The Big Interview: Mercato Metropolitano

In our April issue of OOH we spoke to Andrea Rasca, founder and CEO of Mercato Metropolitano

After nine years of successful trading, Andrea Rasca, founder and CEO of Mercato Metropolitano talks to us about his continued success.

How has Mercato Metropolitano (MM) grown since its founding almost 10 years ago?

Since 2015, MM has been driven by the belief in natural, nutritious, and affordable food as a unifying force to change people's approach to food.

Since 2016, we've opened several locations across London, repurposing old, abandoned buildings. We have created a new ethical business model, while helping contribute to the wellbeing of children and vulnerable families in local communities who have not been supported enough by the government. For example, we host a series of community events to unite people with shared interests and also started a delivery project – MMYconcierge – offering a more personalised delivery service to the community within a 200m radius of MMy Wood Wharf.

However, when you start building something like this and you truly want it, you don’t typically think of scalability. When you focus on your goals, and give all your energy into what you believe is right rather than solely growth and profit, it becomes a law of attraction.

MM is more than just market food. What is MM doing differently to others?

MM is a proven model without sponsorship from big corporations or conglomerates. People recognise that food is connected to social engagement, so the recognition of MM’s social impact is immediate.

What makes us stand out is the fact that we are a movement of independent artisans and small producers who share the same values from sourcing to food delivery. This ensures we provide healthy, nutritious and accessible food to everyone.

Our sustainable sourcing policy is an integral part of the day-to-day operations at all our Mercato Metropolitano sites. Our policy is to work with local and independent suppliers, producers, and artisans to radically avoid ultra-processed produce. We seek to support ecological farming practices that avoid the use of chemicals and maintain high animal welfare standards. We also ensure that our packaging is compostable or biodegradable to limit the impact on the environment. All the trading partners at each of our MM sites are also expected to adhere to these standards and we help them to be more sustainable and perform in line with MM’s principles.

What do you think makes a successful food trader?

The basis for successful food trading partner comes down to two things: love and passion. They have to love what they do and have a strong passion for it.

They have to understand the wider purpose of the work that they do which is to consistently feed people good, healthy and nutritious food. All while sharing Mercato Metropolitano’s ethical values.

Beyond this, a successful trading partner feels empowered and driven in their purpose to support their own families and work in an environment where they feel they belong and can be their true selves. This is what MM offers. We help people succeed through collaboration, partnerships, training and continuous support.

Mercato Metropolitano is celebrating its 9th birthday next year – what are the plans going forward?

Our mission is simple yet ambitious — bringing people together through our regenerative food and community movement. We want to keep feeding those most vulnerable. We want to bring people together, regardless of background, to share a delicious meal and be more socially inclusive. This was demonstrated through the Better Hospitality Conference which recently took place at Mercato Mayfair. It brought together industry experts discussing topical issues within the hospitality industry, including sustainability, food culture, resilience, and nutrition.

Click here to read the full interview from our April issue

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