Sustainability is recipe for growth success for two Scottish food firms

Since it was founded by husband and wife team John and Isabella Paterson in 1895, growing responsibly and sustainably has been a key focus for Paterson Arran.

Output of the company’s shortbread, biscuits, oatcakes, chutneys, mustards and preserves has increased by more than 80 per cent since 2006 to meet growing demand.

Over the same period, Paterson Arran has reduced the amount of general waste it generates by 59 per cent, and cut the energy used to make each tonne of its product by 42 per cent.

“Since 2014, the site has been landfill free,” explains Adam Wilson, technical manager at Paterson Arran.

“General waste is sent to a refuse-derived fuel plant to make electricity – and all the company’s food production waste is recycled as animal feed.

“We have an Environmental Committee, which involves staff at all levels of the business. This has given different departments the opportunity to voice their ideas on environmental issues, and has helped communicate the company’s environmental message throughout the business.”

The company is one of ten businesses shortlisted for the ‘Best of VIBES – the Scottish Environment Business Awards’ – as part of the Awards’ 20th anniversary celebrations.

Paterson Arran won the Management SME VIBES Award in 2017.

Since they were established in 1999 the VIBES Awards have recognised more than 150 businesses in Scotland that are taking significant steps to improve or reduce their impact on the environment, typically making significant financial savings in the process.

Also on the Best of VIBES shortlist is The Bay Fish and Chips in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, which has won multiple awards for its fish and chips and its dedication to sustainability.

Founder Calum Richardson champions eco-friendly practice and local produce around the world and, with just 16 staff, says no business is too small to make a difference.

Sustainability is a core part of The Bay’s daily practices and business DNA,” Richardson says. “We were truly one of the first fish and chip businesses to turn the tide on single use plastic, paper, and food waste, as well as setting the bar high for our suppliers – encouraging positive change throughout the supply chain.”

The business, which served around 240,000 customers last year, sources 90 per cent of its ingredients from a 50-mile radius and was the first fish and chip shop to sell Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified haddock. This means it is fished sustainably and can be traced back to an MSC certified fishery.

All waste oil is turned into biofuel; food waste is collected and recycled into compost; all The Bay’s packaging is compostable and the company sources 100 per cent of its energy from renewable sources.

The Bay Fish and Chips won the Management SME category in the 2012 VIBES Awards.

The Best of VIBES winner will be chosen by public vote.

To read about all ten shortlisted companies and place your vote, visit the VIBES website here.