British Growers staff visit New Covent Garden Market

by Jack Ward

British Growers staff "up with the lark"!

On Tuesday 19 Aug a small delegation of British Growers staff visited the New Covent Garden Market to find out more about  its operation and how it connects UK growers with opportunities and markets in and around London. With 200 businesses based on site, the market turns over £166m in fresh produce and flowers. The destination for this produce is mainly shops, restaurants and the food service industry in and around the capital. The business is much more about niche opportunity than shifting large volumes of produce. The market services all of the top 20 restaurants in London with a wide selection of produce, much of it grown here in the UK. Quality, presentation and innovation rather than price are the keys to success in these markets. The market is currently undergoing a 7 year multi million pound redevelopment programme. This is part of a wider redevelopment programme for the area. Once complete the market will be at the centre of a vibrant new development which will include a new American Embassy and a redeveloped Battersea Power Station site.

New Covent garden Market is home to a number of highly innovative businesses which source and supply a wide range of specialist fresh fruit, salads and vegetables for top end restaurants. Much of this produced is sourced from UK Growers and its success is built on a mutual understanding of the customer requirements and the need to continuously innovate and develop new products.

How relevant is this type of business where volume markets dominate grower thinking? As one supplier explained, "New Covent Garden Market is like the cat walk for the fashion industry. Part of its purpose is to show case new ideas and concepts. And like the fashion industry, over time some of these ideas will find their way onto the super market shelves."