Business of the week: Backgrounds prop warehourse, Brewery Road

Piers Herron, Backgrounds company secretary. Picture: Polly Hancock

Piers Herron, Backgrounds company secretary. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

In a new weekly feature, we highlight a fascinating or quirky company doing business here in Islington. And what better place to start than Backgrounds, a warehouse which stocks half a million food props.

Piers Herron, Backgrounds company secretary. Picture: Polly Hancock

Piers Herron, Backgrounds company secretary. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

If you’ve ever followed a recipe from a food magazine or cookbook, have you ever noticed the pepper grinder lurking in the background of the picture? Or the knife rack? Thought not.

And that’s kind of the point: to make the kitchen scene look as homely as possible. Chances are, these background props have been hired from a huge warehouse in a Cally industrial estate.

Backgrounds, in Brewery Road, specialises in props for food photography. It stocks 500,000 props, and moved to the Cally five years ago.

Clients range from fast food giants like McDonald’s to upmarket supermarkets such as Waitrose.


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Company secretary Piers Herron says: “Our stuff mainly gets used in supermarket magazines, food magazines and cookbooks. We are primarily used in print but have supplied for TV as well, for adverts with KFC and McDonald’s.

“We supply everything apart from the food. Selling food is the primary objective for our clients, but all of our props are for the background, from plates to pots to pans to napkins.”

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