Happerley, the food provenance organisation, held its inaugural Advisory Board meeting last week (12th Jan). It was agreed unanimously to work towards creating an independent member-owned entity to deliver a credible body to validate, certify and promote provenance across the UK food industry for the benefit of both producer and consumer.
The Advisory Board is made up of leading figures from across the food and farming industry, including TV presenter and Gloucestershire farmer Adam Henson. Chair is Peter Jinman OBE, a former non-executive director of Assured Food Standards (Red Tractor). “The consensus across our Board and beyond is now very clear. There is both an urgent need and opportunity to empower consumers to know the journey of their food with absolute confidence, and for every business in that supply chain, from farmer up, to benefit. There is the will, the demand and the technology.”
Happerley founder, Matthew Rymer, sees this as an important milestone. “Marketing, packaging, disingenuous labelling and a confusing array of often self-serving standards all undermine consumer confidence and provenance premium. Turn provenance transparent and you have the currency of truth. My intention was always to deliver this as a legacy project. I am grateful to have such a strong Board advising on these next critical steps.”
Farmer and TV presenter, Adam Henson, adds: “There was real passion around the table for this project. I always say the best ideas start on a farm but it is rather fitting this one did. The truth of all our food starts in soil or sea somewhere. The problem for everyone is that truth gets too often obscured by the time it reaches shelf or plate. These next months will be critical but there is a real sense now that the consumer wants to know not an interpretation of where and how their food is produced, but to see the whole truth.”
Phil Ponsonby, CEO (Trading) of Midcounties Co-operative, is also on the Board: “Midcounties Co- perative is committed to supporting Happerley. We are not only facilitating technology pilots but we now plan to appropriate additional resources to deliver considerable consumer engagement in and out of our stores across our region in the months to come. Transparency is at the core of our ethos and we see considerable potential for this project.”