Shop Review – Union Market, Fulham Broadway

Since the demise of the much-missed Fulham branch of Planet Organic there has been a need for a shop in SW6 which sells the small brands and ethical products not readily available from the nearby branches of Waitrose and Sainsbury’s.

Certainly the initial impression of the store is excellent – open, spacious, light and inviting.  A wide central aisle leads to hero sub-sections such as butchery, produce, dairy and food-to-go. At the back of the store is a small café and an extensive selection of booze, whilst grocery is off to one side. So far, so good. I could do without some of the faux-retro fittings but that is a minor quibble.

There are a lot of staff in evidence, some engaged in a wine tasting which I regretfully declined (interview with daughters’ teacher later today).  Lots of brands you would expect in a fine food outlet – Seggiano, Olives Et Al, Cawston Press. A smattering of organic, a soupcon of Fairtrade and very little Free From.

I think what we have here is a large, rather nice deli. It is not a health food shop, and to be fair Union Market describes itself on its website as being about “traceable, natural, regional, high quality, best practice British food. We will be affordable and accessible.“

Where I disagree is the use of the word “affordable”. A small (400g) non-organic spelt loaf cost £3.45 which I think is only affordable on a regular basis to people with very deep pockets. And certainly there are plenty such people who live in and around Fulham Broadway. I hope they will support Union Market – it is a bold and confident enterprise and I hope it does well. However I will be staying on the District Line for a few extra stops to Westbourne Grove, where a more traditional healthfood shop at Planet Organic awaits.