Despite potential difficulties posed by the Games, food businesses are rising to the challenge and are preparing for a successful summer. That’s according to a snapshot of views from food businesses, gathered on behalf of the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The informal survey of 59 food business owners found that half are expecting higher numbers of visitors during the Olympic period, and have been preparing for it. In total, two thirds (67%) expected to be affected by the Games in some way, whether they are based near a venue or not.

The main concern for food businesses is transport restrictions, with almost 80% listing this as their biggest worry. The possibility of having to stockpile food was also an issue for a third (31%) of those who responded to the survey.

However, these challenges have clearly been faced head-on by many food businesses, with fewer than one in five owners saying they’ll change nothing about their business for the Games. Over 40% of respondents said they are changing their food storage arrangements, and one in five are having an increased focus on food safety and training. An impressive 65% have been speaking to their suppliers to ensure there are no unforeseen problems when the Games begin.

Embracing the spirit of the Games is also on the menu for some in the industry, with one in 10 food businesses planning to offer special or themed food for their extra customers.

Overall, a healthy majority of food businesses feel prepared for the Games with just 14% feeling the impact is too unpredictable for them to plan for. Over a third (36%) see the Games as an opportunity to maximise profits; however, 32% believe it will mostly be an inconvenience.

Sarah Appleby, head of enforcement at the Food Standards Agency, commented: “We believe the Olympic Games are a great opportunity for British food businesses to showcase themselves to an international audience. It’s good to see that many are preparing for the Games and have thought about what the challenges may be over the summer, and how they can counteract any potential problems.

“For businesses that are still unsure about the impact that the Games may have on them, we suggest visiting our dedicated site, We are here to support businesses through this busy but exciting time.”

Wayne Willis is Sous Chef at Venue Birmingham, part of the University of Birmingham where the Jamaican track and field team has been based for their pre-Olympic training camp.

Chef Willis said:  “Cooking for some of the world’s top athletes has undoubtedly been a highlight of my career so far, playing my part in preparations for the biggest competition of their lives.  The challenge has been about adapting what we already do, to cater for the athletes’ specific tastes and nutritional requirements.  Jamaican food is very popular in Birmingham so we were able to find well-established companies to work with and they have provided an excellent service.”

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