TV farmer challenges the food industry to turn transparent

Adam Henson on a horse Happerley

Gloucestershire farmer and national TV presenter Adam Henson is urging whichever government party that wins the General Election this week to  encourage consumers to ask more questions about where the ingredients in their food come from.

Concerned by the degree of mistruths at the expense of farmers and consumers, Gloucestershire farmer Matthew Rymer set up a movement called Happerley, and made it his life’s mission to turn the food industry transparent. “The consumers, especially the younger generations, want to know where the ingredients in their food are from. Only this enables them to make any sensible judgement on sustainability, environmental impact or animal welfare,” he said.

“There are some amazing food and drink businesses out there but still far too many that rely on disingenuous labelling or misleading menus to gain premium. This in turn leads to cheating the farmer, the consumer and undermining the many honest businesses. We stand for no creed but are simply delivering a much needed currency of truth, from farm to plate. The consumer should know where their food is from, irrespective of financial restraints.”

As part of this initiative, Adam Henson is championing Happerley England, the first national centre celebrating food and drink provenance, opening in Banbury next year. Adam is urging all forward-thinking businesses, brands and organisations to get involved.

Opening in May next year in Lock29, the former BHS store on the canal front in Banbury, all produce must be Happerley Gold Standard – meaning the core ingredients can be traced back to farms or growers. This information will enable an experiential celebration of English provenance. Retailers will celebrate every facet of English provenance. The halls will feature restaurants, bars and cafes, The English Larder, a demo kitchen, a daily events stage and interactive zones covering every aspect of food and drink production (packaging; sustainability etc.) will educate and inspire.

The venue is owned by Cherwell District Council, that is investing some £70 million into a town centre rejuvenation. It will be operated by its agents in association with Happerley.

“Rather than riding a cock-horse to Banbury Cross to see a fine lady, I am journeying across England seeking the finest provenance stories to showcase at Happerley England which we hope will become one of England’s premier tourist destinations. We hope for similar centres for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

From a barn on Matthew’s farm near Gloucester, Happerley is already securing real positive change for consumers and producers. Its first triumph was Midcounties Cooperative making it mandatory across its regional food and drink range, a process that has already exposed brands with false or misleading stories. One of the world’s largest catering supply businesses has lost a seven figure supply contract to a national nursery chain due its refusal to reveal its ingredient sources to Happerley. The Happerley movement is fast gaining momentum as it looks to its milestone of the one thousandth brand turning transparent.

Adam challenges the food and drink industry. “I challenge the biggest brands and businesses in every food sector to lead by example – open up your ingredient supply chain for all to see! Consumer trust is earned through truth.”