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More British produce needed for London wholesale markets
11:30pm Wednesday 28th September 2011 in Grow Your Own
An appeal has gone out for more British fruit and vegetable growers to supply food to London’s lucrative wholesale markets.
Those who have already taken advantage of the opportunities offered by New Covent Garden, Western International and New Spitalfields markets have increased annual turnover by an average of over £100,000 a year.
But according to the NFU, which operates the Business Development Managers (BDMs) scheme set up by the Greater London Authority, many farmers and growers are missing out, particularly with market bosses saying they struggle to get their hands on British produce.
NFU food chain adviser Lorna Hegenbarth said: “These markets are crying out for produce from growers and producers in this country so this really does open up a lot of new business opportunities.
“The BDMs can link you up with traders and catering wholesalers in each of the markets, who in turn deliver to thousands of outlets every day, from hospitals and schools, to pubs, clubs, fine dining hotels and restaurants, as well as top class sporting venues.”
Part of the BDMs’ work is to increase the amount of traders and wholesalers that are Red Tractor licensed. This will be increasingly important, as Red Tractor food is a requirement of the food standards for the 2012 Olympic Games.
The programme is part of the Mayor of London’s Food Strategy: Healthy and Sustainable Food for London which aims to increase the supply of local, regional and sustainable food into the city by working with market traders and the rest of the food chain.
It has been so successful that the Defra Fruit and Vegetable Task Force has recommended that it be expanded to other markets up and down the country.