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Retail outlet to showcase best of Scotland’s independent food producers

25/07/2023
Foodies in Glasgow

A CITY CENTRE store that brings together some of Scotland’s best independent food producers under the one roof for the first time, has been launched.

Foodies will provide retail space for more than 60 independent producers of high quality, specialist, and artisan foods, opened its doors to customers in Buchanan Galleries, Glasgow on Monday.

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Traders include producers of coffee and specialist teas, honey, jams and chutneys, relishes and pickles, sauces, marinades, and glazes. It will also sell, biscuits, chocolate, oatcakes, soft drinks, herbs, spices, and seasonings. If successful, there are plans to open more Foodies stores across Scotland. 

The business is the brainchild of Lynzi Leroy, who is the chief executive of the not-for-profit Scottish Design Exchange (SDX), which features the work of hundreds of artists and designers at its three stores in Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as through its online store.

Foodies will operate the same business model as SDX, providing a high street presence for small independent food producers who will pay a fixed, monthly fee to rent space in the store, and keep 100% of their sales, so they’re not penalised for the popularity of their products. 

Leroy said the launch of the new business is in response to overwhelming demand from SDX traders and customers for a dedicated food store. She anticipates the new store will be popular with tourists as well as customers from Glasgow and further afield.

She said: “Scotland has some of the world’s finest food producers but, unless you are a big company with deep pockets, it can be hard to get your products in front of customers.

“Thousands of smaller, independent producers struggle to reach their target market, and the idea behind Foodies was borne out of a desire to help them. 

“Other than at farmers’ markets, which tend to be limited to weekends and where footfall can be affected by poor weather, there is really nowhere for them to market and sell their products – until now.”

Foodies’ traders include Hoods Honey, an East Lothian-based company with more than 200 beehives – and 13million bees – across Lothian and the Borders, some of which date back to the 1930s. 

Beeswax from these hives is used to make the seal affixed to every piece of legislation passed by the Scottish parliament since it was opened in 1999.

Stuart Hood, whose father launched the business in the 1950s, said its fortunes have been transformed since it started selling through SDX.

He said: “We are really excited about Foodies which, we anticipate, will do for the Scottish artisan food industry what SDX has done for artists and craftspeople.

“SDX gives businesses like ours a level of exposure we could never hope to achieve on our own, because of the prohibitive costs associated with having a high street presence.

“As well as selling to home-based customers, we are also exposed to thousands of tourist customers every year, giving us an international profile.”

He added: “Scotland has an amazing food industry, full of talented, local producers handling some of the world’s finest raw ingredients, and Foodies will help to showcase those skills and products in a way that’s never been done before.”

Other traders include Kirkintilloch-based Schoolyard, which manufactures a range of chillie-infused jellies, jams, sauces, and chocolate pretzels and Blackthorn Scottish Sea salt, located in Ayr, which produces organic sea salt flakes in a natural and sustainable way.

Kim Cameron, owner of Kirriemuir-based Jam Bothy, another tenant which produces a range of jams made from Scottish produce, said the Foodies business model was a potential game changer for her company.

She said: “We wouldn’t be able to take a space in Buchanan Galleries or Glasgow city to sell jam. The price point would be prohibitive because the margin on jam is so low.

“Without something like Foodies, you just wouldn’t see independent, hand-made products in the centre of Glasgow. It allows small, independent producers to have a showcase in Scotland’s shopping capital.”

Kathy Murdoch, Centre Manager at Buchanan Galleries, said, “We’ve noticed an increase in our customers’ desire to shop more locally, and Foodies is the perfect solution thanks to the fantastic range of Scottish traders onboard. 

“We’ve continuously supported the growth of Scottish Design Exchange within Buchanan Galleries and have watched the store go from strength to strength. We’re confident that Foodies, and its traders, will follow in the success of the 3 other SDX stores across Scotland, and bring locally made products to a wider customer base. 

“With a huge range of products from over 60 proudly Scottish traders, Foodies will have something for everyone, and will no doubt tickle the tastebuds for our local Glaswegian’s looking for their favourite treats or tourists in search for a true taste of Scotland.”

Foodies will bring the total number of SDX outlets to four. Its existing shops, in Buchanan Galleries, George Street and the Royal Mile, in Edinburgh currently provide retail space for 320 artists, designers, and local craftspeople.

Its retail spaces and online store have generated more than £6million of revenue for independent producers since SDX launched in 2015.

Foodies will be located one unit away from the SDX Glasgow store which has been trading in Buchanan Galleries for the past five years. During that time, it has built a loyal customer base, generating more than 32,000 transactions, worth a total of £832,000 in sales, in the past year alone.

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