Food processing and brewing played a major role in the industrial development and subsequent history of the region.

By the beginning of the 20th century, food production and brewing were developing on an industrial scale, employing thousands of people across the region.

For decades these industries thrived, from the Tate sugar refinery and Lyle sugar factory in Silvertown, Newham to Romford Brewery in Havering.

However the decline of the Port of London and increased competition led to the closure of many factories and breweries during the 1980s.

Today, there are no volume brewers in the area; Romford Brewery is now the site of a major shopping centre. Isolated outposts of food processing still survive in the form of the combined Tate and Lyle factory in Silvertown.