New report shows London councils prioritise healthy eating despite budget cuts

Greenwich Council have topped the latest good food league table published by London Food Link this week, as part of their annual review and report.

Published: 05/11/2018

This eighth annual Good Food For London report, reveals which councils are leading the way in securing a better food environment and culture for their residents, workers and visitors.

Coming out at the top of this year’s league table for the second year running is the Royal Borough of Greenwich, followed by the boroughs of Islington, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth and Lewisham.

The London boroughs of Barnet and Bexley have also been recognised as most improved councils, having demonstrated significant progress since 2017. Last year Barnet was 28th in the league table and has moved up an impressive 19 places to 9th place. Bexley has moved up 12 places from 26th to 14th place since last year.

Claire Pritchard, Chair of the London Food Board said: “Continuing the pattern of previous years, we have seen progress in many of the measures, demonstrating the sustained commitment of boroughs to adopt new programmes and areas of work in relation to good food.”

Top areas of improvement

The Good Food For London league table shows how local councils are taking action to support access to healthy and sustainable food. It ranks performance on 11 different measures to assess what each council is doing to support community food growing, infant health, the London Living Wage, Fairtrade, sustainable catering animal welfare, healthier food environments and school food.

Since 2017 six additional councils have joined the initial four signatories of the Local Government Declaration on Sugar Reduction and Healthier Food. This gives a borough-wide framework for councils to support a variety of initiatives, such as limiting the advertisement of junk food in council-owned spaces.

Twelve councils are now running SUGAR SMART campaigns, a national programme to reduce sugar overconsumption and to support healthier food environments. For example, as part of its campaign, Enfield council is encouraging schools to replace desserts with yoghurt and fruit at least once a week and Enfield Catering has reduced the amount of sugar in menus by 25%.

This year sixteen councils are now London Living Wage Employers, a commendable achievement to celebrate during Living Wage Week. Six of these also received top marks for not only being accredited, but also promoting the scheme locally to business and being a Friendly Funder, which helps ensure more local charities pay the London Living Wage as well.

About its work, Croydon Council said, “It has never been more important to ensure that our residents can enjoy the social mobility and wealth that will be created in Croydon’s £5.25 billion regeneration programme. The Council actively works with its business community to highlight the many benefits of paying staff the London Living Wage through our Good Employer Croydon network, which now represents over 10,000 employees.”

The report also shows how local councils are continuing to support other healthy and sustainable food initiatives, such as

To encourage council actions beyond the 11 annual measures, the report features snapshots of other key work on healthy and sustainable food in London. This year Guy's & St Thomas' Charity shares their principles for a place-based approach to tackling childhood obesity and TRiFOCAL London highlights their campaign 'Small change, big difference' which aims to reduce food waste and increase sustainable eating. The Mayor of London's draft Food Strategy, drinking fountains and the new Veg Cities campaign are also featured.

The report is launched on Monday 5 November in London’s Living Room at City Hall, along with its sibling publication, Beyond the Food Bank. The full league table and interactive maps are available online and in PDF format on the Good Food For London website. This work is generously supported by the Mayor of London and the Association of Directors of Public Health.


Maddie Guerlain, Good Food for London Coordinator / 0203 5596 777

Notes for editors

  1. London Food Link is the voice for good food in London and has been running since 2002 as part of the charity Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. We run projects and campaigns to help create a better food system for all Londoners. This report is a key part of our work, showing how local authorities are addressing some of the major issues or levers for change at the borough level, while ensuring that healthy, ethical and sustainable food remains firmly on the political plate.
  2. Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, enrich society and culture and promote equity. We represent around 100 national public interest organisations working at international, national, regional and local level, and work with hundreds more on local initiatives to improve the food system.
  3. Sustain’s working definition of good food is that it should be produced, processed, bought, sold and eaten in ways that provide social benefits, contribute to thriving local economies that create good jobs and secure livelihoods, enhance the health and variety of both plants and animals (including the welfare of farmed and wild creatures), protect natural resources such as water and soil, and help tackle climate change.
  4. Data for the report is compiled in partnership with Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative, Capital Growth, Living Wage Foundation, Fairtrade Foundation, Sustainable Fish Cities, Compassion in World Farming, Healthier Catering Commitment, SUGAR SMART, Sustainable Food Cities, Healthy Schools London and the Soil Association. In addition, every council receives a questionnaire to provide additional information on what actions they are taking. The data is then analysed and mapped to illustrate which boroughs are leading the way and where there is room for improvement.

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