A farmer-led food project that uses technology to show consumers the field-to-fork journey will open its first retail space in the UK, creating 60 jobs.
Shoppers can scan a barcode on the product and trace the ingredients back to the farm, boat or field where they came from.
Castle Quay shopping centre in Banbury, Oxfordshire, will host the centre, which includes a butcher, fishmonger, deli and farm shop.
The initiative is run by network group Happerley, who say they want to validate provenance claims made in the food and drink industry to create transparency and better inform consumers.
The Happerley England food and drink centre was opened on Saturday (29 August) by BBC Countryfile TV presenter and farmer, Adam Henson, and chef and restaurateur, Mike Robinson. It is the first stage of a £70m regeneration of Banbury town centre.
Producers around the UK can sign up and have their ingredient supply chain validated and published, for consumers to read when they are out shopping.
Transparency and truth
Matthew Rymer, Happerley co-founder, said: “This is about delivering transparency and truth for the benefit of all.
“It is about telling the story of field to fork, creating community space, a platform for genuine interaction and a sustainable business model for all.”
Mr Rymer, a livestock farmer, co-founded Happerley in 2014 with poultry and cattle farmer Clifford Freeman.
Happerely England is the first stage in transforming the food and drink industry, to become transparent and make the journey of our food accessible to consumers. Plans are under way to set up similar sites in Scotland and Wales.
A bakery, cheese counter, off-licence, three takeaways, a restaurant and a bar will also be at the Banbury site.
All produce sold at the retail space must have the “Happerley Gold” certification or in the process of becoming certified, meaning consumers can trace the ingredients using QR technology on their phone.
Happerley said one of its most pressing objectives is to support food and drink suppliers and producers through coronavirus and help them continue to feed the nation.
Farmers Weekly is getting behind the #FeedtheNation campaign to back UK farmers working flat out to produce safe, affordable and reliable food to feed the nation this harvest.
With our partners, we are raising public awareness of this campaign by highlighting the actions farmers are taking to get food to consumers.