Memorandum submitted by Nicholas Saphir (SFS 19)
Executive chairman OMSCo (the UK Organic Milk Suppliers Co-operative) 2003; Chairman Coressence Ltd 2006; director Bodin & Nielsen Ltd 1975; Chairman and Trustee of several trusts and foundations. Director City Food Centres Limited, 2005
Farmed 1,000 acres of fruit and arable in
Chairman and chief executive of Hunter Saphir plc, a fresh produce and food manufacturing group which was sold to Albert Fisher plc in 1992; remained on Board until 1997; non executive director San Miguel SA (Argentina) 1993 - 1998 and 2001 - 2007; non-executive director of Dairy Crest plc 1987 - 1993.
Founder chairman of Food from Britain 1983 - 1987; chairman of the Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Co-operation 1980 - 1983; a member of the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food's Inputs Task Force; member of the Food and Drink Economic Development Council 1984 - 1987.
Author of the London Wholesale Markets Review (2002)
This submission addresses the issue of food distribution outwith the
supermarket supply chains and with particular reference to the third of all
food and drink consumed in the South East of the
It argues for an
understanding of the opportunity to build on the
1. The Issue
Since the Review
of 2002 was published several of the main wholesale markets throughout the
environmental and commercial damage is being done to
Increased efficiency in food distribution (encompassing primary distribution, food preparation and catering) can significantly reduce food waste, energy waste and the need for road transport when handled within a dedicated food centre on the lines proposed - alternative fragmented approaches become constrained by small scale complexity and do not have the mass to address most of the issues of the Public Good
Markets, as envisaged in The Review of London Wholesale Markets, included a vision
for the future of the wholesale markets. In specifically addressing
City Food Centre's concepts are relatively simple - importantly they enhance the relationship between the market, the sources of produce and the procurement agencies, thereby recreating a forum for open and transparent trading and direct and easier access between the parties - this is a major advantage of consolidation and of having food-centric and procurement offices on site.
Subsequent work has developed the potential for the development of integrated food hubs that would provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs to enter the industry, for the effective distribution and consolidated management of local and regional foods, as well as facilities for established players to profitably develop their businesses in providing the opportunity for sourcing consolidated food supplies and food requisites from composite markets. City Food Centres would also provide facilities for the specialist needs of the catering industry, serviced offices for public procurement and general food education. In addition they would provide the environment for the establishment of innovation centres for better understanding and enjoyment of food as well as the development of more focused opportunities for local and regional foods.
The main recommendations included in the 2002 Review remain the foundation on which this summary submission is based. It must be a policy objective of government to support the development of a more effective and environmentally sustainable non supermarket distribution for the South East of England. This is particularly of importance to encourage SMEs and the production and distribution of local and regional foods. It is pleasing to see that some of the ideas included in the Review being taken up outside of the South East. It is also gratifying that, after several in-depth discussions over the past four years between CFC and the Covent Garden Market Authority, a number of the core ideas promoted by CFC have been adopted or are informing the tender process of the CGMA with regard to the redevelopment of NCG. However, it is recommended that if an effective alternative to fragmented distribution to specialist shops and catering establishments, which represents significantly over 30 % of the food and drink consumed in the South East, is to be conjoined with the possibilities of benefitting from centralised catering and food education and innovation, improved distribution of local and regional foods and provide incubator opportunities for new young start ups in the food industry, government should review and implement the key findings of the 2002 Review. These recommendations and subsequent submissions include the removal of monopoly rights that prevent the development of Composite Markets. Such enlarged and one stop markets would allow for both commercial and social enterprise development of conjoined City Food Centres as presented in detail to the Covent Garden Market Authority in April 2006.
In the context of securing food supplies for 2050, in addition to the increased output of agriculture, it is suggested that more effective distribution would be of significant benefit in terms of efficiency, sustainability, innovation and the encouragement of more SMEs in production and distribution of British food.
 A company developing functional food extracts from apples
 An Argentine public company farming 15,000 hectares and processing 350,000 tonnes of fruit
 A Social Enterprise Foundation, part of the Plunkett Foundation
 The Agricultural Forum was
formed in the 1970s to promote understanding and development within the various
parts of the
The Fresh Produce Consortium is the trade association that represents the
interests of the
 The Central Council for Agricultural and Horticultural Co-operation was the Government agency responsible for the development of agricultural co-operatives and the distribution and monitoring of grants.
 Review of London Wholesale Markets, Saphir, commissioned in 2002 by
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (
 Food Matters, the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit report July 2008, Farming and Food, a sustainable future, The Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food report to Government, January 2002. Healthy and Sustainable Food for London, The Mayor's Food Strategy, 2006
 Key findings Appendix 1