Forward-thinking food-related businesses across Scotland are proving it is possible to face a pandemic, start a new enterprise and operate sustainably to help protect the planet.
The best have just been named as the latest #FoodHeroScot champions for their dedication to doing things differently, effecting positive change and promoting sustainability.
Launched last year by Medialiciously and its partners, #FoodHeroScot is a visual story-telling campaign aimed at putting sustainability at the heart of Scotland’s recovering post-pandemic food and drink industry and creating a platform for the country’s hospitality businesses.
The non-profit campaign, which is supported by STV’s £1m Green Fund, awards its champions an in-kind support package, including marketing and PR, worth over £25,000 to highlight the sustainability efforts of the successful brands.
It includes ten powerful mini documentaries on businesses or social enterprises shared on the #FoodHeroScot website and spotlighted through a media campaign delivered by STV.
It is also supported by leading Scots business figures including: Alan Mahon, Founder of Brewgooder; Nick Nairn, Owner of Nairns Ltd; Carina Contini, Director at Victor & Carina Contini; Karis Gill, Co-Founder of Social Stories Club and Loral Quinn, CEO of Sustainably.
Commenting on the latest #FoodHeroScot awards, Lee Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Medialiciously and key founder of #FoodHeroScot said: “It’s a real joy to see that there are so many inventive businesses determined to change the ways things are done and create a new, sustainable future.
"It’s never been more important to operate more ethically and responsibly and fantastic things are being achieved all over the country.
"Our latest winners illustrate how all sorts of businesses can contribute to the campaign.”
Edinburgh Food Social is a social enterprise teaching young people and communities about local, seasonal food through hands-on cookery classes, workshops, school projects and community meals.
It focuses on improving the life chances of people facing poverty and their free meals are produced using food that would have otherwise gone to waste.
Kirsty Haigh, head of Edinburgh Food Social, said: “Winning this public vote is an honour for us but the truth is we never had any choice.
"We work in some of the communities who were worst hit by the pandemic and sitting back and letting people go hungry was never an option.
"We are determined to bring healthy, sustainable, delicious food to everyone who needs it in Edinburgh, and winning this award will help us continue to do that.”
Mossgiel Organic Farm, in Mauchline, Ayrshire, exists to be the sustainable choice in dairy and emblazons its vans with the motto: ‘Changing Dairy, for a sustainable future’
Bryce Cunningham from Mossgiel Organic Farm said: “We have an ambition to be net zero by December 2025 which we will be doing through the use of renewable technology, using organic grazing management for our cattle and, along with the farmers who supply us, regenerating our soils to sequestrate carbon into them.
“We have also been 100% single-use plastic free since January 2019 and we currently 50% of our delivery vehicles are 100% electric.
"Winning the support from this award will allow us to tell more people of our story, deliver more value to people in all areas of our supply chain whilst showing the world that Scottish Organic Dairy can be truly sustainable, natural and ethical.”
Re:Store in Lossiemouth is Moray’s zero wate refill shop, offering an alternative to supermarket shopping, and is owned by Alison Ruickbie.
She says: “I opened the shop as a result of not being able to find plastic/packaging free products locally.
"I carry out extensive research before stocking a product to ensure its sustainable and ethical. My suppliers and food producers all share my ethos and brand values.
"I use suppliers who operate a circular/loop system - when their 20 litre containers are empty, I send a pallet back to be refilled and reused. I believe there is no point in me saving a few 500ml bottles if I then must recycle a huge 20 litre one.
“No one individual can live a perfect zero waste life but if lots of people do a little bit toward reducing waste, we can make a huge difference together.”
Ethic Earth is a multi-cause ethical directory aimed at easily making available a wide range of ethical options to consumers who might otherwise invest in less ethical products, services or food.
It also offers eco-conscious and humane companies globally the chance to showcase their businesses to the world.
Founder Mia Calder says: “We are a brand-new company and only launched in May 2021.
"I am currently funding the company out of my own pocket while working full-time and raising my daughter on my own. It is a very daunting task and I do not have the finances to market Ethic Earth to its full potential.
"Being seen and supported by established and respected platforms such as Food Hero Scot and its media partners will make a huge difference to let businesses and consumers alike become aware of what we are all about.”
To find out more about supporting the green recovery of the industry or for more details on how to nominate businesses in the food and drink sector, visit the Food Hero website.