Purpose: This study aimed to provide an in-depth overview of FDMPBs FSSC/TA in Wales, including the drivers, benefits, barriers, and support to enable Welsh FDMPBs to obtain/maintain FSSC/TA.
Methods: A mixed-methods research approach was utilized, including self-completed questionnaires by Welsh FDMPBs (n=103) to identify FSSC/TA, focus groups with FDMPBs and stakeholders (n=59) to identify barriers to obtaining/maintaining FSSC/TA, and self-completed-questionnaires (n=34) to identify required support.
Results: The majority of Welsh FDMPBs (60%) reported having FSSC/TA, including British Retail Consortium (BRC) (24%) and Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) (16%). Micro-FDMPBs (<10 employees/turnover <£250,000) were associated with lack of FSSC/TA (P<0.001). SALSA was most frequently found among small/medium-FDMPBs, and BRC was associated with large-FDMPBs (>250 employees/turnover >£50M) (P<0.001). It was determined that FDMPBs with FSSC/TA were significantly more likely (P<0.05) to supply wholesale, major retailers, food service, and the public sectors than those without FSSC/TA. Customer requirement was the key drivers for FSSC/TA. Identified benefits of FSSC/TA included supply chain security and business growth. Barriers to obtaining/maintaining FSSC/TA were broadly defined as, knowledge and skills, time, cost and resources, and communication and access to information. Support to overcome barriers included funding for training and advice, assistance with the implementation of food safety management systems, and pre-audits.
Significance: Significant associations were determined between sector, size, and accreditation. The research has identified the support required for Welsh FDMPBs to overcome the barriers to obtaining/maintaining FSSC/TA. Such data may inform the development of support mechanisms to enable increased uptake of FSSC/TA and accelerate food sector growth that will align with Welsh Government aspirations.