'Stories of local food' A study of small food and drink producers' sustainability in the Scottish Borders
(2014) 'Stories of local food' A study of small food and drink producers' sustainability in the Scottish Borders, no. 64.
Aim and Objectives: The main aim of this paper is to establish how sustainable small food and drinks producers are in the Scottish Borders through examining four key concepts highlighted in literature. These concepts are: the personal nature of business strategy; networking and the producer-consumer relationship; the use of alternative methods of distribution; and the hybridization of production and supply. Method: Semi-structured interviews were carried out with a total of eight participants investigating the practices utilized by producers and gaining qualitative information to be explored in relation to the sustainability and survival tactics of SME producers in the Borders. Limitations within the research include that a larger, more diverse sample would yield more generalizable results. Results: The strategies used by the participants are of a highly personal nature, with a focus on functions such as production, marketing, distribution, networking and supply systems. From emerging themes within the research, it is found that locational issues have limited the producers' ability to survive in the Scottish Borders market alone, with the majority of participants moving to supply in Edinburgh. Nevertheless, the prevailing outlook of businesses was to provide local food in a local market: a key factor in the overall aim of business from the producers. Outcomes: Conclusions and recommendations for further research are highlighted with emphasis on measurements that can be implemented both within industry as well as through government initiatives.