Backing for ethical food group Locavore’s plans
Reuben Chesters: ‘we are in an important position’
Scotland’s first social enterprise supermarket, Locavore, has secured £850,000 as it looks to capitalise on increased demand for local, organic and zero waste food and goods.
Since opening in 2011, the Glasgow-based business has opened three shops in the city, developed market gardens, established a veg box scheme and engaged shoppers in issues around food provenance.
During a typical month, Locavore serves 15,000 customers in its shops and delivers 7,000 veg boxes across central Scotland. With a turnover of around £4.3 million, it now employs almost 90 people.
While many retail markets were adversely impacted by changing restrictions during the pandemic, the fresh food sector was one to have benefited from consistently high consumer demand.
Locavore’s deliveries increased from1,500 boxes per week to almost 2,000 by the end of March 2020, the first month of lockdown. Currently operating at capacity, there is a waiting list in excess of 1,000.
The £850,000 funding package includes a mix of loan and grant funding from Social Investment Scotland (SIS). This will help Locavore achieve its two-year plan to build a network of 10 shops and increase its capacity to deliver 22,500 veg boxes per month.
The workforce will double to 180 and turnover is expected to rise to £10m.
Reuben Chesters, managing director, said: “Within Scotland we’ll be one of the biggest retailers, wholesalers and veg box schemes of our kind with an important position to play in development of the organic market.”
Alastair Davis, chief executive of SIS said: “Locavore is a real success story and proof of how a social enterprise can be run successfully whilst being ethical and delivering high levels of social impact.”