comes to hiring employees, you must ensure that there is the right fit. Depending on your restaurant, you must think about the staff that you’d want to hire. This may include purchasing experts, accountants, marketing & sales managers, chefs and sommeliers, waiters, and cleaning staff. Hire people who have enough experience and a successful track record, quick on their feet, and can multitask. Ensure you do due diligence before hiring. Conduct interviews, do some background checks, and call their references.
Market Your Business
Before you open the doors for customers, you must do a fair amount of advertising to your local community. Start by the traditional word of mouth publicity, and you use other new ventures such as:
- Building your website: creating an easy-to-navigate website and providing the necessary information to your target audience.
- Use social media: create accounts on various platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and share the relevant content.
- Put an ad in the local daily.
Licenses, Permits, and Regulations
If you’re planning on starting a food production in the United Kingdom, brace yourself for several regulations. We have no umbrella license covering all the necessary support and certifications before opening your restaurant in the UK. Instead, you’ll experience a fair share of paperwork and visiting various government bodies.
The Food Hygiene Agency is responsible for matters relating to hygiene. In addition, several legislation and regulations govern the food industry in the UK. Some of the food licenses that you should have before starting your business include the following:
Food Premises Approval
The local council has the prerogative of inspecting and approving your food premises. This applies when you’re handling foodstuffs such as meat, fish, egg, or dairy products. After the inspection, the council decides if you get approval or need to register. However, you may not get any approval if you are selling directly to the public or retailers like restaurants, pubs, or caterers. Again, it would be best if you met the following conditions:
- You’re trading on food which is less than 25%.
- Do not deal with wild game meat products.
- You hardly sell food outside the jurisdiction your business is registered in.
The council requires you to follow the rules for controlling the temperature and storage of any food you transport. Moreover, as a business owner, you must display your approved status on the food products.
Any business owner who operates a food premise or sells alcohol, or offers licensable activity needs to acquire a business license. The license covers serving hot food and drinks outside of regular hours. Depending on the value of your premises, the license costs are approximately 100 to 1,905 pounds per year.
Food Hygiene Certificate
As a food business owner, knowing the best practice, especially when it comes to handling food, is vital. Though it is never a legal requirement, having a food hygiene certificate is one of the critical requirements. One can earn this certificate through either online training or government food safety courses.
If you’re starting a food production business in the United Kingdom and planning food delivery, food-grade packaging is essential. This means the packaging design must be for the intended purpose, such as hot food transport. In return, the transportation of food would be safe and maintain its quality. Moreover, if you’re using a domestic vehicle to transport food orders, you must meet the hygiene requirements and vehicle specifications. Ensure you provide allergen information:
- Before the purchase of the food is done- it can be in writing.
- When the food is delivered- it can either be in writing or verbally.
For any further assistance on the food production business, you can always contact 3E Accounting.