Mayor announces new ‘social supermarkets’ to cut food poverty

18 March 2016


  • Mayor to fund three new ‘social supermarkets’ in London, that make otherwise unwanted food available cheaply to those on very low incomes
  • Haringey, Enfield and Lambeth councils awarded a share of £300,000 to set up the new stores
  • Announcement marks the latest in a number of successful London Food Board initiatives, celebrated in a report also launched today


Three new social supermarkets are to open in Haringey, Enfield and Lambeth with funding from the Mayor of London. The stores will reduce food waste by selling stock cheaply to local people on low incomes, struggling with food poverty.


The pilot supermarkets will help families on lower incomes and offer a range of supportive community services. Their food is in-date and wholesome and would otherwise be sent to landfill by big retailers for a variety of reasons, including items packaged and weighed incorrectly and over-production.


The new shops will receive funding from the Mayor’s High Street Fund as part of a £129 million investment from the Mayor that has already improved 56 high streets across the capital and attracted £56 million of match funding from public and private sector partners, aimed specifically at helping London’s high streets to adapt and thrive.


The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "When I visited the Lambeth Community Shop last year, I was struck by the range of training and skills services, making it a hugely positive resource. This funding will help boroughs kick start similar ‘social supermarket’ ventures that can really help local people on tight budgets.  ‎


"I want to see more innovative schemes on our high streets that tackle food waste, help communities and offer access to a variety of good standard cheaper food."


Haringey will establish a social supermarket in Northumberland Park, the most deprived ward in London. Eric Allin Community Centre have committed to providing the additional funding needed and will likely be the site for the Haringey store with support from the Haringey Obesity Alliance.


Enfield has the highest number of families affected by the benefit cap in the UK and the 6th largest number of households living in fuel poverty in London. The new social supermarket will share a library site in Upper Edmonton, where the library will generate the footfall needed to integrate the store into the community.


Lambeth hosted London’s first social supermarket which has already helped 520 households with access to lost cost food, employment, budgeting tips and cookery lessons. The new store will be in Clapham Park, where a third of households claim housing benefit, and will help people in Brixton, Streatham and Clapham.


The announcement comes as a new report is launched celebrating the achievements of the London Food Board in helping to make food healthier for all Londoners over the last decade, as well as highlighting the ongoing need for Londoners to eat more healthily. ‘Capital of Food: Ten Years of London Leadership’ sets out how the London Food Board will work to ensure that everyone in London can access good, healthy food at every stage of their lives, from new mothers, to children, all the way through to older people who may be at risk of malnutrition often caused by inadequate diets.


The London Food Board has worked with a wide range of partners for the last decade to ensure that Londoners can eat more healthily. Key achievements of the London Food Board under this Mayoralty include:


  • The launch of the Capital Growth network, which has set up more than 2,500 community food growing spaces, and worked with dozens of organisations to help more than 150,00 people to grow their own food, and to gain valuable skills, in the capital. Capital Growth estimates that groups involved could grow over £2million worth of fresh produce every year.
  • The Healthier Catering Commitment has improved the quality of food in London’s takeaways with more than 500 London restaurants have signing up so far, incentivised to make small changes to improve the quality of the food they sell.
  • The Mayor’s FoodSave project has tackled business food waste in London, helping 170 small food businesses to save 1,450 tonnes of food waste from going to landfill, saving them almost £600,000 a year.
  • Funded by the Mayor of London and the Department for Education, the London Food Flagship programme has established two Food Flagship boroughs, Croydon and Lambeth. Using the School Food Plan as a critical foundation, the Flagships are working to demonstrate the transformational impact on health and attainment achievable through improving food across the whole environment, using schools as a catalyst to drive this change.
  • The double-value fruit and vegetables scheme, delivered by Alexandra Rose Charities, supplies vouchers to low income families to access more healthy and affordable food. Families are able to redeem the vouchers at fruit and vegetable stalls at local markets.
  • City Hall, the home of the Mayor of London, was the first government building in the UK to introduce a sugar levy earlier this year with a 10p charge on all added-sugar soft drinks sold in the building’s café, with proceeds going to the Children’s Health Fund.
  • In October 2015, to reflect its status as one of the leading exponents of urban food policy in the world, London was one of 117 cities around the world to sign the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, which will help more cities to develop food strategies and to learn from best practice from other cities.


Rosie Boycott, Chair of London Food Board, said: “The London Food Board has done wonderful, innovative things in the last ten years but we’re only on the foothills. Health costs due to obesity continue to spiral, food accounts for 30 per cent of carbon emissions worldwide and food-related illnesses remain the main cause of premature death worldwide. As a city, London must take the lead in transforming our food system to make eating healthily the easy option.”


The Mayor’s food programme will continue to support London to have a food system that offers opportunities for food businesses and people to be trained to enter employment in the food sector, as well as leading the way for food in London to be a positive force for the health, the environment and community cohesion. It will also enable London to continue to be a world-class exponent of urban food policy, using the best of private, public and third sectors to make the food system work better for London’s economy, health and environment


Capital of Food: Ten Years of London Leadership is available here

Notes to editors

The High Street Fund is the latest in a series of funding rounds, which started in 2011 with Round One of the Outer London Fund, aimed specifically at helping London’s high streets to grow and become more vibrant. The £9 million Fund is helping London’s high streets to become even better places to visit, live in and to do business in. It is part of a £129 million investment from the Mayor that has already improved 56 high streets across the capital and attracted £56 million of match funding from public and private sector partners.


The London Food Board, chaired by Rosie Boycott, is an advisory group of independent food policy organisations and experts which oversees the implementation of the Mayor’s Food Strategy.


The Mayor of London promotes a variety of initiatives that aim to get Londoners eating healthy, affordable food. His Food Strategy outlines five main objectives to improve Londoners’ health, reduce health inequalities via the food they eat, reduce the negative environmental impacts of London’s food system, support a vibrant food economy celebrate and promote London’s food culture.


The Sugary Drinks Levy is an initiative set up by the charity Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, whereby participating restaurants in the UK will donate 10p (before tax) from the sale of every soft drink with added sugar to the Children’s Health Fund. This fund, administered by Sustain and supported by Jamie Oliver, is overseen by an independent board, made up of experts on children’s health, food and education. The board will oversee the allocation of grants to programmes and schemes aimed at improving children’s health and food education. The fund will be open to applications later in January 2016. For more information on the Children’s Health Fund and get your restaurant involved see


The London Food Flagship programme is one of a number of initiatives supported by the Mayor aimed at tackling obesity amongst school children. They include the multi-million pound Sports Legacy programme to get young people and the wider population involved in physical activity; the Healthy Schools London awards, which supports and recognises school achievements in pupil health and wellbeing; and the Takeaways Tookit, which the different ways that local authorities can tackle the impact of fast food on Londoners' health, for example by limiting the number of fast food outlets near schools. For more information go to

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