09 Apr 2024

Peter’s Food share their journey to achieving Food Safety & Quality Culture Excellence

Culture sits at the heart of a business and is reflected in the values felt and demonstrated by people at all levels. It's something that an organisation is, rather than something an organisation has.

In recent years, the increasing importance of food safety & quality culture is demonstrated by the inclusion in EU Legislation, Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards and the Codex Alimentarius.

The IFST reports that excellence in food safety and quality culture ultimately leads to high quality products, increased customer trust, and the sustained success of a food business. In fact there are 54% less food handling errors in businesses that have a strong culture and those with immature food safety cultures can see a drop of over 20% in sales compared to those that are more mature.

Because food safety culture is behaviour-based, measuring it is notoriously difficult.  Having achieved an outstanding result in their BRCGS Food Safety audit with Intertek; we meet with Peter's Food Technical Director Rebecca Stewart who kindly provides insight into their journey to food safety and quality culture excellence.

About Peter's Food

Peter's Food is a UK, Wales-based manufacturer and supplier of pies, pasties, slices, sausage rolls, IQF sausages, chilled and frozen saveloy's and factored products to retail, food service, catering and hospitality outlets across the United Kingdom. With some 700 staff across manufacturing sites, a van sales network and seven regional depots, it is one of the largest employers in Wales.

Journey to Food Safety & Quality Culture

The Senior Management team at Peter's Food began their assessment of their food safety and quality culture by sharing a questionnaire developed in-house across the company to get a baseline and an understanding on areas of focus and improvement for the project. Next, food safety & quality culture 'champions' were appointed to lead the initiative. However, it soon became apparent that this approach was not enough, and that the business needed to change its view and determine a strategy for creating and continuously improving engagement at all levels of the business.

Says Rebecca Stewart – Technical Director at Peter's Food:

"Food Safety & Quality Culture is not just about Senior Management Commitment. It's about Team engagement, involvement and listening to your staff. This will promote a positive change in culture which drives food safety, food quality and staff morale. All positive changes benefit the work force and the business and ultimately, the customer."

Peter's Food decided to invest in an external tool to help them assess and improve their food safety and quality culture and meet the standards requirement and has an ongoing continuous improvement approach as a business. The BRCGS Food Safety Culture Excellence (FSCE) module provides a simple way to convert the broad concept of culture into a measurable score and actionable analysis. If repeated annually, it provides a baseline with which to compare the success of ongoing investments and changes to ensure continuous improvement and effective food safety management.

The BRCGS Food Safety Culture Excellence assessment captures, measures and categorises cultural data, providing results across over 80 datapoints, including a total, scores for four different categories and 20 dimensions, plus strengths, weaknesses, barriers, positives and industry benchmarking. Data from employees is captured through a short confidential survey which provided a report pinpointing strengths and weaknesses.

After their initial FSCE assessment, Peter's Food embarked on an ambitious improvement journey to strengthen the culture throughout the organisation, including awareness, education, and fun competitions to raise awareness and reward effort. Measures implemented included easy-to-understand in-house training, and a crossword competition on nuts with a free breakfast prize.

To maintain engagement, large noticeboards around the company's site and TV monitors were implemented in all the canteen facilities, snack bar and reception areas are regularly updated with food safety news, quality issues and the latest scores and improvements. Furthermore, competitions, wordsearches based on food safety, suggestion boxes, awareness, and training to encourage and give key knowledge on why the food safety and quality culture forms an improvement part of day-to-day life at Peter's. In addition, whenever the company has an audit such as BRCGS, Technical Director Rebecca Stewart will always send daily updates, share the positives, and call out those team members who have done especially well. So much so, that Peter's Food latest BRCGS audit with Intertek was a resounding success.

"We care passionately about getting it right to drive continuous improvement, so this is a massive part of our day-to-day remit. Supporting the initiative results in a changed culture, and the behaviours of the entire business change for the better."

Food safety and quality culture is about excellence. It's about continuous improvement, to be the best in your field. During our BRCGS Food Safety Audit with Intertek, we were confident and proud to demonstrate our robust food safety and quality culture across Peter's Food which helped towards our retained success in certification."


Intertek is an accredited Certification Body, authorised to carry out food safety audits to BRCGS Global Standards.  Let us help you on your journey to certification.

Learn more about BRCGS Certification and our food safety training courses.


Rebecca Stewart headshot

Rebecca Stewart,
Technical Director at Peter's Food

Rebecca has an extensive career in food safety and quality roles for food manufacturers. She has been with Peter's Food for 8 years and as Technical Director is responsible for all technical and quality aspects for the site, which includes the bakery, sausage house and food service side of the business.  The company is passionate about "getting it right, first time" in order to drive continuous improvement, so food safety and quality culture is a key element of her day-to-day remit.

You may be interested in...