League table names Merton a winner in race for best food in London

Merton is today named as one of only two boroughs in London to achieve top marks for the quality of its food offer 

Merton achieved joint first position in the Good Food for London report  along with Islington.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis with the owner of Jose's Cafe and Merton Council's Director of Public Health, Dr. Kay Eilbert

Leader of the Council, Councillor Stephen Alambritis with the owner of Jose’s Cafe and Merton Council’s Director of Public Health, Dr. Kay Eilbert

Good Food for London cites local Merton businesses, Venus Bar and Brasserie in Colliers Wood, who have changed the oil they use to cook and prepare food, introduced salt shakers to reduce salt intake and provide a healthier choices menu. Another example of a business trying to make a difference is Jose’s Café in Morden, who advertise smaller portion sizes and ensure fresh fruit is displayed on their counter.

Looking out for the borough’s school children, Merton Council ensures all its primary schools benefit from freshly cooked food made on site.  The council is also helping with a number of community food growing projects which benefit many residents who are getting involved.

Merton continues to actively promote Fair Trade produce to the public and its own caterers sell Fair Trade food to its staff.  Merton leads a Fair Trade networking group which brings south west London boroughs together to share best practice such as promoting Fair Trade at school assemblies and encouraging businesses to promote Fair Trade produce.

Leader of Merton Council Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “It’s great to see our hard work paying off. Encouraging people to choose the healthy diet option is so important for people’s long-term health. We remain committed to supporting good food initiatives and remaining at the top of the league.  As well as choosing the healthy option, this is also about promoting ethical trade and environmentally sustainable produce too.”

The report’s author Ross Compton said “In the wake of the ‘horsegate’ scandal, Londoners want to know that their boroughs are serving good food that they can trust.  With our league table now in its third year, the Good Food for London maps paint an inspiring picture of progress by many London Boroughs towards better food. The maps also challenge those boroughs that are lagging behind to follow the good example set by Islington and Merton, and take more action to make it easier for their residents and visitors to eat healthier and more sustainable food.”

Rosie Boycott, chair of the London Food Board ,  said  “This excellent report provides an informative snapshot of London’s food scene borough-by-borough, with the aim of showing the good example being set in areas such as  Merton  and  Islington.”  Rosie Boycott added “In many boroughs, schoolchildren are now getting fresher, tastier and more sustainable food than last year, and tens of thousands of local residents have better access to green space for growing food. The maps are designed to share new ideas and good practice, helping other Boroughs make further improvements to help their residents eat better food. I am also very encouraged to see London Boroughs helping local businesses to serve healthier food on London’s high streets. This will improve Londoners’ health, provide good food jobs, and protect the sustainability of the food system on which we all depend.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

Full report, Good Food for London 2013: Download a PDF

Borough League Table: Download a PDF

  • The ‘Good Food for London 2013’ report compares London’s local authorities on their support for good food initiatives, such as high quality school food, community food growing, improving food served by local food shops, and buying ethical food for schools and local authority canteens – including Fairtrade products, cage-free eggs and sustainable fish.
  • Points are awarded across six food schemes: community food growing, Fairtrade food, Food for Life in schools, Sustainable Fish, Animal Welfare and Healthier Catering Commitment.
  • Merton is  also  one of three London boroughs to achieve a Gold Catering Mark and the report highlights the Healthier Catering Commitment which is being implemented as part of the Sutton and Merton Responsibility Deal. The deal means local businesses, workplaces and organisations work together to help improve the health of the community, their customers and employees by pledging to make changes to encourage healthier lifestyle choices.