Food hygiene rating key to 68% of consumers

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Hygiene ratings: more than 2,000 adults took part in the FSA biannual survey
Hygiene ratings: more than 2,000 adults took part in the FSA biannual survey
More than two thirds (68%) of consumers choose where they will buy food from based on a venue’s food hygiene rating, according to new research.

Some 83% of consumers in England wanted businesses including pubs to display their food hygiene ratings the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) Food Hygiene Rating Scheme – Biannual Public Attitudes Tracker revealed.

The survey, which amassed the views of 2,100 adults across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, found that more than half (59%) of respondents conclude that businesses – including pubs, restaurants, street food and takeaways – that do not display a rating have poor hygiene standards.

Some 68% across England, Wales and Northern Ireland said they would base their decision on where the purchase food based on its food hygiene rating.

Acceptable rating

Female respondents were slightly more likely than their male counterparts to answer 'yes' (41% compared to 36%) on choosing where the buy food from based on its rating.

The lowest acceptable rating to 38% of respondents in England was four (out of five) with 36% for a three-star rating. In Wales and Northern Ireland, the lowest rating acceptable was three (54% and 50% respectively).

Respondents were also asked for their views about food businesses that receive a zero or one-star rating.

Some 44% said they should be closed down, 23% said they should be given the chance to improve, 15% said they should be closed down if they do not improve, 5% wouldn’t go to that venue again and 3% said that the venue’s standards must still be safe enough to stay open.

Avoiding businesses

Some 21% of consumers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will avoid food businesses with poor hygiene. Also more than one quarter (30%) of respondents check the food rating of pubs.

The FSA runs the biannual consumer attitudes survey to track consumer awareness of the food hygiene rating scheme, attitudes towards it and the use of ratings over time.

Other key findings of the survey included that half of all respondents in England, and 57% in Northern Ireland, were aware of the food hygiene rating scheme.

The source of information attracting the most comments was the rating being on display or within a food business. Also, food standards issues such as those concerning allergens, labelling and composition were considered by 73% of respondents as issues that should be taken into account during an inspection.

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