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Return on Investment of Food Safety Training in Canadian Companies

There are many reasons that food safety training pays back companies that invest in it. A study undertaken by Safe Food Canada, ROI of Food Safety Training in Canadian Companies, had a look at some of the hard numbers to look at how food safety training was paying back to companies that invested in it across Canada. It was the first study of its kind in Canada, and was released in February of 2016.

Significant number of employees receive food training

All of the companies surveyed stated that 89% to 100% of their employees received food safety training of some kind. Front-line employees typically received onsite training, and 65% of employees were sent to external training such as courses and conferences. The average annual numbers of training hours per year varied greatly among the different sizes of business (small, medium & large) as evidenced in the below chart.

The average dollars spent per employee per year ranged from:

• Less than $500: 50%

• $500-$1,000: 25%

• Over $1,000: 25%

Unfortunately, only 50% of companies surveyed kept accurate track of their food safety training expenditures, so the data is somewhat limited.

The conclusion of the study was that a deeper study had to be engaged in order to come up with a proper ROI on food safety training. Common complaints that they heard from surveyed companies were:

• Basic food safety training felt inadequate

• Small businesses wanted regulations to be tailored to their size of business

Safe Food Canada researchers also recommended performance measurement metrics that would allow companies to report on how food safety training has improved their business, or to at least keep track of expenditures. They also recommended that more training materials be made available in French to cover the needs of French-speaking employees.

Our own conclusions after reviewing the study

Food safety training should not be perceived as a necessary regulatory compliance requirement. It should be used as part of a company’s quality improvement process. Companies which spend a significant amount on food safety training per employee should use this in their marketing, showing Canadians that their business takes safe food handling and preparation seriously and building trust in the brand. One only needs to look south of the border to the Chipotle's stock value drop to see how unsafe food safety practices can seriously impact a business – even one with a brand as strong as Chipotle’s.

Small businesses have particular challenges with food safety training; there is less relief available from other employees if an employee needs to take time out for training, and there is less budget for food safety training. Additionally, many food safety training materials are targeted to larger businesses.

Food Safety Market offers online courses for food safety training that are easily accessible by front-line employees, most of which can be completed in one day. We also offer offsite classes in various cities across Canada and training sessions on request. Our materials and classes are also available in French. Contact us today to find out how we can help you implement a food safety training program tailored to the needs of your company.

For more information about the online and in-class food safety training offered by the experts at Food Safety Market, visit the enroll page here.