Channel resellers are set to play a key role in supporting food retailers in meeting the upcoming Natasha’s Law food safety guidelines, according to a new report by business technology solutions provider Brother UK.
The survey of 100 food retailers that will be affected when the regulation amendment comes into force next October found that just one in five (20%) are completely prepared to meet the requirements of the incoming law, lowering to only one in ten (13%) for smaller businesses*.
Almost half of all respondents (47%) revealed they don’t have adequate labelling solutions in place to address Natasha’s Law. Of those that do have labelling systems in their kitchens, close to a third (32%) still use handwritten labels.
This is despite 94% of food retailers saying their business takes allergens very seriously, with almost seven in ten (69%) having already offered staff some training on the new regulations specifically.
The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019, commonly known as Natasha’s Law will come into force across England in October 2021. Under the new law, all Pre-Packed for Direct Sales (PPDS) products, which includes fresh foods like salads, sandwiches and soups that are made and packaged on-site, will have to be labelled to make clear what the name of the food is and provide a full list of ingredients, with all allergens emphasised.
Aaron Hopkinson, product and solutions manager for Specialty Print Solutions and Labelling at Brother UK, said: “Natasha’s Law is going to transform food labelling for the better, and it’s encouraging to see that businesses are taking this seriously, with focused training and implementation already underway in many.
“That said, the consequences of not meeting the requirements are high, with possible fines, reputational damage and risk to customer safety, so it’s vital food retailers have appropriate solutions and processes in place as soon as possible.
“Channel resellers will have an essential role to play in helping the industry equip staff with suitable intelligent labelling tools before next October. Handwritten labels are liable to errors and can cause issues with legibility. As such, food industry customers are turning to channel partners to see how digital solutions can help to boost safety while streamlining processes.
“Brother label printers that are integrated with specialist food labelling software can help food businesses to protect their customers – while hardware-as-a-service platforms, such as our Managed Label Services, are making these systems accessible and cash flow friendly to customers.”
Working with experts from NT Assure, Nutritics and Labelling Solutions, Brother has created an in-depth guide to help food businesses get up to speed with the new legislation and provides practical tips on achieving compliance.
A survey of 100 senior individuals working in food retailers that package goods onsite, including eateries, supermarkets, wholesale distributors, restaurants and bars, was carried out by independent research company Coleman Parkes and commissioned by Brother UK.
*Smaller businesses are defined as those packaging less than 500 PPDS products per week.