Caterers buying more green products

GREEN CLEANING products are more popular than they were five years ago, according to new research.


Almost two thirds (60%) of 750 businesses quizzed in an independent survey said they buy more eco-friendly cleaning products now than in 2008.


The survey, commissioned by catering equipment distributor Nisbets, also found that the use of environmental products was particularly prevalent in the workplace, with just 27% of companies still buying traditional options.


The research also revealed the significant investment outlets make to ensure their venues are hygienic throughout: over 40% spend between £100 to £500 on cleaning products each month; 44% purchase cleaning products once a week, with pubs and QSR outlets the most regular buyers.


The results follow research by Which? claiming that hygiene in food outlets is a “postcode lottery”. The consumer group analysed the hygiene ratings at establishments in more than 2,000 postcodes, uncovering wide variations in standards between different locations and among high street chains.


In the restaurant category, one in seven (13%) Little Chefs inspected had low ratings, while one in five (18%) La Tasca outlets inspected were found to have a rating less than “generally satisfactory”.


Which? says its figures are an accurate representation, but La Tasca begs to differ. “This research needs to be put in context,” said a spokeswoman.


“The scores are taken from only six sites that remain in our current estate of 47 sites, which is representative of 10% of our estate and our internal scores indicate that the six sampled were in the bottom quartile at the time. We are now confident [under the new management team appointed in 2011] that as a business none of our restaurants would fall under the ‘three’ rating,” she added.


Which? wants all outlets that serve food to the public to display their hygiene score prominently so “people can make an informed choice”. The display of hygiene ratings is currently voluntary. However, by the end of the year food businesses in Wales will have to display their ratings in a “prominent position”, or face a fine under new legislation. The British Hospitality Association has criticised the move, and suggested that inspections are not consistent.


However, Lisa Ackerley, visiting professor at the University of Salford and MD at Hygiene Audit Systems, said the current voluntary system is “a little half-hearted”.


“I’d like to see ratings displayed as mandatory. If the Food Standards Agency is going to invest in a ratings system then why not publicise it,” she told Footprint.


  • Lisa Ackerley’s take on the Which? findings can be found here.
  • The Which? report and the role of hygiene ratings will be featured in June’s Footprint magazine.