London’s world-famous Borough Market has today published its new Food Policy, created to provide an aligned approach to food in all parts of the Market’s operations.
The ambitious new policy builds on Borough Market’s long-held reputation for leading the way in sustainability and the thoughtful curation of high-quality, carefully-sourced food. The move adds clarity to the Market’s fundamental principles and will set standards for quality, environmental sustainability, social & economic sustainability, animal welfare, knowledge & transparency, opportunity, health, variety and accessibility. These principles will be applied not just to the food sold by the traders but to everything that happens at the Market.
The policy is underpinned by Borough Market’s belief that it “should provide the opportunity for people of all backgrounds to buy the fresh ingredients and minimally processed products that underpin a healthy diet”. It comes at a crucial time in the food industry, with the likely impact of Brexit on food standards, and no signs of change following the Government’s response to the proposed National Food Strategy in June.
With immediate effect, all new trader applications will need to demonstrate a commitment to environmental and social responsibility. Meanwhile, the Market’s operations team will support existing traders to align with the policy over the coming months and years.
Shane Holland, Borough Market Trustee and Executive Chairman of Slow Food in the UK, said: “Many of the policy’s principles can already be seen in practice across the Market, but as a forward-thinking Trust that has long set the pace for the wider food industry, we don’t want to rest on our laurels. We know that there is still work to be done to ensure that these principles are applied meaningfully, consistently and transparently across the whole of Borough Market. Once this has been done, the results should prove hugely beneficial to the Market’s customers, traders, tenants, staff and trustees.”
Developed over a three-year period, the Food Policy was established in two phases. The first phase included research, surveys, focus groups, conferences and interviews with and between traders and stakeholders, to establish the need for a Food Policy and what it should include. The second phase saw Borough Market staff join forces with trustees Shane Holland, Executive Chairman of Slow Food in the UK and Claire Pritchard, CEO of the Greenwich Co-operative Development Agency and Chair of the London Food Board, to draft, review and amend the policy.
Carolyn Steel, leading thinker on food and cities said: “I’m so delighted that Borough Market is taking this opportunity to be a world leader in food quality and in highlighting the importance of good food in shaping all aspects of society, sustainability, and indeed life itself! It was a great pleasure to have been involved in the process of developing the new Food Policy for the Market and I’m looking forward to seeing how it evolves”.
As a next step Borough Market will set new standards for each category of food available at the Market over the coming months and years, which will apply to all traders, including produce traders, catered food traders and guest traders.
Ruth Westcott, Campaign Co-ordinator from food and farming alliance Sustain, adds: “We welcome Borough Market’s new food policy which includes a great vision for how the market should operate responsibly for the environment and the community.”
Borough Market’s Food Policy can be found at https://boroughmarket.org.uk/food-policy