There has never been a more exciting time to be working in the UK food industry. Consumers are becoming more adventurous in their tastes and businesses of all shapes and sizes are providing an array of new products, flavours and formats.
But we are facing one of the great challenges of our time, as we strive to provide affordable and nutritious food for a growing global population, while in turn bringing prosperity to the entire supply chain. It is vital that we work to source more raw materials from sustainable cultivation methods and invest in innovative ways of growing food.
Mars is making a long-term commitment to providing food for future generations and helping to raise the incomes of farmers. We are committed to putting our five principles of quality, responsibility, mutuality, efficiency and freedom into action.
Our Seeds of Change brand embodies our passion for producing ethically sourced good food. It began as a small seed company in 1989 in Santa Fe, and has always remained true to its principles of preserving biodiversity and promoting the use of sustainable organic agricultural practices. This commitment is reflected in the Seeds of Change charity fund, which sees 1% of its net sales go towards this mission.
“Urban Food Routes is helping 32 food enterprises in London”
This year, Seeds of Change is investing in the Urban Food Routes initiative, helping 32 food enterprises in London gain expert advice and funding to help grow their business and support the vibrancy of local communities. It’s a unique scheme, funded by the Mayor of London and Seeds of Change, co-ordinated by the Plunkett Foundation, with help from Growing Communities and London Food Link.
One of these enterprises is Grow Up Urban Farms, which uses aquaponic technology to cultivate salads, herbs and fish to supply local restaurants. Active for just over 18 months, it is developing London’s first commercial aquaponic farm - demonstrating a sustainable way to produce food in urban environments.
We are also supporting Global Generation, which uses its skip garden in King’s Cross to offer young people an introduction to food growing, production and cooking. Its approach increases awareness of self, community and the natural environment and instils young people with the confidence to generate change.
Our commitment to these enterprises extends far beyond the financial support we’re providing. From 15 to 19 September, seven Mars associates from around the world will come to London to work with these entrepreneurs as part of the Mars Ambassador Programme.
While our associates will be on hand to mentor and advise these businesses, I am sure they will learn just as much from the innovation and creativity these enterprises put into action every day.
In the same week, our associates are working with these small enterprises in London, we will be celebrating Urban Food Routes with a special event. The New Faces of London Food, hosted by KERB, will be taking place at The Paperworks in Elephant & Castle on the evening of Thursday 18 September - and we welcome you to join us there.
Emma Evison is managing director of Mars Food