A Complete Guide to Equipment Calibration

Klipspringer’s Laboratory Manager Explains Lead Times, The Calibration Process, and More…

When it comes to equipment calibration, striking the balance between speed, thoroughness, and efficiency is crucially important.

Every year without fail, food businesses lose thousands in revenue when equipment is returned for calibration. Downtime forces production to slow, resulting in wasted labour, a depleted inventory, and a bottleneck in work.

At the other end of the scale, uncalibrated equipment is an even riskier alternative. It leaves food businesses at risk of low-quality products, non-compliant manufacturing or service processes, and unsatisfied customers.

Calibrations are a complex process - but ensuring their timeliness is essential for food businesses

With an in-house UKAS laboratory that oversees more than 10,000 calibrations annually, we are regularly asked a range of questions about equipment calibration, from the process of recalibrating equipment to the factors impacting lead times.

Based on an interview between Radek Tameczka (our Laboratory Manager) and Alex Blair (our Content Lead), this article answers the following FAQs:

What is calibration and why is it important?

How often should I calibrate my equipment?

How do I return my equipment for calibration?

How long should the calibration process take?

Which equipment types need calibrating?

Radek Tameczka, Laboratory Manager at Klipspringer

What is calibration and why is it important?

Drawing on his 15 years’ experience in the industry, Radek pointed out a key misconception surrounding calibration. “Calibration is often mistaken to mean adjustment. That’s not always the case. In many instances, calibration means verification of what the instrument reads at a very specific point.”

For example, a thermometer calibration involves a verified analysis of its temperature accuracies. Most laboratories verify the thermometer’s accuracy at three different temperature points, such as -18°C, 0°C, and 100°C.

If the instrument is adjustable, then the calibration process can involve modifications. If it is not adjustable, equipment is returned with a calibration certificate stating any divergence, such as -18.2°C, 0.3°C, and 100.5°C.

UKAS calibration certificate

The importance of this cannot be overstated. Yes, certification proves that your instruments are traceable to a UKAS-accredited standard – in Klipspringer’s case, international standard ISO/IEC17025. Calibration certificates also enhance company adherence to food safety standards and are one of the most common requests made by assessors during audits.

But, most crucially, certificates also explicitly demonstrate the exact accuracy of an instrument. Neither subjectivity nor error are tolerable when it comes to food compliance. Customer safety is at risk – particularly with temperature, where the difference between safe and unsafe food could be as little as one degree.

How often should I calibrate my equipment?

In conversation with Radek, he outlined four specific factors that determine the necessary frequency of calibration. These are:

1) Equipment type

In general, most equipment requires consistent calibration, although, logically, certain types of instruments require recalibration on a more regular basis than others. Humidity meters, refractometers, and callipers are all examples of instruments that should be frequently recalibrated.

2) Usage

A general rule of thumb here: as a piece of equipment receives more use, the frequency of its calibrations must increase proportionately. For example, thermometers are usually expected to be calibrated at least once a year – but Radek says some food businesses send their units in for calibration every 4-6 months because their usage is so high.

3) Likelihood of readings changing without recalibration

For equipment which sees regular shifts in readings, more frequent calibration is required. These might include data or process loggers. Conversely, it is not as essential to repeatedly recalibrate instruments which maintain the accuracy of readings for longer.

4) Capacity to calibrate the equipment on-site

Some food businesses are able to calibrate their equipment on-site. For instruments like pH and conductivity meters – which are expected to be calibrated daily – it makes sense to keep the majority of these verifications in-house, with occasional external confirmations.

Radek underlined the importance of an external validation procedure to confirm that units are still working within their specification. Cross-checking confirms in-house calibrations and drives compliance.

In a recent conversation with Ben Foster, an Equipment Engineer at Pharma, Radek was told that they calibrate their pH meters in-house every day. However, for traceability and good practice, Pharma also sends all pH meters to a third-party at least once a year to confirm these readings and ensure the highest safety standards.

While it is impossible to provide an exact calibration timeline for all scenarios, a quick appraisal of your equipment based on those four factors should give you an approximate idea of how often you should calibrate your instruments. If you want a more personalised idea, feel free to contact our Calibration Team: 01473 461800.

How do I return my equipment for calibration?

The below outline is based on our internal calibration process at Klipspringer, overseen by Radek as Laboratory Manager.

Calibrations that fall within the UKAS-specified -30°C to 150°C range are always carried out internally, according to the following procedure:

1) After communicating with the team and raising a quotation, the customer sends their equipment to our laboratory

2) This equipment is booked in; the customer is sent an email confirmation, specifying exactly what the lab team is going to do with the equipment

3) If the equipment is booked in for UKAS calibration, customer will receive an email with confirmation of temperature point the unit will be calibrated at

4) A lab technician is designated to the task – they either begin the calibration immediately, or carry out any necessary technical repair beforehand

5) Equipment sent in for UKAS calibration will need to be stabilised at an ambient temperature of 20°C ±4 for up to 24 hours before performing the calibration

6) Once repaired and/or calibrated, a certificate is issued to the customer and uploaded to the Audit Portal

7) The lab job is passed onto the Service Team, who send an email quotation to the customer to confirm any final details

8) Following customer approval, equipment is returned to the customer, usually on the same day, or at least within three working days

A calibration laboratory

How long should the calibration process take?

Defined as the time elapsed between the start and end of the calibration process, calibration lead time is a crucial metric in the food industry used to calculate how quickly and efficiently your equipment can be calibrated, returned, and operating once more.

By making enquiries among our customers, we ascertained that, on average, most companies in the industry operate with calibration lead times of 4-7 days. Sometimes these turnaround times are as lengthy as 2-3 weeks!

According to Radek, there is no hard-and-fast rule for lead times. But there are two factors that markedly influence lead times: the number of calibration orders at any one time, and the resources available to manage them.

The Klipspringer Lab

It is also true that some companies simply prioritise calibrations more than others. When asked why Klipspringer are able to guarantee that all in-house calibrations are fully completed within three working days, Radek replied:

“We have several skilled lab workers constantly on the calibrations, completing each with meticulous attention. It comes down to efficiency and experience.”

Which equipment types need calibrating?

In short, the stringent compliance regulations of the food service and production industries necessitate regular verification of the majority of equipment used in kitchens, warehouses, and production lines. This is particularly true since the BRCGS announced Issue 9 of the Global Standards in Food Safety, auditable from 1 February 2023.

Below is a comprehensive list of various instrumentation types that Radek stipulated as requiring consistent calibration.


  • Data Loggers
  • Process Loggers
  • Liquid ‘In-Glass’ Thermometers
  • In-House Thermometer Verifiers (also known as Temperature Simulators)


  • pH and Conductivity Meters
  • Reflectometers (measure the reflectivity of objects)
  • Anemometers (measure the speed of wind or gas currents)
  • Refractometers (measure the index of refraction)


  • Handheld Units
  • Loggers
  • Dry-Block Calibrators


  • Callipers (measure the dimensions of an object)
  • Scales and Weights
  • Oil Quality Measurement
  • Hygiene Monitors

Radek emphasised that, while this list encompasses most of the instrumentation most frequently calibrated at Klipspringer’s in-house lab, it is not exhaustive – other types of equipment will also need calibration.

If you’re unsure about anything calibration-related, please contact our customer service team at: 01473 461800. A member of our team will consult one of our Calibration Experts about your specific requirements, before giving you all the relevant information.

Alternatively, you can read another research-led article we wrote detailing how to understand your UKAS calibration certificate.

Seven Key Trends for the Future of Food and Farming

Research indicates that, among other technological innovations, smart greenhouses with vertical farming will be pivotal in driving the ‘Fourth Agricultural Revolution’.

Fischer Farms unveiled the world's largest vertical farm in Norfolk, UK, earlier this month. Credit: Farmer's Guide.

At Klipspringer, we’ve been helping food businesses ensure safety, compliance, and efficiency for over twenty years. As part of our ongoing commitment to insightful, industry-leading content, Klipspringer’s research expert Alex Blair has written this article to notify readers about developments unfolding at the forefront of food production.

On 15 November 2022, the world population reached 8 billion people. Together with climate change, geopolitical tensions, disparities in food security, the pandemic, and ethical dietary considerations, population growth is one of the key factors instigating change throughout international food systems.

Labelled as ‘pressures’ in a UK Government report, these factors create an urgent need to produce more food on less land. How to approach this task most effectively is the subject of heated debate between advocates of traditional or technological methods.

Nonetheless, advancements in machinery and plant breeding will become increasingly utilised in food production, according to a report from Global Data investigating technological trends across several sectors.

Technology or tradition? Debates over sustainable, equitable food production have polarised agricultural experts for years. Credit: Getty Images.

Trend #1 – An Expansion in Drone Usage and Automatisation

Agricultural drones are unmanned vehicles used for yield optimisation and monitoring crop growth. By 2030, it is predicted that they will also be able to carry out crop spraying and terrain monitoring.

As seen below, the demand for agri-drones is rising rapidly. This is partly due to the labour crisis and skills shortage, and partly due to agri-drones capacity to conduct diagnostics impossible for ground checks, such as soil pH level, irrigation, and temperature.

Graph 1. Growth in agri-drone patents. Source: Global Data's Patent Analytics Database.

Challenges facing the future development of agri-drones include poor rural connectivity, regulatory hurdles (particularly minimising chemical drift during crop spraying), and weather dependency. In spite of this, some estimate that 80-90% of drone market growth in the next decade will come from agriculture.

Trend #2 – A Rise in Blockchain Technology Supply Systems

In the past three years, supply chain failures have plagued the food industry.

Rising prices and supply breakdowns of cooking oil were particularly noticeable. Various issues including manufacturing backlogs, a lack of qualified workers, and a shortage of raw materials have severely impacted the international food supply chain. Not to mention wars and global pandemics.

As a digital system for recording trade transactions among multiple parties, blockchain technology allows for a vast and unlimited number of trading partners to access data and supplies privately, anonymously, and securely. Blockchains offer equal access for each partner in the network at all times – enhancing traceability, deterring fraud, and improving responses to contamination and foodborne illnesses.

Figure 1. Blockchain supply system. Source: Klipspringer.

Major food companies such as Nestlé, Dole Food Co., and Unilever have already integrated blockchain technology into their supply systems. An increasing number of organisations are researching the potential benefits of blockchain – particularly since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emphasised the need for ‘tech-enabled traceability’ as part of their New Era of Smarter Food Safety Blueprint in 2020.

Trend #3 – A Surge in Smart Greenhouses and Vertical Farming

As a combination of traditional agricultural systems and modernised automation, smart greenhouses allow farmers to construct a self-regulated microclimate, boosting productivity.

Within these greenhouses, vertical farming – a stacked growing system for indoor crops – received over $1 billion in funding in 2021, exceeding its combined funding generated in 2018 and 2019. This included Fischer Farm’s announcement of a £25m vertical farm in Norfolk – unveiled earlier this month. The plant will supply 6.5 tonnes of leafy salad, herbs, and other fresh produce to UK supermarkets each day

Smart greenhouse job advertisements have also increased fivefold in just under two years, as demonstrated below.

Graph 2. Smart greenhouse-related job advertisements. Source: Global Data Job Analytics Database.

Population growth is projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, with approximately 5 billion people converging in cities. Therefore, growing nutritionally dense food closer to urban areas is the most significant benefit of this trend.

The enormity of this challenge is likely to outweigh reservations regarding the high upfront costs of smart greenhouses. Even so, alternative solutions will be required for the ‘smart’ cultivation of cereals and fruits, which vertical farming is largely ineffective at.

Investors will also have to weigh up the land-saving benefits against the high electricity consumption of smart greenhouses.

Trend #4 – A Transition from GMOs to CRISPR Techniques for Food Cultivation

Controversy has surrounded Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) for over a decade.

Critics point out their threat to small-scale farmers, strengthening of corporate control over global food supply, and damage to biodiversity due to intensive monoculture systems. Public attitudes remain sceptical and strong regulation around safety and labelling is unwavering.

However, research into the biological, nutritional, and socioeconomic implications of CRISPR technology is starting to gain traction.

Figure 2. GMO vs CRISPR food cultivation. Source: Klipspringer.

Put simply, CRISPR is a genetic engineering technique by which the genomes of living organisms are modified through deleting, adding, or altering sections of DNA. Advocates for CRISPR techniques claim that the use of this novel DNA leads to:

  • Improved food safety (by knocking out antibiotic resistance to provide immunity against pathogens like salmonella)
  • Lengthened shelf life of perishable foods
  • Development of new products that taste better and have other desirable traits for consumers

One example of these ‘desirable traits’ is celiac-safe wheat, beneficial for those suffering from celiac disease (an extreme allergy to gluten). Another is improving the crop benefits and taste of decaffeinated coffee.

Despite these potential opportunities, widespread gene editing for food production purposes will be slowed by public misgivings and regulatory hurdles. This trend is forecasted not to develop significantly until the latter part of this decade.

Trend #5 – A Steady Growth in Alternative Proteins

Analysts predict that the alternative meat and dairy markets will continue to expand steadily – but not as much as some have touted

Primarily driven by concerns for animal welfare, health, and the environment, daily meat consumption in the UK has reduced by 17% in the last decade, according to a study published in Lancet Planetary Health.

Meat alternatives are expected to hit double digits in value growth from 2020 to 2025, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.7%. Meanwhile, the alternative dairy market has a similar projected CAGR (12.5%), but over the space of eight years, from 2022 to 2030.

The below table illustrates the pros, cons, and key markets associated with various types of alternative proteins.

Alternative Protein Type



Key Markets

Insect Protein

-High protein levels

-Lower carbon footprint, land and resource use compared to animal proteins

-Widespread aversion to eating insects (especially in Western countries)

-Asia Pacific Region

-Latin America


Cultured Meat*

-Lower carbon footprint than animal protein

-Predicted to be cheaper than beef by 2030

-Improved animal welfare

-Still regulatorily prohibited in the USA, UK & EU  

-Worsened taste


-Asia Pacific Region

Plant-Based Proteins

-Lower carbon footprint, land and resource use

-Can replace both meat and dairy products

-Currently attracting the most investment of all alternative proteins

-Vitamin B12 deficiency

-No cheaper as an alternative than traditional proteins

-North America


-Latin America

-Asia Pacific Region

Microbial Proteins**

-Sidesteps animal cruelty

-Can be carried out using organic waste

-Lower carbon footprint, land and resource use

-Further research needed on allergic reactions and gastrointestinal symptoms

-North America

-Asia Pacific Region

Table 1. Pros, cons, and key markets of alternative protein types. Sources: Klipspringer and Global Data.

*Cultured meat is produced from animal cells rather than actual meat.

**Microbial proteins are single-celled proteins typically made up of fungi, bacteria, or algae.

Overall, the growth of alternative proteins is significant, but not enough to seriously disrupt the monopoly that traditional proteins have on the food market. By 2026, traditional meat or dairy products are still expected to account for 51% of global food sales, compared with just 1.4% for alternative proteins.

Trend #6 – A Heightened Focus on Livestock Healthtech to Fight Zoonotic Diseases

Meat and dairy industries are entirely dependent on livestock numbers. As any disease or infection that is naturally transmissible from vertebrate animals to humans, zoonotic diseases – or zoonoses – can devastate livestock numbers, and, therefore, food markets.

The spread of African swine fever (ASF) in pigs across Southeast Asia is a prominent example of a market-devastating disease. Following an outbreak in China in August 2018, ASF led to the deaths or culling of millions of pigs dying Southeast Asia. With pork meat accounting for over 35% of global meat consumption, global prices soared.

Figure 3. Key emerging technologies. Source: Klipspringer.

As analysed in the previous trend, traditional proteins look set to retain their stranglehold on global markets, at least for the time being. In light of this, food and farming organisations are anticipated to focus on protecting livestock numbers through animal health monitoring and vaccine development.

Trend #7 – An Increase in Use of Digital Twins to Predict and Optimise Farm Operations

A digital twin is a representation of a physical system that can help to understand, predict, and optimise performance. Data is collected from the physical asset, including information that cannot be observed, such as soil health. The digital twin analyses previous patterns to simulate future behaviour, allowing farmers to act quickly if a deviation occurs.

Digital twins are underpinned by remote operation, which is a hotly contested aspect to this so-called ‘new phase of smart farming’. Supporters cite the capacity to conduct planning and control away from the site, and to carry out predictive analysis and real-time response, while critics highlight jobs lost due to automatisation.

Digital twins. Credit: Tomato News.

While automatised developments like digital twins are promising with regard to efficiency, cost-saving, and sustainability, if implemented improperly they could have serious ramifications for rural livelihoods. A most prominent example of this dispute between cause and consequence is the population divergence into urban areas, which is predicted to cause a global decrease in rural populations and farms.

Extreme care must be taken to ensure that trends of this sort are only used in response to our shifting population demographics, intensifying climate, and unequally distributed global food supply, rather than driving these changes in the first place.

Businesses seeking to innovate by implementing the developments and trends outlined above must also commit to genuine corporate responsibility regarding their ethical and environmental consequences. Dedicating time to educate and fully inform your team is essential to this responsibility.

For more insightful content, click below to see a breakdown of the first webinar in our ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series, hosted by Klipspringer alongside two expert panellists.

What are the 5S Lean Principles, and where does 5S come from?

Seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke.

These words may be alien to you now, but in the few minutes it’ll take to read this article, you’ll be singing their praises. You’ll also possess an invaluable tool for cultivating a more efficient, compliant, and organised workplace.

Where does 5S come from?

Although it originally developed in Japan, 5S’s roots are frequently debated.

Some claim that the concepts underpinning 5S come from 16th century Japanese shipbuilders, whose streamlined assembly process allowed ships to be built in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks.

Others argue that it was officially introduced by Toyota in the 1970s, when their analysts were sent to dissect the assembly line of rivals Ford Motor Company. Based on these findings, Toyota formulated a methodology to surpass their competitors.

So, what exactly is 5S?

Put simply, 5S is a framework for operational efficiency. At first, that might sound like typically vague self-development drivel – but 5S differs from other improvement systems in its applicability.

Translated from Japanese, the five words – Seiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu, and Shitsuke – mean Sort, Set In Order, Shine, Standardise, and Sustain. When used as a lean manufacturing tool, these 5Ss eliminate waste, uphold health and safety standards, and cultivate an environment of unrivalled productivity.

What can it help your business with?

Often associated with similar concepts like Six Sigma or Kaizen, 5S is starting to gain traction in the food industry. Research has proven its effectiveness across a variety of workplaces, with benefits including:

  • Happier staff – your team will appreciate your efforts to make their job easier through a more pleasant and manageable working environment.
  • Amplified productivity – logical workspace organisation decreases downtime and time-consuming misunderstandings (not to mention that if your staff are happier, they’ll be more productive).
  • Tidier and safer workspace – both Sorting (Seiri) and Shining (Seiso) make your workspace tidier, which contributes to eliminating health and safety risks.
  • Better quality and lower prices – increased efficiency makes your products more consistent and of better quality, resulting in increased profits, as well as the option to reduce prices for your loyal customer base.

How can you implement 5S?

1) Sort (Seiri)

There is a growing body of studies addressing direct methods of implementing the 5S Framework. Of course, these applications are dependent on the type of workplace they are intended for. However, overarching recommendations can be made regarding implementation at each of the five stages:

2) Set In Order (Seiton)

Consider the layout of your current workstations. Do your workers have to excessively relocate to get to the places they need to be? Do they waste precious time searching for the tools that they need?

Setting in order ensures that staff don’t waste time searching for tools and utensils that aren’t in the right place. This could involve drawing up a 5S Map of your workplace, or using the ever-popular Shadow Boards and Tool Stations.

3) Shine (Seiso)

This is an easy one – simply keeping your factory floor or food production space clean and tidy. We suggest regular hygiene practices, including scheduled clean-downs and ‘clean as you go’ policies, in addition to black bag audits and consistent inspections to ensure that everywhere is kept pristine. This will ensure that people can work in a mess- and risk-free environment (important for productivity and morale). It also ensures that machinery is properly cared for – extending work life and saving replacement costs.

4) Standardise (Seiketsu)

By writing down what is being done, where, and by whom, you can officially incorporate new practices into normal work procedure. This paves the way for long-term change.

Before writing any Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), observe employees to see where problems arise, and which methods work most consistently. Consult employees to double-check each stage, and ensure the process feels natural.

Common tools for this process include:

5S Checklists – listing the individual steps of a process makes it easy for workers to follow that process completely. It also provides a simple visual management tool to check progress later on.

Job Cycle Charts – identify each task to be performed in a work area, and decide on a schedule or frequency for each of those tasks. Then, assign responsibility to a particular worker (or job duty). The resulting chart can be posted visibly to resolve questions and encourage accountability.

Procedure Labels and Signs – provide operating instructions, cleaning steps, and preventative maintenance procedures exactly where that information is needed.

5) Sustain (Shitsuke)

Implementing a 5S approach is not a one-off event. The fifth step, Sustain – or Shitsuke, which translates literally as ‘discipline’ – follows the idea of continual commitment. As a framework, 5S is most effective when habitualised and re-applied over and over.

Depending on the workplace, steps might include:

  • Management Support
  • Department Tours
  • Updated Training Procedures
  • In-House Progress Audits
  • Performance Evaluations

Whatever programme or methods you deem most suitable for your organisation, getting the basics of the first four steps right makes ongoing success easier to sustain.

Feel ready to implement the 5S Framework in your workplace?

Check out our gallery of Shadow Boards, used by the likes of Lidl, Tesco Maintenance, McDonalds, Aston Martin, and Bakkavor, or chat with one of our consultants: 01473 461 800.

In-House Thermometer Verification Methods Explained

Whenever temperature plays a role in the food safety or quality of a product, checking thermometer calibration is a critical part of the technical department’s routine.

For some it’s daily and for others it’s weekly. Whichever it is, there are three main ways technical and quality teams throughout the world do this:

Ice & Boiling Water

For many years, ice and boiling water was the favorite method, mainly due to the fact it was the only option!

Although it seems simple and inexpensive, it has several downfalls which compromise both its accuracy and safety for use in the modern food factory.

  • Low cost
  • Check multiple probes at once
  • Temperatures are constantly increasing or decreasing, requiring an additional reference thermometer
  • Difficult to obtain consistent, repeatable results
  • Health & safety risk from boiling water
  • Takes significant time to set up, carry out and clear up.

Test Caps

Test caps are a quick and convenient way to check thermometer units, doing away with many of the problems presented by ice and boiling water.

Are they really the straightforward solution that they seem?

  • Safe to use
  • Fast checking process with no set up required
  • Not suitable for thermometers with integral probes
  • Every test cap needs externally calibrating to UKAS standard each year
  • Test caps simulate the electrical current of a probe. 20 years’ worth of data shows that the majority of thermometer accuracy issues are with the probe, so if the thermometer is perfect but the probe is not reading correctly, test caps will not identify this.

The LazaPort Family

Klipspringer launched the first Lazaport into the food industry as a safer, faster and more accurate way to check probe thermometers on site.

20 years on, Klipspringer is launching the third generation model to further improve the efficiency and compliance of on-site temperature calibration.

  • Calibrates probe and thermometer together at 0 and 100°C
  • Rapid process to check multiple probes at once, with minimal set-up required
  • Traceable to UKAS standard and accurate to +/- 0.3°C
  • No separate reference thermometer required
  • Also calibrates infrared thermometers
  • Adjustable for different probe dimensions and types

Interested to find out more about how the LazaPort works, and what benefits it could bring to your team?

TRAKKD: Boosting Compliance, Traceability, and Sustainability Across the Hospitality Industry

Providing global visibility to local data on a digital, paperless system that reduces waste, saves time, and minimises system costs

In the current hospitality landscape, pioneering companies are looking to reassess their methods, practices, and procedures, setting a new course of action for the post-pandemic era of hospitality.

High-quality digital mangement is crucial to their key objective of pivoting towards a future that is digital, transparent, traceable, and adaptable. Newer, more innovative systems are finally replacing the endless mounds of compliance paperwork.

What are Digital Quality Management Systems?

Digital quality management systems are software solutions that help organisations manage and improve their quality management processes. This software connects and harmonises data between its digitised host and key processes in food prodution and service.

TRAKKD is a digital quality management system. As an entirely digital host of cloud-accessed data, it ensures that hospitality teams are never lacking the most important information. TRAKKD simplifies data analysis and strengthens food compliance, seen in its successful implementation by well-established brands such as McDonalds, KraftHeinz, and Albron, among others.

How does TRAKKD work, and how much can it save?

Put simply, TRAKKD has two core parts: the digital checklist, and the real-time wireless monitoring.

Moving away from manual paperwork towards a digital checklist system modernises information storage processes. As an entirely paperless app, it limits the amount of paper discarded in landfill sites, while making detailed calculations for regular food waste savings – integral to sustainability pledges. TRAKKD keeps all food safety data in one secure location, rather than in overwhelming piles of time-consuming paperwork.

See a specific cost savings breakdown below based on TRAKKD’s implementation at Albron, a leading food service and catering company with over 700 venues throughout Europe.


Cost of Current Method

Cost of Digital Method (TRAKKD)

Price per manual per year per location (paper, printing, sending, etc)

     -Complete manual /registration provided as a book

     -Per location £307 (per year)



Labour hours (filling in checklists) per location

     -Average 1.25 hours per week using current method

     -Average 1 hour per week using digital method

     -Fewer temperatures have to be taken using real-time temperature monitoring, saving 0.5 hours per week on average

     -Hourly pay rate: £12.50



Checklist management per year (maintenance, archiving, approval etc of checklists)

     -Quality support at HQ and regional managers involved in the process

     -Estimated savings of 2 FTE



Reduction of inspections (from two per year to one or ideally zero)

     -Inspections cost £132 per visit


£132 or £0

Reduction of travel to separate locations (fuel, car maintenance, CO2 reduction, time saved)

     -Due to TRAKKD’s HQ/regional dashboarding and reporting, teams travel less frequently to single locations, management spends less time creating reports etc)

Hard to quantify, but one of the most significant costs in this table

As seen above, TRAKKD offers savings totalling more than £88,000 per year. And that’s not including waste savings due to equipment failure, especially of fridges and freezers.

This is because TRAKKD’s features allow users to make informed decisions about performance based on accurate data analysis, filtered by any parameter including user, site, region, country, etcetera – invaluable information for eliminating food safety hazards.

In the past, such information was only available on paper at the location itself, whereas TRAKKD’s global cloud access makes its data reachable wherever, 24/7. This traceability also pinpoints the root cause of any mishap, preventing any costly re-occurrences in future.

As put by Ruud Homan, Operations Manager at Albron: “TRAKKD gives us the opportunity to adjust immediately. In addition, it offers the possibility to make trend analyses at various levels. This gives us fast and actionable insights into which areas are performing better and which need improvement. We can then quickly adjust, operationally, according to these findings.”

Can TRAKKD connect with other equipment?

The second part of TRAKKD is real-time wireless monitoring with Bluetooth connectivity.

Using sensors compatible with its state-of-the-art software, TRAKKD combines the routine reporting and digital management system outlined above with wireless monitoring across a variety of parameters.

Of these parameters, the all-in-one temperature monitoring system has been highly praised by TRAKKD’s early adopter companies, above all its automatic synchronisation of information, which eliminates costly human error. As the first provider to offer this fully integrated hardware, we are immensely proud of the positive impact TRAKKD has had in better preparing food businesses for upcoming audits, while also saving vast amounts of money.

What are the main benefits of TRAKKD?

There are three overarching benefits to the implementation of a digital quality management system like TRAKKD.

1) Reduced Waste

Having to discard stock due to faults or coldspots in food storage areas is a massive drain on funds. TRAKKD prevents this, identifying potential breaches of compliance before they occur.

There is also a sustainability benefit to this. On average, 1/3 of our individual carbon footprint is made up of what we eat and drink. A primary consideration for many food businesses is how to cut this footprint. Choosing producers and suppliers who calculate the CO2 impact per product is one method. Operating with a system that – through rigorous, accurate tracking – significantly reduces food waste is another method.

2) Time Saved

By managing all data, checklists, and warnings in one place, on one app, TRAKKD significantly cuts the amount of time employees waste on manual paperwork checks and temperature monitoring checks. This ensures employees have sufficient time to focus on what they’re there to do – preparing and serving food!

Unlike other systems, TRAKKD is designed to be user-friendly to the extent that, once employees receive our training in how to professionally operate the system, this can be done independently, without any devious add-ons in price.

3) Minimised System Costs

Costs are lower than other digital management systems thanks to TRAKKD’s pay-per-kitchen model – a pricing structure which actually suits hospitality businesses, rather than the conventional pay-per-user system. In turn, this allows food businesses to offer greater affordability in prices for their loyal customer base, without compromising on compliance or quality.

Designed for kitchen teams, clients, contract teams, compliance managers, front-of-house teams (or really just any food team member, anywhere), TRAKKD offers an innovative digitised solution to post-pandemic food safety in the hospitality sector.

If you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our team of experts to arrange an initial consultation: 01473 461 800. We also offer a completely free of charge 30-day trial for those wanting to test out TRAKKD first.

If you want to learn more about our most popular digital quality management system, click below to download our TRAKKD information sheet.

What is the Best Way to Check Oil Quality?

Resolving the TPM vs FFA Debate

At Klipspringer, we’ve been helping manufacturing and hospitality businesses to ensure food compliance for over 20 years. By removing all guesswork from food oil management, we’ve modernised food safety for the likes of McDonalds, Whitbread, Chopstix, Wasabi, and Five Guys.  

One of the most frequent questions we receive from our customers is: which method of checking oil quality is most accurate, compliant, and objective? This article aims to answer that question, addressing a much-contested area of food oil management: the TPM (Total Polar Materials) vs FFA (Free Fatty Acids) debate.

Read on to find out more.  

Why does frying oil need testing?

Frying produces exceptionally flavoursome food. It is an inexpensive, rapid, and popular way of cooking, which delivers the ultimate food sensory trifecta of “golden, brown, and delicious”, or “GBD”.  

However, this trifecta is only guaranteed if the food in question is fried in safe, high-quality oil. Past a certain level – where the oil is not brand new, but rather from B-C on the below graph – this quality is jeopardised by the repeated use of oil, which causes it to degrade. When oil is used continually, an increasing number of chemical reactions occur, leading to alterations in its composition.  

As cooking oil degrades, so does the taste, texture, and overall flavour of the food. For manufacturers and hospitality businesses that prioritise product consistency, this can be a pressing issue.  

Product integrity is another area compromised by flawed oil management processes. In the worst-case scenario, it can expose customers to the build-up of acrylamide – a cancer-causing chemical.  

On the other side of the coin is oil wastage. Research has shown that, surprisingly, most businesses prematurely discard usable oil due to basic or outdated testing methods. Amid astronomical rises in oil prices, a growing number of restaurant operators are arriving at the same conclusion: monitoring oil quality ensures compliance, prioritises sustainability, and significantly cuts costs. The only question remaining is how best to do it.  

What are the most common oil testing methods?

Currently, there are three predominant oil testing methods used in the industry. The first is simple, but amateurish. The second is relatively accurate, but subjective. The third is eco-friendly, cost-saving, and entirely objective.  

Read on to learn about the core differences, pros, and cons of each method.   


Method #1 – Visual Inspection 

Unfortunately, many restaurants still change their oil based on a quick visual check. While some chefs with vast amounts of experience can make informed guesses about when to change their oil, their decision is still subjective. It stems from the “we’ve always done it that way” rationale which has come to harm many businesses over the years, whether it be through unnecessary expenditures, unsustainable practices, or audit non-conformances.  

In this day and age, taking a quick glance at a batch of cooking oil and deciding if it’s safe simply doesn’t cut it. This is twofold: the rate of darkening differs from oil to oil, and is also dependent on filtering practices and product types. Overall, visual inspection is better than no method of oil monitoring, but there are more accurate options available.  

Method #2 – FFA Measurement (Test Strips) 

High levels of FFA, or Free Fatty Acids, directly correlate to off-colours, off-odours, and off-flavours in fried food products. FFA is typically measured using test strips. After being dipped into the oil, a range of colours appear on the strip. This is then compared to a colour reference chart to determine FFA levels. Standard test strips measure free fatty acid levels from 2% up to 7%, with 5.5% to 7% as the discard range.  

So, just how effective are FFA Test Strips?  

With an overall accuracy of roughly 80%, these strips offer greater compliance than any visual inspection, but don’t provide the same assurance nor peace of mind as other methods. This is primarily because the comparison of the strips’ colouring with the colour chart is still subjective to inadequate or distorted lighting, and strips can also easily be contaminated by improper storage.  

Studies have found that monitoring methods based on dielectric constant provide more “objective and valuable results” than those based on colorimetric reactions. In other words, methods that go beyond surface-level colouring – outlined below – are more reliable.

Dielectric constant-based methods are also less likely to be single-use, unlike test strips, which result in an ongoing cost of around £300 per year.  

Overall, FFA Measurement is still a reasonable solution for food oil monitoring, but isn’t particularly ground-breaking given modern technological advances. As explained above, there is nothing inherently wrong or non-compliant about it. But, for businesses seeking to go the extra mile, other more innovative options are out there.    

Method #3 – TPM Measurement (Food Oil Monitors) 

Devices which determine cooking oil quality by TPM, or Total Polar Materials, remove the subjectivity found with previously summarised methods. By basing data on changes in the dielectric constant, handheld TPM devices – usually a Food Oil Monitor – are greater in accuracy than FFA-based methods.  

TPM Measurements is the most current method utilised in commercial kitchens. Legislatively encouraged across Europe, the go-to critical parameter for TPM limits falls between 24% to 27%. A TPM reading of higher than 25% is considered the discard point in many European countries.  

Best used at the end of each trading day, when the oil is still hot, Food Oil Monitors are efficient and fast to operate. Kitchen staff simply have to place the sensor stem into the vat of oil, and then use a gentle stirring motion until the light at the top of the instrument begins to flash. If the Monitor flashes green, the oil is safe to use again. If it flashes amber, the oil needs changing soon. If it flashes red, the oil requires immediate changing.  

For smaller establishments, a potential drawback of Food Oil Monitors is the upfront cost – usually in the region of £400. However, once purchased and implemented, the Monitors typically show a return on investment within six months, and should last for three or more years. What’s more, these Monitors can be specifically calibrated to various oil types, and are able to verify temperature, as well as oil quality.  





Visual Inspection

Simple eye test based on oil colour

  • Speedy

  • Inaccurate

  • Dependent on individual judgement

  • Lack of product integrity & consistency

FFA Measurement

Uses test strips and a colour chart to measure Free Fatty Acids

  • Relatively accurate (around 80%)

  • Compliant

  • Single-use (£300 per year in ongoing costs & wastage)

  • Subjective to inadequate or distorted lighting

  • Contaminated by improper storage

TPM Measurement

Uses a Food Oil Monitor to measure Total Polar Materials

  • Uses the dielectric constant for high accuracy

  • Compliant

  • Objective

  • ROI within 6 months

1. Upfront cost of around £400

Hopefully this summary has given you a structured insight into the best ways to check oil quality, and has provided some clarity in settling the age-old debate between FFA and TPM.  

Want to quickly outline each oil monitoring method’s pros and cons with your team? Refer to the above table for a concise overview.  

For a concrete example of how Food Oil Monitors have helped companies increase compliance and cut oil usage, read about how Whitbread made savings of up to 52%. 

Preventing Foreign Body Contamination - Why Detection Should Be the Last Resort

Even the most stringent of detectability-oriented food safety systems are not fail-safe. The below image – taken in Melbourne, Australia, by a customer of a prominent global food retailer – shows exactly why prevention is a more effective approach.  

Upon discovering a sharp metal spring in her meal, the mother-of-two said she “felt something was right in my tooth”. After spitting out her food, she noticed the large spring, and, in her own words, “instantly felt sick”.  

Worst of all, this customer was with her two children, both under the age of three. Afterwards, she told 7News Australia that: “I just keep thinking about what could’ve happened if it was either of my young children and how scary it could’ve turned out.”  

Public exposure of this sort will taint any company’s reputation. Following this incident, a three-pronged investigation between the restaurant, customer, and council had to be undertaken. But it was entirely preventable.  

A Common Non-Conformance

Due to the unavoidable need for pens and other utensils in and around production lines, poor foreign body contamination control is one of the most commonly identified BRCGS non-conformities. More importantly, it is also a violation of compliance – not to mention customer trust. In this era of instantaneous, 24/7 news and social media reviews, years of impeccable food safety standards can be ruined by one tiny lapse.

But there is a guaranteed way to ensure that the pens used by your team pose no risk of foreign body contamination.

Prevention before detection.

Read on to find out more.

The Solution

Pen coil springs are virtually undetectable, not only by the human eye, but also by automated machines. Leading companies are now opting to use metal detectors or x-rays to identify pen fragments in food items where necessary, in addition to implementing measures to prevent such hazards before they arise.


These organisations – which include Heinz, Bakkavor, Cargill, PepsiCo, Two Sisters, Moy Park, and XPO Logistics – are mandating the use of writing utensils which physically cannot fragment. In other words, they have made it company policy that their pens…

1) …are made of the strongest, most durable materials

2) …are completely shatterproof

3) …do not contain coil springs

Tried and tested across the complete food sector, Retreeva Global have designed an innovative range of near-unbreakable pens. It is a known fact that higher metal content makes factory pens more brittle, increasing the risk of the pen shattering under pressure, and, subsequently, product contamination.

As part of the Klipspringer Group, Retreeva’s choice of materials means that, unlike other options, these pens cannot shatter into unnoticeable, far-flung fragments.

By eliminating the risk of foreign body contamination on assembly lines, consistent product integrity is ensured. And yes, these pens are still produced to a very high standard of detectability. But, by choosing a robust, shatterproof, and spring-free pen which first prevents foreign body contamination, detection becomes a last resort.

In the unlikely occurrence of a mishap, this ensures that stray pens still have a very high chance of being rejected in finished product.

What Does BRCGS Food Safety Issue 9 Say?

It also offers compliance with the BRCGS’s increasingly strict food safety requirements, which state that:

“Portable handheld equipment, e.g. stationery items (pens, pencils etc.), mobile phones, tablets and similar portable items used in open product areas shall be controlled to minimise risk of physical contamination. The site may consider, for example:

  • excluding non-approved items
  • restricting the use to site-issued equipment
  • ensuring stationery items such as pens are designed without small external parts and are detectable by foreign body detection equipment, or are used in designated areas where contamination is prevented"

(BRCGS9 Ref.

If you’d like to learn more about the specific features of Retreeva’s much-acclaimed detectable pen range, read this comprehensive summary.

Alternatively, you can watch the below video explaining which type of detectable pen best suits your applications.

Culture in Hygiene: Webinar 2, Maximising the Hygiene Window

Maximising the Hygiene Window

All food businesses recognise the vital importance of the Hygiene Window to ensure cleanliness and drive compliance. But little guidance is ever offered on how to actually put this into action.

Based on the second webinar in the three-part ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series, this article addresses this issue. Following on from the previous webinar, in which three industry experts discussed hygiene team engagement and retention, this information-packed panel provides tangible advice on how to maximise the Hygiene Window.

This webinar is hosted by Alex Carlyon, a Director at Klipspringer with over 18 years of industry experience. Alex is joined by Nick Turner, a Director at FoodClean, and Andy Fletcher, a Technical Consultant with over 30 years’ experience in the food industry.

If you’re interested in a specific part of this webinar, browse the below menu to skip ahead to the section most relevant to your food safety needs:

1) Cleaning Efficiency

2) Labour Efficiency

3) Zone Segregation

Click below if you’d prefer to watch the full webinar and download the corresponding slides.

1) Cleaning Efficiency

In this section of the webinar, Nick and Andy delve into some of the biggest barriers to cleaning efficiency during the Hygiene Window. These vary from missing equipment to a lack of segregation. Nick and Andy then outline several solutions around cleaning equipment, storing tools, and protecting machinery, all of which saves costs, time, and non-conformances.

2) Labour Efficiency

Calculated in cost per minute, downtime is an expensive part of the Hygiene Window which teams must be made aware of. Nick and Andy strongly encourage bringing the hygiene team in on the journey to foster greater understanding and communication – as well as the value of ready-to-use equipment to reduce operator frustration and improve labour efficiency.

3) Zone Segregation

Thirdly, Alex draws on his extensive experience to discuss the role of zone segregation. His advice on mitigating the risks of in-process cleaning includes effective production scheduling, low pressure cleaning equipment, and mobile screening – which he provides visual examples of from a recent visit to an A.G. Barr Factory.

Watch below for more.

For more in-depth webinar content on this topics, take a look at the third episode in our ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series.

Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of our Hygiene Experts below, or by contacting us at: 01473 461 800.

    How Much Do Shadow Boards Really Cost?

    Breaking Down the Pricing of the Most Popular Organisational Tool in the Food Industry

    Since Klipspringer popularised shadow boards in 2011, they’ve steadily grown into an industry staple.

    Huge companies such as Two Sisters, Morrisons, Dominoes, Cranswick, Hovis, Domino’s, and Coca Cola have recognised the utility of shadow boards for improving hygiene standards, health and safety, and efficiency.

    Few refute these benefits. However, the price of shadow boards varies so much that our customers often ask us:

    “How much does a shadow board actually cost?”

    When addressing the cost of a product, most articles usually put something like ‘it depends’, entirely avoiding any sort of specific price point. And of course, the price of a shadow board is dependent on various factors, from size, to material, to fixing and mounting methods.

    However, this doesn’t mean we can’t provide you with a ballpark price of a shadow board by type. The three most common types of shadow board are tool boards, cleaning stations, and visual management boards.

    Below is a breakdown of each, with an approximate price range:

    Tool Boards

     Cleaning Stations (Wall Mounted/Magnetic)

    Cleaning Stations (Mobile/Free Standing)

    Visual Management

    Used to store a set of related tools and supplies

    Used to group hygiene-related apparatus for ease of access and usage/colour segregation. Price typically includes cleaning utensils.  

    Used to group hygiene-related apparatus for ease of access and usage/colour segregation. Price typically includes cleaning utensils.  

    Used to communicate essential information (e.g. procedures, maps, objectives)





    For specific examples and prices, click here to view our range of ‘Buy It Now’ cleaning stations.

    Three key considerations when breaking down the price of a shadow board are durability, customisation, and return on investment.

    Is the board made from high-quality, long-lasting material? Can you embellish your true company branding, moving beyond the basic name and logo? Will the board offer a strong ROI, for instance through improved audit scores, or boosted productivity in line with the 5S Principles?

    Klipspringer’s shadow boards meet all three criteria. Of course, we’re favourably biased towards our own products (wouldn’t you be worried if we weren’t?), but it is justified by our state-of-the-art print and production facilities, clarity of visual communication, and magnetic mounting options.

    But ours aren’t the only shadow boards on the market. We get that. Not only do we acknowledge that there are plenty of other capable manufacturers out there, but we’re open in admitting that, at Klipspringer, our shadow boards are more expensive than the industry bog-standard.

    Read on to find out why that is.

    Why Klipspringer?

    Most shadow boards are effective at storing tools, circumventing non-compliances, and maintaining hygiene standards.

    That said, not all shadow boards are created equal.

    These benefits depend on the quality of craftsmanship, reliability of mounting method, and efficacy of visual communication, all of which is determined by the Shadow Board Process.

    At Klipspringer, this process entails six separate steps.

    Firstly, the specification. We find out the customer’s precise requirements, including colour, equipment, and printed content.

    Secondly, the quotation. Within one working day of the initial enquiry, we send a personalised quotation summarising the customer’s needs.

    Thirdly, the order. The customer accepts the quotation and/or provides us with any necessary amendments.

    Fourthly, the proofing. Our design team complete the artwork proofs (see below), before sending them to the customer for final confirmation.

    Penultimately, the print. Using our cutting-edge print and production facilities, our in-house production team strive to complete the order promptly.

    Lastly, the delivery. Once printed, machined, and sealed, boards are despatched to the customer within 5-7 days (one of the quickest turnaround times in the industry), or even sooner if deadlines require.

    This carefully refined six-step process has resulted in Klipspringer’s firm establishment as the industry leader in bespoke shadow boards. But don’t just take our word for it – our boards have also been advocated by the likes of Tesco Maintenance, Bradley’s Metal Finishers, and Fulfil Food Solutions.

    Other key factors distinguishing our shadow boards from the crowd include…

    1) Five High-Quality Fixing Methods

    From sturdy direct mounts and stand offs, to free-standing frames and wheeled frames, to our much-admired magnetic shadow boards, we have an option to suit each circumstance.

    2) Long-Lasting, Lightweight Material

    While some continue to favour unsustainable foam-set options, our shadow boards are made of 6mm composite aluminium. A robust neoprene core is incorporated within the aluminium sheets, resulting in strong, water-resistant material that is safe to use in food environments, as well as being cost effective.

    3) Unmatched Equipment Colour Variety

    With 11 distinct colours, Klipspringer leads the industry in range of colour-coding utensils. Avoid cross-contamination and non-conformances with explicitly colour-coded equipment and corresponding shadow boards.

    4) Anti-Scuff Laminate

    To increase durability, we exclusively use heat-sealed, anti-scuff laminate, maximising adhesion (preventing any peeling) and ensuring your boards look good as new for years to come.

    5) Through-Board Hook System

    Last but certainly not least, we offer a through-board hook system. This entirely unique feature of Klipspringer shadow boards means that there are no hidden crevices or small parts. It ensures that your board is hygienic, easy to clean, and free of any foreign body risks.


    Where To Get Started

    Having overviewed the ballpark costs of various types of shadow boards, revealing Klipspringer’s six-step production process and unique features, this article has given a comprehensive breakdown of shadow board prices.

    If you want more information, take a look at our shadow board overview page, or contact our experienced shadow board team: 01473 461 800.

    If you already know which shadow board option you require, check out our ‘Buy It Now’ range, or fill out our Shadow Board Enquiry Form for a free quotation.

    Culture in Hygiene: Webinar 1

    Hygiene Team Engagement and Retention

    Culture in food safety is one of the most crucial aspects to guaranteeing unwavering compliance. In fact, a lacklustre food safety culture plan was identified as one of the eight most common non-conformities by the BRCGS in their recently updated issue of the Global Standards of Food Safety.

    For that reason, our team at Klipspringer decided it was time to address Culture in Hygiene across a three-part webinar series.

    Hosted by Alex Carlyon, a Director at Klipspringer with over 18 years of industry experience, the first part of this series focuses on how to engage with and retain an efficient, high-functioning hygiene team. Today, Alex is joined by Phil May, Technical Support & Hygiene Manager at leading manufacturers Greencore, and Lars Turner, Food Industry Specialist at cleaning solution providers FoodClean.

    Interested in a specific part of this webinar?

    Browse the below menu to skip ahead to the section most relevant to your food safety needs:

    1) Protecting Your Team

    2) Equipment Choice

    3) Induction and Training

    4) Sustaining Good Practice

    5) Ongoing Process Refinement

    Click below if you’d prefer to watch the full webinar.

    1) Protecting Your Team

    Amid staff shortages and a smaller pool of skilled workers, ensuring that team members are safe at work is an absolute MINIMUM requirement for maintaining an effective and loyal team.

    In this section of the webinar, Lars and Phil provide several tangible examples to demonstrate the value of an operator-first approach. They discuss how labour retention is always higher among a well-protected and engaged team – and the positive economic and environmental impact this can have for food businesses.

    2) Equipment Choice

    Each year, hundreds of thousands of workers suffer from equipment-inflicted injuries. Equipment construction and maintenance was the third most common category of non-conformance identified by the BRCGS in their abovementioned Issue 9

    As explained by Phil and Lars, reduction in injury is just one facet to improving culture in hygiene. Watch below as they dissect the higher motivation and increased lifespan of equipment resulting from an ‘operator-owned’ model of workplace production.

    3) Induction and Training

    Thirdly, Alex and Phil delve into the importance of the initial onboarding process in developing an outstanding hygiene culture.

    Alex addresses the issue of high staff turnover – a common problem with many workers currently coming through recruitment agencies. Recognising that training is an ongoing process and making Critical Control Points (CCPs) highly visual is also suggested.

    4) Sustaining Good Practice

    Creating and implementing these processes is all well and good, but their long-term impact will be limited if they are not sustained. Drawing on several visual examples, Alex illustrates how to prolong and consolidate hygiene processes through adaptability.

    5) Ongoing Process Refinement

    Lastly, Lars and Phil return to offer valuable insights about ongoing process refinement.

    Contrary to popular belief, they recommend a culture which encourages workers to challenge the status quo, as the most powerful improvements often come from unexpected sources. Root Cause Analysis, cross-functional teams, and the 5-Whys are also mentioned.

    For more in-depth webinar content on this topics, take a look at the second episode in our ‘Culture in Hygiene’ series.

    Alternatively, you can get in touch with one of our Hygiene Experts below, or contact us at: 01473 461 800.