BRC or SALSA? Your Best Option For Certification…

For food and drink companies looking to expand their business, a third-party food safety certification can be the best investment for attracting potential new clients.

By obtaining a food safety certification such as BRC or SALSA, businesses demonstrate to existing and potential clients that they operate to a high level of safety across all areas.

Clients will know that your business is actively monitoring and continually improving product quality, safety and legality. We often receive enquiries from businesses looking to grow their business, but are unsure of the certification best suited to their operation. For food manufacturers, business owners may be torn between applying for a  SALSA certification or BRC Food Safety certification.


The SALSA standard (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) has been designed specifically for small food and drink producers within the UK. SALSA provides a robust foundation for businesses to adapt their food safety management system as their business grows. So for small, growing businesses, SALSA certification can be a fantastic investment to open up conversations and win new business with larger retailers and wholesalers.

SALSA is often seen as a ‘stepping stone’ for businesses before taking on the more ‘onerous’ challenge of BRC. Whilst many large retailers and wholesalers will look for BRC salsa standards logocertification as part of their supplier approval process, SALSA is becoming increasingly recognised and encouraged by brands such as Morrisons. In 2017, Morrisons launched ‘The Nation’s Local Foodmakers’ programme, aiming to source over 200 local speciality suppliers across England, Scotland and Wales in their first year. Russell Haggata, Morrisons Technical Category Manager comments, ‘Morrisons uses the SALSA criteria as a guide when selecting small, local businesses to work with. When a local supplier is SALSA certified, it gives us the confidence that they will deliver safe, good quality local food for our customers.’  

SALSA’s reputable certification scheme has also recently become available for those involved in the brokerage, storage and distribution of food products (June 2021), which can open doors to many commercial opportunities. This standard is an excellent option for local wholesalers or fine food distributors, for instance.

BRC Food Safety

BRC global standards logoAlternatively, food producers might opt to apply for BRC Food Safety certification. The BRC standards are globally recognised and are well regarded across the industry. Many large retailers and wholesalers will require BRC as a minimum across the supply chain, from manufacturing to packaging to distribution. As BRC is so well renowned internationally, many businesses choose to apply for BRC Food Safety certification, rather than the SALSA standard which is limited to UK producers.

{Please note that BRC is now called BRCGS, which stands for “Brand Reputation through Compliance Global Standards”. We are in the process of updating our content to reflect this change in branding.}

The BRC Food Safety Standard is all about the measurement, review and assessment of the factors that influence food safety. It is one of the standards recognised by the GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative), so it has global recognition. The BRC standard is often regarded as more onerous than SALSA, so depending on the existing food safety systems you have in place, may require more work in order to reach compliance before audit day. As a more comprehensive and detailed standard, the BRC Food Safety standard represents a more advanced food safety system.

To summarise, the SALSA standard is a fantastic option for small, growing businesses looking to expand their business, without taking on the more challenging prospect of BRC. For businesses with an effective Food Safety Management System in place, BRC certification offers a globally recognised standard that can win new business from large wholesalers and retailers. Ultimately, the decision between SALSA or BRC should come down to what your potential customers require in order to take you on as a supplier.

For advice on what Food Safety certification is best suited to your operations, please submit an enquiry below, or contact us directly on 08450 267 745.

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