Distilleries and seaweed firm among Scottish food and drink producers to secure sustainable funding

Several distilleries and a seaweed supplier are among Scottish food and drink producers to have been awarded a share of £160,000 of funding for sustainable projects.

A total of 17 businesses have secured the funding from the Scottish Food & Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund for collaborative projects with Scottish universities to accelerate their journey to net zero.

Primary producers, manufacturers and hospitality businesses were among funding recipients with projects with eight different academic institutions.

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The fund aims to encourage businesses to take action on their environmental impacts “in a meaningful way” by partnering with experts and academics in engineering, manufacturing, biotechnology and data science.

David Thomson (CEO, Food & Drink Federation Scotland), Jennifer McLachlan (strategy & external relations senior manager, Scotland Food & Drink) and Fiona Huston (SeaEO Mara Seaweed). Picture: Mike Wilkinson

Launched by Scotland Food & Drink Partnership and Interface last October, the dedicated fund is a key initiative of the Scottish Government-backed industry recovery plan.

David Thomson, chief executive at Food and Drink Federation Scotland, said: “It is vital that the whole supply chain works together to deliver net zero food and drink products on our supermarket shelves. I was delighted to chair the Scotland Food & Drink net zero taskforce which set out our industry’s ambition to work together to achieve that.

“Food and drink businesses across Scotland want to play their part - funding initiatives like this is a great start to helping businesses on their journey to net zero.”

Fiona Houston, founder of Mara Seaweed, which is one of the recipients of the funding, said: “Seaweed absorbs around 50 per cent more carbon than the tropical rainforest in its growth cycle; but as a company, we want to ensure that our manufacturing process is net zero so that we can fulfil our goal of offering the market products that are truly good for planet health and human health, end to end.

“The Net Zero Challenge Fund will allow us to ensure that we lower our carbon footprint on our processing while significantly improving our productivity and capacity so that we can scale our business and reach new markets. It’s a win-win for the environment and us as a business.”

Prior to the pandemic, Scotland’s food and drink industry was worth some £15 billion, employing about 115,000 people.

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