Above all else, COVID-19 has shown us the gaps in our current way of life. From poor logistics for mass vaccine distribution, to the erosion and subsequent closure of small enterprises. Within the first few months of the pandemic, 7% of SMEs shuttered for good in London, and over the course of 2020, 73% of small food businesses have reported being at risk with an average loss of 33% revenue. Without a doubt, Independent food businesses in the UK are suffering from the COVID-19 crisis. Throughout the UK there are 212,000 smallholding farms, 19,000 independent grocery retailers, and 127,000 tourism and hospitality businesses in the UK, all of which provide a range of social, environmental and economic values to local and national communities.
The possibility that COVID-19 will lead to their eventual closure is imminent. With a lack of capital resources, legal recourse, and financial viability; these small businesses, the backbone of the UK and the workforce, will shutter permanently. In this new, fast changing environment, existing local food businesses struggle to maintain financial viability, make informed decisions, and reach new and existing customers. It is precisely for this reason that we submit- the London Food Lab. A small food business incubator designed to help BAME and Low Income entrepreneurs in an effort help build confidence, resilience, and provide resources for established, struggling, and start up businesses who want to create a more sustainable, equitable and fair food system.