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Leicestershire leads the way in sustainable food and drink

A range of sustainable food experiences are on offer for visitors to the city and county.

A greengrocer at Market Harborough market.
A greengrocer at Market Harborough market.

Leicester and the wider county are leading the way on locally produced and sustainable food and drink with an increasing number of breweries, shops, restaurants, cafes and experiences that people can visit.

Leicestershire was recently successful in achieving a Silver Sustainable Food Places Award, the only one to be awarded in the Midlands in 2023. The national awards recognise and celebrate the success of those places taking a joined up, holistic approach to food and that are achieving significant positive change on a range of key food issues.

From atmospheric coffee shops and award-winning restaurants to independent bars and traditional real ale pubs, Leicester’s food and drink scene has a real connection to the local area. Many local food and drink producers are also using innovative practices to ensure that they remain at the forefront of sustainable food production.

"Visitors to, and residents of the city and county are increasingly aware of the origins of the food and drink that they’re consuming," said Mike Denby, director of Inward Investment and Place Marketing. "Sustainability is a core element of the food and drink offer in Leicester and Leicestershire, and as such, plays a key role in the wider visitor economy.

"We’re proud of the innovative approaches and techniques that our local food and drink producers are developing that are helping them to embrace sustainability at the heart of their businesses."

Rothley Wine Estate

Rothley Wine Estate recently won the ‘Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism’ category at the Leicestershire Promotions Tourism and Hospitality Awards 2023 and has initiated a number of sustainable activities. These include planting the vineyard by hand, maintaining a ‘no insecticide’ policy to protect the resident colonies of bumble bees and ladybirds, collecting the fleeces of locally sheared sheep and using them to pack under the vines to control weeds and provide nitrates to feed the vines, as well as adopting a comprehensive compost strategy.

March House Farm Shop

The butchery at March House Farm Shop in Great Dalby was established in 1999 by Michael and Heather Belcher. The business uses solar panels to power the café, farm shop and butchery. Regenerative and sustainable farming techniques such as using bio fertilizer on arable crops, minimal cultivation, direct drilling of seed and using beans grown on the farm as a protein source for the livestock mean that its animals are safe and well, and soils keep good stores of the nutrients they need.

Mount St Bernard Abbey Brewery

Tynt Meadow is a dark ale, fermented under the watchful eyes of the monks at Mount St Bernard Abbey Brewery. It is the only Trappist ale brewed in the UK and the first beer brewed by monks in England since the Reformation. The brewery uses sustainable practices, ingredients and techniques, allowing it to deliver a modern interpretation of time-honoured ale in an environmentally friendly and community conscious manner.

Café Ventoux

Located on Route 64 of the National Cycle Way, Café Ventoux is a destination cafe-restaurant in rural Leicestershire. It is a popular pit-stop for cyclists and has been named Britain's number one cycling café. The cafe’s new menu is full of fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

The Bee Farmer

The Bee Farmer produces high quality honey from his base in Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire. He also hosts a range of workshops around beekeeping and honey production. The business is focused on sustainability by using glass jars for easy recycling, being part of the Slow Food Movement to reduce food miles, avoiding all plastics (the hives are made of wood), reducing wastage by making excess wax into candles, and using renewable energy on the farm.

The Bee Farmer.
The Bee Farmer.

Ferneley's Farm

Ferneley’s Farm produces luxury dairy ice cream, from cows to cone! The most important ingredients in Ferneley’s ice cream are its own farm fresh whole milk and cream, from the farm’s herd of cows who are milked twice per day.

Not Just a Corner Shop

Not Just a Corner Shop is a mecca for food lovers, specialising in traditional foods such as bob cakes and pork pies, with world food including curries and scotch egg bhajis. Based in Wigston Fields in Leicestershire, 80 per cent of its products are sourced from within 40 miles of Leicester, keeping food miles down and supporting local artisans.

Stoughton Grange Farm Shop

Stoughton Grange Farm Shop and Distillery provides visitors with the freshest, highest-quality local produce. Stoughton Grange strives to reduce its impact on the planet by incorporating daily practices from 100 years ago such as creating a kitchen garden to grow its own fruits and vegetables which are sold in the shop and used in lunch dishes; prioritising local producers to decrease food miles and not using blueberries or avocados; ensuring that any food waste produced is recycled into compost for the garden; harvesting rainwater and are installing solar panels on the roofs.

Gelato Village

Gelato Village is a taste of real Italian gelato in the heart of Leicester. Owners, Daniele and Antonio are natives of the Piedmont area of Italy, birthplace of the Slow Food Movement. They never use artificial preservatives, flavourings or emulsifiers, meaning that their gelato is all natural, using local ingredients to ensure that no product is sold that is over 72 hours old.

Eco Village UK

At Eco Village UK in Market Harborough, the team has created a hub for the community with sustainability at its heart. It is home to several high-quality, sustainable food and drink producers and is committed to helping people to reduce their plastic waste, supporting independent ethical businesses selling a wide range of products, stocking locally produced food and drink, and providing a Community Fridge that lets people donate sealed in-date food that would otherwise be going to waste and take what they need, for free.

John's House

The county’s only Michelin starred restaurant, John's House in Mountsorrel, champions a ‘farm to plate’ philosophy, sourcing high quality, seasonal produce from the family farm and sourced from around the region. Head Chef, John Duffin worked under Marcus Wareing and returned to Mountsorrel to use his experience to bring something unique to Leicestershire’s food scene.

Taste the Place

Visit Leicester’s Taste the Place tourism campaign promotes the unique food and drink offering for visitors to Leicester and Leicestershire. One of the key themes of Taste the Place focuses on ‘Food for Thought’ - exploring how climate change can also be fought from the kitchen. It looks at environmentally sustainable food consumption that reduces food miles, supports sustainable agri-farming and promotes a ‘farm-to-fork’ approach. The campaign highlights producers with retail outlets, delis, farm shops and markets where locally produced, seasonal products can be purchased as well as businesses that use a local supply chain.


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