The British Sandwich & Food to Go Association represents those businesses in the manufacture, retailing and supply of ingredients/equitment for the sandwich and food to go markets.
Originally named the British Sandwich Association, our remit has grown over the years and we officially changed our name in 2015 to formally include the wider food to go market. For brevity, the BSA is still used as it has long since been a recognised shorthand for the Association.
We set technical standards, encourage innovation and excellence while providing a collective voice for all involved in the making, distribution and retailing of sandwiches, sushi, salads, baked goods and the full spectrum of food to go.
The Association was founded in January 1990 the abbreviation BSA has become nationally recognisd by all in the industry. Renamed in 2015 but we still retain the BSA moniker.
As the voice of all organisations involved in the manufacture, distribution and retail of sandwiches and food to go, the primary aims of the BSA are:
- To safeguard the integrity of the sandwich and food to go industry by setting technical standards by encouraging improvement in the industry
- To promote excellence and innovation
- To provide a source of information for the industry
- To promote the consumption of sandwiches and food to go products
- To provide a collective voice for all those involved in making, distributing and retailing sandwiches and food to go and to represent the views of the industry
- SAFETY - To safeguard the integrity of the sandwich and food to go market by setting standards for the preparation of food, by encouraging excellence and by encouraging the development of the industry in terms of skills, innovation and overall market development
- GROWTH - To encourage positive growth both in the market and the Association both through the development of the organisation and by promoting the consumption of sandwiches and food to go
- COMMUNICATION - To represent the interests of the industry and members to Government and all those in a position influence the industry or factors affecting the industry
- SUPPORT - To provide a source of support and information for members
The Association is a non-commercial organisation run on behalf of its members by Food Events & Things (FEAT) Ltd. which is commercially responsible for all the activities undertaken by the British Sandwich and Food to Go Association. FEAT also runs other similar organisations, including the Pizza Pasta & Italian Food Association, The Café Life Association and The Event Services Association. It also provides the Secretariat for the Events Industry Forum for which it publishes the Purple Guide for outdoor events across the UK.
The policy body responsible for guiding the Association is the Management Committee, which comprises a balanced group of full members of the Association who are elected each year. In addition to the chair and vice-chair, who can come from any sector of the organisation, the committee includes up to two manufacturers, two retailers, one sandwich and food to go chain, two independent operators, two retail bakers, two caterers, two suppliers and a representative from the van sales/distribution sector.
Full membership of the Association is open to any organisation involved in the sandwich and food to go industry – including retailers, suppliers, sandwich bars, street/mobile vendors manufacturers etc. – provided that they can prove that they at least match the minimum standards required by the Association in its Codes of Practice.
- In the case of manufacturers and high risk suppliers, the Association requires that its own auditor inspects the production facilities and systems of the organisation.
- In the case of lower risk suppliers, evidence of appropriate standards from a recognised independent source may, in some cases, suffice.
- All retailers must have a Food Hygiene Rating of at least three – in the case of chains they must have an average rating across the business of at least three.
Only full members of the Association are permitted to call themselves ‘Members’ or to use the BSA logo. Only members have access to the information resources of the Association.
A subscription is available for those just wishing to receive copies of either International Sandwich & Food to Go News or its sister publication Café Life Magazine.
Any organisation leaving membership must remove all reference to the Association, membership and the logo within six weeks of leaving membership.
Auditing, Technical Support Services Services & Codes of Practice
The Association provides a wide range of technical support services to members. These include:
- Codes of Practice have been established for all sectors of the industry, including manufacturing, retailing and sandwich bar operation. There are also guidelines for sandwich vending and for mobile catering which have been put together with the Automatic Vending Association (AVAB) and the Mobile and Outside Catering Association (MOCA). The standards set by the BSA are now widely acknowledged as the minimums required for safe food preparation.
- Technical Audits As part of its membership scheme, the Association’s auditor visits both manufacturers and suppliers on a regular basis to ensure that they continue to comply with the BSA standards set out in its Codes of Practice. Copies of audits undertaken by the Association are made available to buyers with the permission of those being audited.
One of the features of the BSA audit is its consistency, with the same auditor visiting suppliers and all manufacturers. In the case of sandwich bars and street/mobile vednors, an independent report may be sought confirming compliance with the BSA standards. This is then backed up by random spot checks by BSA auditors.
- Consultancy, Advice and Assistance Through the Association, members have access to a large resource of information and assistance. Each year thousands of calls are made to the Association from people seeking advice and help on anything from where to obtain particular products to issues relating to health and safety or VAT. In addition, the Association provides full members with free access to a 24-hour legal help-line service staffed by solicitors.
- Technical Group As well as the provision of specific services, the Association has an active Joint Technical Forum which meets regularly to discuss and consider issues affecting the industry. Any members or subscribers can attend meetings of the Group.
- Campden BRI The British Sandwich and Food to Go Association works closely with CampdenBRI and has access to its research and technical facilities. Meetings of the Joint Tehnical Forum sometimes take place at the CCFRA’s headquarters in Gloucestershire.
A number of sandwich industry publications are produced in association with the British Sandwich and Food to Go Association by J&M Group Ltd. These include:
- International Sandwich & Food to go News Magazine - Launched in November 1990, then titled Sandwich & Snack News, the leading trade publication is published six times a year. While the magazine supports the Association and its members, particularly through the exclusive member index to suppliers at the back of the publication, it is independently published and does not necessarily always reflect the views of the Association. Sandwich & Food to Go News provides sandwich makers, retailers and others with up-to-date information and advice on everything from legislation and good practice to recipes. Copies of the magazine are free to members.
- Café Life Magazine – Published six times a year, this publication focuses on the café/coffee bar sector and is circulated free to members.
- Ebulletins - up-to-date information about the activities of the Association and issues affecting members is circulated exclusively to members of the Association with the aim of giving them advance warning of events as well as information about new legislation etc. Ebulletins are issued by email approximately twice a month.
The British Sandwich and Food to Go Association's trade web site can be found at www.sandwich.org.uk.