Mission to turn UK food and drink industry transparent launches

The foundations have been laid to stamp out food fraud and give power back to the consumer with the unveiling of plans to build the country’s first national centre dedicated to food and drink transparency.

Food provenance pioneer, Happerley, revealed its plans to create a ground-breaking independent food and leisure destination as an epicentre of food transparency in England.

Situated at Lock29, in Banbury’s Castle Quay, Oxfordshire, Happerley England will give farmers, suppliers and producers a platform to champion their ‘Gold Standard’ produce, a marque accorded only to food and drink producers able to name the exact sources of their core ingredients back to the primary producers.

Developed in the context of the growing phenomenon of interest in food and drink and demand for transparency that is sweeping the UK, Happerley England will offer an experiential and inspiring insight into the very best English food and drink production and producers.

Whether it’s beef, cheese, coffee or bread, every core ingredient in Happerley England products will be instantly traceable back to the farms (or fishing boats) of its origin; combating the alarming £12billion (real figure estimated to be as much as £60billion) food fraud costs the UK annually.

The plans were announced during a special launch event at the farm where it all began for Happerley’s founder and CEO, Matthew Rymer, on Friday, 12th July.

He said: “Happerley England is a focus, a celebration and a centre for the very finest food and drinks that have complete provenance. In too many cases the consumer is being misled and to my mind, it should be a basic right and expectation for the consumer to know where the food and drink they’ve purchased has come from.

“The reality of food production is being smoke screened, you’d be surprised how many brands do not want to identify their supply chain. Happerley England stands for delivering honesty and communicating that on behalf of everyone; it’s a beacon of transparency.”

The event was hosted by TV presenter and farmer Adam Henson, who unveiled the plans alongside a panel of stakeholders and representatives.

He said: “This was a grassroots idea from a farmer who's got incredible vision and the momentum has gained a very fast pace to get to where it is today at this magnificent launch. This is a legacy for Happerley - even if a business can’t turn Happerley Transparent straight away, it stimulates conversation and that is so important. This will pull the whole of society together.”

Cllr Tony Ilott, Lead Member for Financial Management & Governance at Cherwell District Council, said: “It’s great to have Banbury as the epicentre of this food revolution. Happerley England will be the star attraction of Banbury and it will do exceptionally well. This is Happerley’s launchpad and we’re going to do all we can to support them. If all food and drink were transparent it would be great.”

Qing Lin, CEO of Join In China, a Chinese food and drink agency, was on the discussion panel and explained how Happerley England will become a procurement requirement for food and drink exports to the Chinese market, securing British advantage in this fast growing market post-Brexit.

She said: “The Chinese love anything that is made in the UK so this is a fantastic opportunity for small producers to sell their products to the Asian market, as being able to prove the traceability and provenance of their products will give them an extra unique selling point when tapping into the Chinese market. Happerley England is a great initiative and as a consumer myself, I feel blessed to be empowered to make an informed choice, so I’d encourage producers to grab this opportunity by both hands and grow.”

The event also saw NFU Mutual commit to a high profile long-term partnership with Happerley, while former England rugby captain and Non-executive Director of Creed Foodservice, Phil Vickery MBE DL, announced it will champion transparency in the ‘Foodservice Wholesale’ sector. This means it will endeavour to deliver Happerley Transparency across its supply chain wherever possible.

In addition, the Guild of Fine Foods and Great Taste Awards announced their involvement in the Happerley England Tour, which kicked off at the end of the event with the Happerley taxi being waved off by a crowd of over 100 farmers, suppliers, producers and passionate foodies, as it embarks on visiting every English county to celebrate and savour each region’s finest produce to showcase at Happerley England.

For more information on Happerley, click here.