The last year has been challenging for the industry, but it has also opened new opportunities for some people. Many companies who supplied the food service sector started delivering veg boxes to stay afloat when the pubs and restaurant had to close. Certainly, more people started looking to buy produce online.
Ramona Obafemi closed her café in Aberdeen and started up Mad Potato, an online marketplace where customers can buy local grown and locally sourced produce. They supply a whole range of grocery items and have just teamed up with another local start up TrackGenesis to focus on the provenance of the produce they sell.
“This was something I’d wanted to do for a long time,” explains Ramona. “Big retailers have a massive impact on the environment and on how and where our food is produced. I want to focus on sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. By sourcing from local businesses, we can reduce packaging and more importantly people will know exactly where their food is coming from.”
Of all the different products offered Ramona said that fruit and vegetable are the most difficult to source and to accurately track the provenance.
“We have a local supplier who grows a large range of vegetables for us when they are in season but being in the North East of Scotland obviously has its challenges when sourcing local fresh fruit and vegetables out of season. When we can’t get them locally we source fruit and vegetables from importers who use sea-freight not air-freight and together do our best to check the providence of the produce and try to limit the impact on the environment as much as we can.
“Our partnership with TrackGenesis will hopefully allow us to develop and improve the information we can give our customers. It will most likely be done by using a QR code which can be scanned using a phone camera. The information needs to be presented in an engaging way to the consumer.”
“We can’t compete with the retailers on price, that’s not the point. What I want to do is to get people to question what they buy and what they eat, and how and where it is produced. Is what you buy from the supermarket worth a saving of a few pence? I really hope that supermarkets will follow this trend.”
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