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Food and Drink Fortnight

Posted by Neil Harrison on 6th September 2016

Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight is on between 3rd to 18th September. The nationwide event supports and promotes Scotland’s produce and the people who grow, make, cook and sell it. You can visit the Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight website, follow @scotfoodfort and engage with the discussion using #scotfoodfort.

The focus of this year’s celebration are the primary producer ‘food heroes’ - the farmers and fishermen whose hard work is the foundation of Scotland’s Land of Food and Drink. They are the backbone of the sector, growing, rearing, harvesting and catching top quality raw ingredients for suppliers to produce their goods; delivered to chefs to create beautiful dishes and to consumers to enjoy the finished product. They are integral to the continued success of our £14.3bn Scottish food and drink industry. Innovation and increasing the sustainability are key parts of Scotland’s Good Food Nation plan.

There are many examples of how our food heroes are taking up the challenge of making sure that what is produced is done in an environment friendly way. Here a few examples:

Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group

Their main product lines are rope-grown mussels and Pacific oysters. The rope grown mussels are an excellence example of sustainable sourcing. Mussel farming relies on the collection of spat (young mussels) which naturally attach themselves to ropes suspended in the sea beneath buoys. They then grow to marketable size in about two to three years by feeding naturally on sea plankton and do not require any external feed sources. Since they are suspended in open sea currents rather than being grown on the seabed, the mussels are succulent and grit-free. Rope grown mussels are very sustainable and this has enabled the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group to achieve certification on their farms by both the Friend of the Sea and Marine Stewardship Council standards as well-managed, sustainable and environmentally responsible operations. This means their mussels can now display the prestigious MSC and Friend of the Sea eco-labels.

Scotherbs

Scotherbs is the only volume grower, packer and supplier of fresh herbs and added-value herb products in Scotland, serving supermarkets, wholesalers and food manufacturers. A critical challenge facing Scotherbs was how to minimise waste in the supply chain. Doing this would require some radical changes. With support from Resource Efficient Scotland Scotherbs achieved around £60,000 of savings. Given the nature of the product, waste from the process can be high and they knew that even small reductions in raw material usage would make big improvements to their margins.

Mackies of Scotland

On their farm in Aberdeenshire they installed their own renewable energy supply. They took a phased approach with the first turbine being installed in 2005, adding two more in 2007. Altogether the three Vestas V52 wind turbines, named “Mackie’s”, “Ice” and “Cream”, have the capacity to supply the farm with 2.5MW.

Müller Wiseman

The East Kilbride dairy produces the most complex range of products of all the Müller Wiseman sites, this has its challenges but they are focused on continuous improvement to produce products as efficiently as possible.

The team opted for a site plan in the form of a treasure map as a way of getting everyone involved in improvements. Groups of ‘treasure hunters’ use the map to walk round the site looking for treasure, ‘treasure’ being ways of reducing the sites environmental impacts as well as costs. Examples of ‘treasure’ range from lights being left on to changing whole processes. The person that finds the treasure owns the project and is mentored to ensure the improvement is implemented. The map has provided a great spring board for improvements being identified:

  • milk waste from the bailer could be captured for pig feed, providing significant savings and reduces the effluent.
  • collecting the cream spills from a process line they could save money and again reduce effluent.

If you want to bring this same approach into your home visit our sections on managing food waste and eating greener. Use Scotland Food & Drink fortnight as an opportunity to make some changes of your own.