Food Hygiene Report 2023 | UK Ratings | Towns, Cities & Counties

Food Hygiene: Know the score 2023 Report

What are food hygiene ratings and how does your area perform?

We are High Speed Training, and since 2008, we have certified over 2.5 million learners, including hundreds of thousands of people that have received food hygiene qualifications from us.

Food hygiene ratings are critical to both customers and business owners. At a glance, they allow consumers to understand an establishment's approach to hygienic practices and make informed decisions by presenting the necessary information about an establishment. They also provide businesses an opportunity to show potential customers their commitment to maintaining standards.

To help businesses and customers across the UK understand the importance of these ratings, we have investigated food hygiene and safety standards for premises all across the UK.

To create average ratings for major towns and cities, we analysed Food Standards Agency (FSA) data for over 230,000 food businesses across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

We conducted a similar report in 2022, and here, we will explore not only how things have changed, but explain what makes up a rating, and why it should be something you look out for when choosing where to eat.

The Results

By using the interactive map and table below, you can see how your region, town or city ranks against the rest of the country

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South West
East Counties
South East
North West
North East
West Midlands
East Midlands
Northern Ireland
Yorkshire & Humber

Overall Results

You can filter these results by Region or by Town/City:

North East

Ranked #5 of 11

Yorkshire & Humber

Ranked #7 of 11

South West

Ranked #2 of 11


Ranked #9 of 11

East Counties

Ranked #6 of 11

East Midlands

Ranked #3 of 11


Ranked #11 of 11

North West

Ranked #8 of 11

Northern Ireland

Ranked #1 of 11


Scotland uses a different rating system to the rest of the UK which has two main ratings - 'Pass' or 'Improvement Required'. We have provided the percentage pass rates by local authority below.

South East

Ranked #4 of 11

West Midlands

Ranked #10 of 11

What is the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme?

The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) is a partnership with local authorities in England, Wales & Northern Ireland. The scheme provides customers with information about the hygiene standards of a business.

An Environmental Health Officer (EHO) or other authorised officer from the local authority will visit a business at different intervals, depending on the level of 'risk' the business presents. This can vary from a visit every 6 months for Category A premises, to up to three years for Category E premises. An establishment that often handles fresh and raw food is considered at higher risk than one which mostly sells pre-packaged food.

To ensure that food safety regulations are being adhered to, the EHO will conduct an inspection of the establishment. The business is then rated based on the findings. The criteria and rating scale are summarised below.

What makes up a rating?

Hygienic food handling and practices

This covers how the business prepares, cooks, re-heats, cools and stores the food.

Physical condition of the premises and facilities

This ensures the location is clean, has an appropriate layout, adequate lighting, suitable ventilation, pest control and other facilities.

Confidence in Management

This evaluates if the business takes suitable precautions to keep food safe. This can include Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems, staff training records and logs of relevant checks.

These 3 elements make up the overall food hygiene rating which is scored out of 5 as follows:

0 1 2 3 4 5

0 = Urgent Improvement Needed

0 1 2 3 4 5

1 = Major Improvement Needed

0 1 2 3 4 5

2 = Some Improvement Needed

0 1 2 3 4 5

3 = Satisfactory

0 1 2 3 4 5

4 = Good

0 1 2 3 4 5

5 = Very Good

A food hygiene rating sticker showing a 5 star rating for an establishment.

These ratings are made available on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) website and are often visible from outside of the premises, usually presented in a window near the entrance. This is an example of a Food Hygiene Rating sticker, which you will regularly see displayed.

In Wales and Northern Ireland, it is compulsory for businesses to display their food hygiene rating. However, in England, it is currently just considered best practice.

Scotland's Food Hygiene Information Scheme

A similar scheme operates in Scotland, the Food Hygiene Information Scheme (FHIS). After an EHO has reviewed the safety systems, observed food hygiene in practice and spoken with the staff, the businesses are given either:

Scotland Scheme Pass Image


The business meets the legal standard of food hygiene.


Scotland Scheme Improve Image

Improvement Required

The legal standard of food hygiene was not evident during the inspection. The business will need to improve certain areas to then qualify for a pass.

As in England, it is not required by law for a business to display the rating they receive. However, the FHIS is available for customers to view online.

Key Findings

Top 3 overall towns and cities


Top 3 overall regions

Northern Ireland
South West
East Midlands

Top 3 overall large cities


21% of takeaways in England, Wales and Northern Ireland had a food hygiene rating of 3 or below

7 out of 11 regions in the UK improved their average food hygiene score from 2022

489 food establishments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland scored a zero for their food hygiene rating

69.55% of food establishments in the UK scored a 5 on their FH rating, with 87.5% scoring 4 and above, both increasing from 2022

Average rating across England, Northern Ireland and Wales rose to 4.53 from 4.51 in 2022

The average Pass rate in Scotland has risen from to 91.8% to 92.13%

Findings by region

We have compiled a list of key facts for each region of England, along with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Select a region from the options to get specific findings for where you live.

East Counties

6th In regional rankings
4.58 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.58 - 2022: 4.54
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  • Ipswich has the highest rating in the East Counties region, and the second highest rating of all towns and cities in the UK, with an average rating of 4.90.
  • The biggest climbers in the region were Peterborough and Basildon, who each climbed 3 places in the region’s rankings, climbing from 8th and 9th to 5th and 6th respectively.
  • Basildon has seen the largest ratings improvement in the region, improving from an average rating of 4.53 in 2022 to a rating of 4.65 in 2023.
  • St Albans remained the lowest ranked in the region, with an average score of 4.27.
  • Chelmsford (-0.05) Hemel Hempstead (-0.05) and Luton (-0.04) are the only places in the region whose ratings have gone down from 2022.
  • 16% of takeaways in the region scored a 3 or below
  • 91% of restaurants are rated 4 or 5, and 95% of hotels, B&Bs and guest houses are rated 4 or 5.
  • 10% of establishments are rated 3 or lower
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East Midlands

3rd In regional rankings
4.61 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.61 - 2022 - 4.61
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  • The East Midlands (3rd, average of 4.61) performed significantly better than the West Midlands (10th, average of 4.41).
  • Nottingham has the highest rating in the East Midlands region with an average rating of 4.77.
  • Northampton has the lowest rating in the East Midlands region with an average of 4.19.
  • 18% of takeaways in the region have a rating of 3 or lower, with an average rating of 4.37.
  • Almost 90% of establishments scored 4 or 5 for their food hygiene rating.
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11th In regional rankings
4.34 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.34 - 2022: 4.31
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  • Kensington and Chelsea has the highest rating of all the London Boroughs with an average of 4.78.
  • Waltham Forest has the lowest rating of London boroughs, with an average rating of 3.77.
  • If London boroughs were counted as separate towns, one would claim each of the three bottom spots in the country - Newham: 3.98, Ealing: 3.97, Waltham Forest: 3.77.
  • Hounslow has the highest average rating increase in London, improving its rating by 0.21 from 4.28 in 2022, to 4.49 climbing 9 places in the process.
  • Westminster placed 15th with an average rating of 4.40 coming from over 3,000 establishments.
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North East

5th In regional rankings
4.59 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.59 - 2022: 4.56
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  • Hartlepool has the highest rating in the North East region with an average of 4.85.
  • Darlington slips to 3rd from 1st, dropping by 0.03 to 4.80.
  • No town or city in the North East has a lower average rating than 4.34 overall.
  • Newcastle won the Tyne-Wear derby over Sunderland with an overall average rating of 4.58 vs 4.34.
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North West

8th In regional rankings
4.44 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.44 - 2022: 4.41
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  • Southport has the highest average food hygiene rating of all towns and cities in the UK, with an average rating of 4.92.
  • Bolton has the lowest average rating in the North West region with an average of 4.09, though it did see the largest rating improvement, by 0.12.
  • Manchester triumph in the big local derby, with a rating of 4.30 compared to Liverpool's 4.28.
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Northern Ireland

1st In regional rankings
4.68 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.68 - 2022: 4.69
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  • Northern Ireland has the highest rating of all regions in the UK, with an average rating of 4.68 out of 5, down slightly from 4.69 in 2022.
  • Mid and East Antrim retains the highest rating in the country, with an average of 4.81
  • Antrim and Newtownabbey record the biggest ratings drop, by 0.08 to 4.62.
  • Ards and North Down remain bottom of the NI rankings, though saw a slight increase from 2022, up 0.03 to 4.60.
  • The gap between the top region and the bottom region is only 0.21, the smallest spread of any region in the UK
  • No region in Northern Ireland has a lower average rating than 4.6.
  • Belfast has the third highest average rating in the whole of the UK when compared with other larger towns and cities (with over 1,000 establishments).
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N/A In regional rankings
N/A average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2022: 91.8% - 2019: 89.5%
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  • The average pass rate for Scotland has risen from 91.8% in 2022 to 92.13% in 2023.
  • South Ayrshire ranks highest in Scotland with a pass rate of 99.82%, up 0.21% from 2022.
  • The Shetland Islands rank lowest in Scotland in the latest food hygiene ratings report, with a pass rate of 77.45%, following a drop of 3.74% - the highest in the country.
  • East Dunbartonshire saw the biggest improvement, climbing by over 5%.
  • Edinburgh ranks 27th in Scotland for food hygiene, with a pass rate of 86.6%
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South East

4th In regional rankings
4.60 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.60 - 2023: 4.60
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  • Hastings retains the top spot in the South East region with an average of 4.87.
  • High Wycombe is bottom of the region's rankings, with an average score of 4.37, though it did increase its average score from 4.27 in 2019.
  • Slough saw the greatest improvement in the region, improving its rating from 4.29 to 4.47.
  • Chatham's national rating fell more than any other town surveyed, falling from 7th in 2019 to 32nd in 2022, losing 0.17 from its average rating.
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South West

2nd In regional rankings
4.66 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.66 - 2022: 4.65
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  • Exeter has the highest rating in the South West region with an average of 4.79.
  • Gloucester loses its top spot from 2019, slipping to 4th with an average rating of 4.74.
  • No town or city in the UK had a larger drop in average rating than Bath, falling by 0.25.
  • Bath has the lowest average rating in the region, with a rating of 4.34.
  • Bristol (7th in region) has improved its rating more than any other place in the region, increasing by 0.15.
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8th In regional rankings
4.42 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.42- 2022: 4.43
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  • Wales is one of only two regions to see a drop in average rating, by 0.01.
  • Gwynedd has the highest average rating in Wales, just as they did in 2022, scoring 4.83.
  • Merthyr Tydfil has the lowest rating in Wales with an average of 3.92. It is one of only two regions in Wales with a rating below 4.
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf, are second bottom, with a score of 3.95.
  • Bridgend had the biggest rating increase, by 0.12 to 4.29. Denbighsire saw the biggest fall, by 0.17 to 4.30.
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West Midlands

10th In regional rankings
4.41 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.41 - 2022: 4.37
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  • The West Midlands (10th, 4.37) performed significantly worse than the East Midlands (3rd, 4.61).
  • Newcastle-Under-Lyme has the highest rating in the West Midlands region with an average of 4.78.
  • Walsall has the lowest rating in the West Midlands region with an average of 4.03, though their rating has increased from 4.00 in 2022.
  • More than 1 in 4 (25.78%) of takeaways in the region scored a 3 or below.
  • 40% of takeaways in Birmingham were rated 3 or below, with 11% rated 1 or lower.
  • The West Midlands has the two lowest rated towns/cities in the UK - Birmingham (4.03) and Walsall (4.03).
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Yorkshire and Humber

7th In regional rankings
4.53 average score
  • Overall region change:
  • 2023: 4.53 - 2022: 4.51
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  • Harrogate is top of the Yorkshire and Humber rankings with an average rating of 4.79, placing it in the top ten of UK towns and cities.
  • Halifax has the lowest average rating of all major towns and cities in the Yorkshire and Humber region, with an average rating of 4.20.
  • Scunthorpe and Ripon improved their ratings by 0.11 - the highest increases in the region.
  • Ripon also has the second highest average score in the Yorkshire and Humber region with an average rating of 4.72.
  • The biggest cities in the region: Sheffield (4.52), Leeds (4.51) and Bradford (4.31) placed 7th, 8th and 11th in the regions respectively.
  • More than 1 in 10 (11.19%) establishments in the region scored 3 or below.
  • Almost 1 in 5 takeaways (19.95%) in Yorkshire and Humberside scored a 3 or below.
  • 91% of restaurants, cafes and canteens in Yorkshire and Humber scored a 5.
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For Customers

It's Down To You To Check

Although food businesses have a legal duty to run their business hygienically, customers should always check a business's hygiene rating if they want to minimise the risk of eating at an unsafe establishment.

Over the past few years, there's been an increasing demand for England to follow Northern Ireland and Wales in making it mandatory for businesses to display their ratings. Currently, a third of UK food outlets do not display their food hygiene rating.

It's always best to double-check a rating if you are unsure using the Food Standards Agency's information or by downloading the Scores on the Doors app on your mobile.

Food Hygiene and Norovirus

Recent cases of norovirus are reported to be 77% higher than average in the UK, with cases at their highest in over a decade. As norovirus is a highly infectious virus that can be ingested through contaminated produce, good food hygiene practices are essential to preventing it from spreading. The recent surge in norovirus in the UK highlights the dangers posed by businesses operating unhygienically, with the FSA estimating that eating out accounts for 37% of all foodborne norovirus cases.

Takeaways Need To Improve

According to our data, 21% of takeaways in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have a hygiene rating of 3 or lower, although this rises to as high as 1 in 4 in some areas. This is a huge contrast to only 4.91% of hotels and guest houses that received a score of 3 or lower.

Furthermore, the number of takeaways that require 'major' or 'urgent' improvement (a rating of one or lower), highlights a huge problem. Over 3% of takeaways and sandwich shops across England, Northern Ireland and Wales fall into this bracket.

Only One Third of the Rating is Based on the Hygienic Handling of Food

There are three individual components that make up a food hygiene rating. One-third of the rating considers the building's physical attributes and one-third takes into account the food safety management systems in place. We found that over 3.5% of businesses in the UK have a rating of 2 or lower, suggesting that they required improvement. Not all of these concern the physical handling of food, however. For example, issues such as peeling paint within the premises can affect the business's overall ratings.

For Businesses

Customers Care

Businesses should take their food hygiene rating seriously. As more and more customers recognise the sticker, it can have a significant impact on your reputation and profitability.

In recent research conducted by the FSA, it was found that FHRS stickers are considered a trustworthy sign of food hygiene standards. The public frequently checks ratings and avoids lower-rated businesses as a way of reducing the risks when purchasing food from restaurants and takeaways.

Additionally, the research suggests that it is common to assume that if a business doesn't display its food hygiene rating, it's probably because it received a low score. Therefore, people are more likely to avoid purchasing from a business that doesn't display its food hygiene rating sticker on its premises.

The FSA actively encourages marketing a good rating to attract customers and it's clear why. Attaining and advertising a good food hygiene rating can have a significantly positive impact on the number of customers who choose to use your services and therefore the profit you make.

One Poor Inspection Can Hurt

Even if your establishment currently has a good food hygiene rating, a bad score from the past can continue to negatively impact business. It can take up to six months or premises to be re-visited following an unsatisfactory rating and there are further delays in the change in rating being reflected publicly. Therefore, there may be a discrepancy between a rating online and one displayed on a building and businesses could be losing customers despite having improved their standards since the last inspection.

Recently a takeaway in Lambourne exemplified this discrepancy as it complained that its online food hygiene rating was still displayed as being 1 out of 5, despite achieving a 5-star rating upon re-inspection 2 months later.

If you want to make sure you are fully prepared for an EHO inspection, download our free inspection checklist and check out our online Level 3 Food Hygiene Course, which is recommended for everyone aiming to achieve a 5-star food hygiene rating.

Faking Your Food Hygiene Rating Isn't Worth It

Displaying a false food hygiene rating is, under the Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, illegal and the number of penalties being handed out is steadily increasing as authorities crack down on offenders.

Just 5 months ago, a restaurant in Farringdon was fined for “unauthorised” use of the highest food hygiene rating on the company's website, as well as on Deliveroo and UberEats. The restaurant itself was fined £10,000 and the owner was charged £5000. Furthermore, both parties were also ordered to pay costs of £20,650 to Islington Council, proving that penalties for false food hygiene advertising are too high to risk.

If you feel as though a recent inspection hasn't reflected your usual standards, use our guide to find out how to appeal your food hygiene rating. Want to take the next step? Find out more with our Level 2 Food Hygiene and our Level 3 Food Hygiene courses.


Data was downloaded in January 2023 from the official Food Standards Agency ‘UK food hygiene rating data API’ which details the overall food hygiene ratings, rating components, and inspection results of food establishments across the UK.

The Food Standards Agency data attributes each establishment with one of fourteen business types. Of these business types, four were selected for inclusion. These were:

  • Restaurants/Cafes/Canteens
  • Takeaways/Sandwich Shops
  • Pubs/Bars/Nightclubs
  • Hotels/Bed & Breakfasts/Guest Houses

After filtering, if a business did not have a current rating or an inspection result then the entry was omitted from the analysis.

This resulted in a filtered total of businesses, equalling 236,942 establishments that fell within these categories and which were then used for the overall ranking analysis.

The regions selected for analysis in this report are the same twelve regions as used by the Food Standards Agency, and so businesses were split according to the region associated with their business.

The cities and towns being compared were selected from records held by the Office for National Statistics and the National Archives.

To match the food hygiene ratings provided for businesses by the Food Standards Agency we performed postcode lookups through the use of an online database, allowing us to match the postcodes of businesses with their closest major city or town, and the major city or town with their region. If a business did not have a valid postcode, then the entry was omitted from our analysis.

Following this, we amalgamated the food hygiene ratings of each town and city to provide an aggregate rating of food hygiene ratings for an area.

Following the data download, and after cities and towns were matched to rated businesses by postcode, several steps were taken to ensure the data was clean and fit for purpose.

In several instances, to ensure that the data was of interest to certain regions, the local authorities (as defined by the Food Standards Agency) of a region were used to split a region into further areas instead of using a city/town split. However, to provide clarity, in the overall rankings only cities and towns are listed.

As mentioned above, entries in the data downloaded from the Food Standards Agency without a valid postcode were omitted from analysis.

Following the cleaning of the data, several lists were created with cities/towns in each region ranked according to their mean food hygiene ratings and then subsequently ranked according to their overall rank in the UK - leading to the lists you are presented with here.

Food Standards Agency food hygiene ratings information, data and services are subject to the terms of the Open Government Licence (OGL).

The ratings are subject to change as they are regularly updated to reflect the standards found when a business is inspected by a local authority food safety officer.

Our study contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

High Speed Training would like to thank the Food Standards Agency and the Office for National Statistics.

For press and media enquires, please contact Dan Raymond, PR Manager at High Speed Training, at daniel.raymond@

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