SALSA marks 10 years of successive growth


Celebrating its 10th anniversary year, SALSA, the food safety certification scheme for small producers today has over 1,200 approved members and a further 200 awaiting approval.

In March 2007, the SALSA Scheme was launched to provide small and micro food and drink businesses with a more appropriate alternative to the BRC certification standard and in its first year attracted 167 members. Since 2007, membership has grown year on year and now exceeds 1,400 of which over 1,200 hold SALSA certification.

The SALSA audit standard is specifically tailored to the production scale and operating framework of small businesses, and membership offers integrated training and resource packages to assist businesses through the process. In addition to the core SALSA Standard the scheme offers a SALSA plus Cheese audit for the artisan cheesemakers, and in the last three years two new sector-specific standards have been successfully launched; SALSA plus Beer and a dual audit for those also wishing to be certified Soil Association Organic.

From the outset, SALSA has focused on affordability and accessibility. Mentoring, regional HACCP and Food Labelling training at ‘cost aware’ rates are available to strengthen support for small businesses where distance, staff cover and little or no access to the in-house technical resources and advice are very real day-to-day concerns. Today, the Scheme’s reach, with a UK-wide auditing team of 63, extends to Scotland’s Highlands & Islands, the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.

The first approved site in England (2007) was Shropshire-based Gill’s Puddings – a manufacturer of handcrafted desserts and sauces which have successfully maintained their approval for 10 years. Director Kim Smith comments: ‘SALSA approval has been fantastic for the business; it has not only provided us with confidence in what we make, but has enabled us to secure contracts with national contract caterers, restaurants, hotels and even Premiership football clubs!’

The Scheme’s buyers list has also grown year on year with today over 900 registered UK buyers including Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Westbury Street Holdings, Compass and the NHS now able to access local and specialist products and certification details for SALSA-approved sites - and those going through the approval process - at the touch of button.

Sally Ball, SALSA Marketing & Client Relations, says, ‘SALSA was established to provide an essential link in the UK’s food safety chain, at a time when consumer tastes and safety expectations were diversifying, fusing and refining, with dietary requirements coming to the fore. The appetite for safe and local food was here to stay. What small producers needed was a food security pathway and access to buyers, both of which SALSA provides. The first ten years have been so rewarding but we can’t stand still; responding to an ever-changing environment and the concerns of our members and buyers is key.’

Scheme Founder Chris Grimes adds, ‘We are proud of the way the small producer sector has responded not just to our Scheme but ultimately to the many and rigorous demands of their industry. SALSA gives small producers the chance to show what they are made of; they bring enterprise, flair and flexibility to the table – with products buyers look for to add lustre to their portfolio. SALSA certification is proof that the UK’s small producers are able to meet every quality, safety and legality requirement justly demanded of them.’

 

Notes:

  1. SALSA is a not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2007 by the four main trade associations representing the UK food chain i.e. the National Farmers Union, the British Retail Consortium, the British Hospitality Association and the Food and Drink Federation. The Institute of Food Science & Technology operates the Scheme. 
  2. For more on the SALSA Scheme click here