Good Food Market

A model of 'Socially Responsible Food Retailing' bringing affordable healthy food to everyone
Above: illustration of what the first Good Food Market at 25 Filwood Broadway could look like. Planned launch date: Summer/Autumn 2016



A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “We are working with the Matthew Tree Project, who are trying to address food poverty in Bristol. They are looking for additional food growing land in the city, and it is council policy to increase the area of land available for the growing of food."

Bristol City Council press release, 26 March 2015



TMTP Socially Responsible Food Retail Model


Food, an essential to life for the human race, is not, and should not be a commodity to be traded to the richest bidder. Good food is something that all human beings should have a natural right of access to, regardless of income or address.  

The Matthew Tree Project's 'Socially Responsible Food Retail' model has a number of key principles at its heart, namely:

  • Vertical integration of the local food chain including food growing (land); value added food products (cottage industry style); logistics/distribution (local food hub); and retailing (alternative supermarkets) thus cutting out the middle man at each step of the traditional food delivery chain and therefore reducing costs whilst at the same time ensuring everyone involved in the production and supply of food is paid a fair wage for their time and skill

  • Encouraging the up-scaling of local food production and sourcing food as locally as possible (food growing and value added own label food products using organic principles) thus reducing 'fuel miles' in the transportation and distribution of food

  • Targeted recruitment from TMTP Food Plus clients and the long-term unemployed into skills training and careers in the local food sector which are targeted at the above activities

  • The very best tasting and nutritionally healthy food is provided through TMTP 'Good Food Supermarkets' (which the majority of the general public will travel to purchase because the food will be so good!) and will also be available to the lowest income families and citizens at affordable prices. As a society and as a country we need to do we can to resit developing a two-tier socially segregated society where 'poor' people shop in one place and the rest of us shop in 'regular' shops  

  • To achieve this a three-tier pricing policy scheme whereby most shoppers pay the full 'fair' price and are happy to do so. The first level discount is for those who help to deliver the model (volunteers; suppliers; supporters and donors); and the biggest discount is for those on the lowest incomes thus enabling everyone access to the best, most nutritious and tasty food. As it should be!

  • The three-tier pricing scheme will be operated via a Matthew Tree Project 'Branch Membership Card' scheme which operates much like a Tesco Club Card or Sainsbury's Nectar Card scheme with the discount level loaded onto the card at the beginning and then when going through check-out the 'TMTP Branch Card' is simply swiped and the pre-loaded discount is applied without anyone else knowing thus protecting the dignity of the shopper

  • Through positive promotional methods and interactive in-store food demonstrations our model will encourage shoppers to pay less. To buy only what they need and to prioritise healthy, nutritional food over junk-food, ready meals high in salt content and processed foods high in fat and artificial additive and preservative content. 

  • Our model promotes the consumption of less meat offering alternative 'good' natural sources of protein through positive messaging and in-store interactive cooking demonstrations  

  • All the products we sell will adopt an 'open-labeling' policy whereby all shoppers will know exactly what they are eating as all ingredients will be easy to read, trace back to source and understand, for the consumer

  • Locating 'Good Food' alternative supermarkets in the most deprived wards; fulfilling the aim of bringing the best food to the poorest communities (including food deserts) in an affordable way


Bristol is a prosperous city but the prosperity is not shared by all. Health inequalities and poverty result in a 9 year gap in life expectancy between the richest and poorest.

 

Our idea is to bring the best nutritiously healthy and tasty food to the people who need it most.


Health inequalities and poverty have a devastating impact in the lives and future prospects of our citizens and this is the same in all cities everywhere. In Filwood, one of our poorest communities, there are 42% of children living in poverty, and 37% of the working age population are economically inactive. This results in severe health and social problems that are damaging for our citizens, costly for government and feeds an ongoing  cycle of poor children becoming poor adults passing all the same social problems onto the next generation.


It is a sad fact that deprived communities have significantly fewer outlets for fresh healthy food, something that should be a basic right for all, making it unobtainable for those who need it most.


The innovative model brings affordable, nutritious, tasty food to those on low incomes - yet still paying a fair price to producers and above the living wage threshold to employees.


We are doing this by developing a significant new market demand for local food production (food growing and own label food products), thus being a major contributor to the creation of a very high number of new skilled and semi-skilled jobs in the local food sector; by way of an innovative 'stepped' pricing policy (discounts from full price for those on low incomes via a clever membership scheme that protects dignity); by purchasing direct from the producer thereby shortening the supply chain and reducing the number of mark-up's in the supply chain system; keeping it 'local' thereby reducing fuel miles, transportation costs and carbon emissions. The model also creates multiple income streams (not being totally reliant on commercial food sales alone). This all contributes to the financial sustainability of the GFM without being reliant on statutory government funding or grant funding to survive.


Why is this important?


Food is our fuel, and a nutritious diet of good food is vital to being healthy, happy, and self-sufficient with a self-esteem that is built on a hope of a better future with good life chances like everyone else.


At the heart of this initiative model is a not-for-profit 'socially responsible' alternative supermarket (GFM) with the initial pilot proposed location in Filwood Broadway (Bristol's second most deprived ward and in the topmost 10% UK wide). The GFM will look and feel like a regular supermarket, but under the skin it will be completely different...


It will prioritise the sale of locally produced foods; train and employ local people (paying above the living wage threshold and offering good family friendly job conditions); promote responsible food consumption (rather than use tactics to encourage customers to spend as much as possible); and it will also be a social hub providing a range of essential services (i.e. nutrition; cooking from scratch) and enjoyable social activities that embrace the arts, local culture and music. 


The forerunner of the actual supermarket development is a weekly good food market located at the Inns Court Centre, less than a mile from the proposed alternative supermarket site. By developing a weekly food market in the Inns Court/Filwood area we will help to introduce local people to the concept of healthy, affordable food available in their locality. 

 

The key issues this innovation will address are health inequality and food poverty and the  key outcomes that will be achieved are:


  • Improving health for disadvantaged people (reducing the life expectancy gap)

  • Improving economic prospects and standards of living
  • Improving quality of life
  • Improving self-esteem, general wellbeing and basic life skills