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Opinion: Supporting local producers matters now more than ever

The Scottish food and drink sector is facing unprecedented challenges, here Cat Thomson writes about the importance of where you choose to spend your money.

Published: July 14, 2021
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Have you, like me, forgotten what the sensation of coins jangling in your pocket feels like? If I'm honest I can't remember the last time I handed over any readies.

Covid 19, has almost ended cash transactions and changed spending habits forever. However, what we spend our money on has never been so important.

Cash transactions are in decline but where you spend money has never been as important
Cash transactions are in decline but where you spend money has never been as important. Picture : Getty

Scotland is blessed with some of the world's finest produce, I've lost count of the number of times I've heard the phrases, 'world beating', 'second to none' when interviewing chefs.

During lockdown, this fact set me off on a mission to tell the stories behind some of Scottish food heroes in my weekly Scotland's larder series of articles.

Talking to them has been an education and a privilege, and a joy and no matter the size of business, everyone has been badly affected.

Dr Graham and his beloved Jersey cow herd.
Dr Graham and his beloved Jersey cow herd.

As Dr Robert Graham of Graham's The Family Dairy told me, "when everything shut down we had to dramatically change the business, the next day we lost so many customers”, "the first couple of months were really tough, but we got round it”.


Or the palpable threat felt by The Lobster Man, Stewart Pearson, with the weight of over 300 years of family history heaped on his shoulders, he told me things looked grim, "overnight we couldn't sell our lobsters, I thought 'what are we going to do?”

Stewart Pearson, The Lobster Man
Stewart Pearson, The Lobster Man. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

He explained he made the decision to sell to customers direct.

However is has not been all doom and gloom as Covid 19 has provide opportunities for example, like Chloe Oswald, of Chocolatia who formed a sideline business, when she was furloughed from her dream job as chocolatier at Gleneagles.

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Chloe Oswald Chocolatier Chocolatia
Chloe Oswald Chocolatier Chocolatia

That entrepreneurial spirit wouldn’t have materialised without the pause caused by taking an enforced career break.

The Scottish food and drink sector is facing unprecedented challenges, so which businesses or people you choose to spend our money with matters.

It doesn't matter if it is pounds and pence or contactless payments, if you want to see a vibrant, diverse and independent food sector then just like the wartime Kitchener poster, “Your country needs you.”

1914: The famous World War I recruiting poster featuring Lord Kitchener. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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Catriona is based in the Scottish Borders and works as part of the audiovisual team at the Scotsman but she reviews restaurants for Scotland on Sunday and writes for Scotsman Food and Drink in her spare time.

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