One way to find out what’s new and hot on London’s food scene is to visit New Covent Garden Market, the UK’s largest fruit, vegetable and flower market.
As Zeenat Anjari, the New Covent Garden Market Authority’s business development manager, told ED at the London Produce Show in June, it is evolving is as an important fresh produce pantry for leading restaurants
”There’s recognition that New Covent Garden Market is the place where chefs will find that trend product, that niche product,” she said.
In terms of new fresh produce trends, Anjari said curly kale is very popular and the market has had flower sprouts – Brussels sprouts crossed with kale – in stock and now has baby kale coming through. She also mentioned a golden beetroot marketed by G’s that is “cooked and vacuum-packed just like the regular beetroot but really pretty and very bright and sweet, not too fibrous.”
“Every time you go down Buyers’ Walk there’s always some innovative product to see,” she said.
Changing use of refrigeration
Asked what else is changing, Anjari pinpointed technology, and in particular the way in which refrigeration is used, such as having smaller areas at different temperatures within a larger, fully chilled warehouse.
She said wholesalers are also pre-empting changes in food standards and health and safety laws by changing processes before it becomes a statutory requirement. “A key part of the market’s redevelopment will mean NCGM is the only market built to food ready specification as standard.”
Businesses at the market are also doing more processing that adds value to raw products. This is partly due to customer demand, such as for peeled potatoes meeting certain specifications, but also because there is the expertise in New Covent Garden Market to deliver a specific processed product.
New Covent Garden Market redevelopment
Forty years after moving to its current location in the Nine Elms area in south-west London, New Covent Garden Market is embarking on a major transformation and expansion on its 57 acre site which will include a new market of 500,000 sq ft.
Construction is due to start in earnest this summer but that of the first new fruit and vegetable market buildings won’t start until the end of 2016, with the first tenants moving to their new units in summer 2017. By the start of June, 94% of the planned fruit and vegetable market units had already been let.
Anjari said details of the “massive redevelopment” can be seen at www.brand.newcoventgardenmarket.com
About New Covent Garden Market
· 200 food & flower businesses
· has been voted #1 wholesale market in UK
· over 200 businesses, employing over 2,500 people
· over 350 varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables
· 40% of London’s fruit & veg eaten outside the home comes from the Market
· thousands of tons of fresh produce delivered to the Market each day