New Covent Garden Market’s County Supplies was a runner up in the Foodservice Supplier of the Year category at the FPC Fresh Awards 2023 on September 29th.
This year's award was presented to winning company Mark Murphy, part of the Dole Group, by journalist Jay Rayner in a ceremony at Grosvenor House on Park Lane.
Building on the success of winning Foodservice Supplier of the Year in 2022, County Supplies hasn’t stood still, says Founder and CEO Robert Hurren. The New Covent Garden based business has had a busy year of growth and supporting the hospitality industry, as well as trying to do its bit for the wider community.
Remaining true to its family business values of service and excellence, County Supplies has a range of new and existing customers from schools and event caterers through to film sets and Michelin star chefs. Working out of New Covent Garden Market, it’s a 24/7 business supplying more than 600 customers with over 2,500+ produce lines including fruit, vegetables, dairy, dry and frozen lines.
“We serve customers of all types in all their needs. Managing specific delivery windows, specialist produce requests, individual prep needs and unique packaging requirements. Every order – from zoos to contract caterers – receives the same first-class treatment,” says Rob, pictured below. “We hand pick, pack and deliver every order – no matter the size. That’s how we’ve built our reputation around consistent quality and service.”
He adds: “The County Supplies team is at the heart of what we do and over the past 12 months has grown by more than 20%. Led by an expert management team who have [a combined] 150+ years’ experience in buying and operations, we follow the highest quality sustainability procedures – as recognised by our LEAF and Red Tractor certifications and BRC AA accreditation.”
From hand picking produce for Henley and the Wimbledon Champions Dinner to meeting precise delivery windows at Tottenham Hotspur FC, delivery logistics sits at the core of what the firm does. At the heart of everything is an understanding of how important it is that deliveries are both accurate and on time.
“With two new tail lift vehicles joining our 18-strong fleet of fully refrigerated and customised vans, we’re incredibly proud to report a 99.8% GARMIN delivery rate. We also have our very own County Supplies scooter for urgent requests and delicate produce deliveries,” says Rob.
“Our new ordering app enables customers to select their favourites, access data and manage their account. We’re also investing in handheld tablets for our 20+ packing team.”
A vision for a greener future
The company works with kitchens daily to help manage their waste, using recyclable brown bags and returnable crates, and only using plastic packaging where necessary. It recently invested in composite County Supplies packaging, which is fully biodegradable.
“Our focus on first deliveries results in a positive impact on emissions,” says Rob. “We actively encourage and work with our customers to reduce the number of daily deliveries, to help reduce emissions. And all recyclable waste is collected by our drivers and returned to New Covent Garden Market’s full-onsite zero-to-landfill recycling facility.”
Rob gives a few examples of how he and his team have delivered time-critical produce and gone above and beyond:
The firm also launched The Best of British Farming’ a campaign, which celebrates the fresh produce industry and those responsible for feeding our nation. Aimed at chefs and customers, the campaign seeks to encourage the purchase of British produce in support of our UK farmers and centres around three core pillars, which Rob describes here:
The County Supplies Monthly Market Report
Packed with the latest information on produce availability, our monthly Market Report celebrates what’s in season from the best of British growers, along with relevant industry news. Publishing on the 1st of every month, it provides valuable insights for chefs enabling them to create delicious seasonal menus.
The County Supplies Market Chef Series (NEW)
Launched in Autumn 2022, County Supplies’ Market Chef series recognises the very best of seasonal produce. Working with top chefs, the firm has filmed more than 15 menu ideas including English Asparagus, Salsa Romanesco & Leafy Lemon Aioli, Forced Rhubarb Crumble & Coconut Custard and Middle Eastern Carrot & Chickpea Soup. These have been supported by six ‘produce tips’ which inform and educate chefs on how to select the best produce. Since launch, The Market Chef has reached an audience of more than 132,000!
The County Supplies Grower Interview Series (NEW)
Working with leading British growers through a new grower interview series, County Supplies captured their stories and passion for how to grow the best seasonal produce. From succulent strawberries to the perfect asparagus spears, readers gain an insider’s perspective on how growers maximise flavour and quality and are working towards building a more sustainable farming future.
‘The Best of British Farming’ campaign has reached over 110,000 accounts, made 300,000 impressions and achieved a record-breaking open rate of 43%.