Reports Making Local Food Work

Joining-the-Dots... Collaborative food buying and sustainable distribution for London restaurants

This report is one of a series that analyses opportunities for improving the sustainability and economic viability of food supply chains serving smaller and community-based food enterprises.


Joining the Dots was commissioned by the Food Distribution and Supply strand of the Big Lottery funded Making Local Food Work programme, which aims to reconnect people and land through local food; increasing access to fresh, healthy and local food with clear, traceable origins. The strand of work focusing on distribution – coordinated by Sustain – takes a particular interest in food hubs and other ways of consolidating supply to achieve efficiencies of scale and profitability, and hence create a more resilient market for local and sustainable food.

The report contains the findings of:

  • A ‘Joining the Dots’ workshop hosted at the beginning of 2009
  • A pilot and initial implementation stages of the Clerkenwell Consolidated Ordering Group (Clerkenwell COG, London), which ran during 2009

The Joining the Dots workshop looked at the possibilities for a local food hub in London. Present at the workshop were representatives from each stage in the existing supply chain including wholesale suppliers, wholesale markets, local producers, chefs, restaurateurs and delivery companies. London’s existing food supply system “from farm to restaurant fork” was discussed, as were the problems associated with this supply chain and the possible areas where improvements could be made.

One outcome of the workshop was formation of a small group of restaurants and retail outlets in and around Clerkenwell, North East London, who wanted to address the issues raised in the workshop and see if they could do something to change the way their existing supply chain worked. The results of the pilot of this collaborative purchasing project are also contained in the report.

Report contents

1. Introduction

2. Why is this an important issue?

  • Environmental concerns
  • The cost of doing business for London’s local food producers
  • Access to local food for London’s caterers

3. What did we do about it?

  • Forming the Clerkenwell Consolidated Ordering Group
  • How did it work?
  • Clerkenwell COG suppliers
  • The Clerkenwell COG in action
  • Results
  • Continuation and compliance

4. Conclusions

Joining-the-Dots... Collaborative food buying and sustainable distribution for London restaurants
11pp - 2010 | 458Kb


Published 1 Jun 2010

Making Local Food Work: Making Local Food Work aimed to reconnect people and land through local food by increasing access to fresh, healthy, local food with clear, traceable origins.

11pp - 2010


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