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GREEN AND BLACK? New report shows ethnic businesses falling behind in race for green pound

A new report published today reveals that ethnic food businesses have not yet grasped the market opportunities presented by the growing appetite for sustainable food.

The UK market for sustainably produced food - for example organic, fair trade and local - is now worth at least 2 billion a year.  Yet the "Recipe for a Greener Curry" report, written by Zeenat Anjari for London Food Link, has found some ethnic food businesses:

The report's author, Zeenat Anjari, said: "Many ethnic food businesses are shooting themselves in the foot.  We are missing out on a fast growing, multi-billion pound market for healthy and sustainable food."

This ground-breaking report is the first to identify ways for ethnic food business to get on the green food bandwagon. Profiled in the report are businesses such as The London Tea Company, whose Fairtrade and organic tea, grown and packed in Sri Lanka, is now the tea of choice served in Pret a Mangers across the capital. Managing Director, Dinuk Dissanayake, says "London Tea's sustainable business practice extends beyond the product. Every person in the chain receives their fair share; packaging is designed to remove unnecessary adhesives and waste such as staples and tags, and the box is made from recycled board."

In a foreword, Sir Gulam Noon, known as 'the curry king' because of his leading position in the food industry says, "The time is now ripe for ethnic food businesses to benefit from the rapid rise in consumer demand for ethical and environmentally friendly produce."  He continues:  "Green values are here to stay. We should meet this challenge because it marks a new wave of opportunities for entrepreneurship in both food production and retail."

The report calls for support for ethnic food businesses that want to 'go green' and London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi says: "this report highlights to policy makers that it's important to work with ethnic business if we really want to support a more equitable and sustainable food system."

This report not only gives well-deserved publicity to the current "green" entrepreneurs in the Black Asian and Minority Ethnic food sector, but also inspires others to build on their achievements and find new and exciting ways of bringing culturally distinctive, delicious and sustainable food to our plates.

Further information contact author Zeenat Anjari on 020 7065 0902 or 07810 482 547


Notes to editors:

  1. UK market for ethical food - for example organic, fair trade and
    local - has now reached at least 2 billion, according to a 2005  Key Note
    report, " The Green and Ethical Consumer." Previous research from the
    Institute of Grocery Distribution has shown that 65 % of shoppers buy local
    food, with demand even higher in London.
  2. Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) businesses make a major
    contribution to the cultural vibrancy of British food, with the market for
    "ethnic" food generating some 1.29 billion in 2004, and still rising.
    Source: Knowledge Centres, "Black and Minority Ethnic Businesses" (Business
    Link for London, 2005)
  3. The big four supermarkets have not yet moved in to dominate the
    supply of ethnic foods, but they do eye it as a growing market; after
    appointing an Asian foods buyer, Tesco gained 30% of the UK ethnic foods
    market by 2005. Source: Key Note, "Ethnic Foods: Market Report Plus" (Key
    Note Publications Ltd, 2005). ). Last week, Asda launched a campaign to grow
    all the ingredients needed for a good curry in temperature-controlled glass
    houses in Lancashire and Lincolnshire. See Asda's press release "The
    ultimate British curry is on its way" at
  4. The London Tea Company can be contacted on 020 8349 808
  5. London Food Link (LFL) is part of the charity Sustain: the alliance
    for better food and farming. LFL and its members are specialists in making
    sustainable food more available in the capital. More details of our work and
    how to join can be found at
  6. London Food Link's new report, "Recipe for a Greener Curry: how
    London's ethnic business can celebrate sustainable food," can be downloaded