By Daniel Hunter

The Food Standards Agency is encouraging food business to make the most of their food hygiene rating to help attract customers trade. A toolkit offering guidance, images, logos and web banners is available.

Customers are becoming increasingly aware of the food hygiene schemes and are actively looking for rating stickers when choosing where to eat out.

More food businesses are now displaying their hygiene rating stickers and a third of them say that this has resulted in greater customer confidence, better reputation among customers and, most importantly, more customers.

Businesses with a rating in the top half of the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme scale (3, 4, or 5), and those with a 'Pass' under the Food Hygiene Information Scheme that runs in Scotland, are being encouraged to display their rating sticker or 'Pass' certificate in a place where customers can easily see it, for example, in a window or on the door. This immediately reassures customers about the business's hygiene standards.

To help food businesses get the most out of their rating, the FSA has produced an online 'how to' guide. This offers some ideas on how to promote hygiene standards and help increase the number of customers who come through the door or order online by, for example, including the food hygiene rating or 'Pass' on menus and advertising.

"Businesses displaying their ratings are finding this is having a positive impact. People are increasingly looking for the stickers when they are out and we want more businesses to benefit in this way, and our new toolkit can help them make the most of their ratings," Catriona Stewart, head of the FSA's food hygiene ratings team, said.

"The scheme also gives customers the confidence that they are choosing to eat at premises where food hygiene is being taken seriously."

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