New Covent Garden scoops up award as U.K.’s best wholesale market

February 16 , 2019

From the pages of Produce Business UK

Working seamlessly with traders while adapting to a changing food industry is just one of the many things that set New Covent Garden Market (NCGM) apart.

The historic market, which supplies fresh fruit and vegetables to London’s top restaurants and hotels and suppliers of flowers to London’s florists, continues to set the bar high — from its marketing work to its ability to forge partnerships to assisting charitable causes. For that, NCGM was named the UK’s best wholesale market for the third time in 10 years at the Great British Market Awards in Birmingham.

“We couldn’t be happier to have won the UK’s best wholesale market award,” says Alastair Owen, head of communications and marketing for Covent Garden Market Authority (CGMA). “It is a real testament to the work we do to support the market’s businesses and to bring the wonderful experience of New Covent Garden Market to as many people as we can in imaginative and innovative ways.” 

Judges also lauded the CGMA, the team that manages the market, for adapting to the changing needs of the food industry as the market undergoes a £200m redevelopment.

“We’ve reached key milestones in the last year, including the opening of the Food Exchange, where we now have some of the most exciting small food businesses in the UK coming together to create London’s greatest food hub,” says Owen. “As New Covent Garden Market goes through a period of change, it’s fantastic to be recognised for what we are and continue to be; a great wholesale market.” 

Other initiatives New Covent Garden Market has excelled at include its work with City Harvest in reducing food waste while giving back to those in need and its scheme with Zipcar, which offers traders a less-expensive alternative to hire vans and encourage foot traffic at the market.

“This is a market with great historical significance, and which is remains intrinsic to catering in the capital and beyond,” says Graham Wilson, chief executive of the National Association of British Market Authorities, which organised the awards. “Currently in a period of significant change, there’s a real need for updates and modernisation of the market to be treated with intelligence, insight and sensitivity — something which the Covent Garden Market Authority have done superbly. The CGMA has ensured minimal tenant turnover and meaningful support to both traders and customers of the market.

“It has employed impressive activation of tactics from new partnerships with the likes of Zipcar and events such as the first ever Art Night installation held at the Flower Market, to a youth careers programme to bring fresh, young minds into the broader team.”  

The extensive redevelopment of New Covent Garden Market is set to deliver modern facilities for the 175 companies based on site and its 2,500 workers. As one of Nine Elms’ three icons alongside Battersea Power Station and the new American Embassy, the site is set to become a new Food Quarter for London, giving the public the opportunity to explore the best of fresh produce available on the market. 

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