We bring together the right consultants and researchers to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and public and third sector stakeholders an accessible and comprehensive blend of advice and practical services. Take a look at how we’ve been supporting businesses on their sustainability journey within the Food and Footprint team.

Developing a Scottish seaweed salad for KelpCrofting

KelpCrofting, a seaweed farming business based off the Isle of Skye, cultivate brown kelp on lines out at sea, similar to how mussels are grown. KelpCrofting currently supplies sustainable kelp as a raw material to the food, feed and health industries. They are planning to develop a range of added-value seaweed food products but needed external expertise as they did not have any in-house food production capability.

After attending an SRUC workshop on seaweed applications in the agri-food sector, Kyla Orr, Co-Founder and Marine Scientist for KelpCrofting, approached SAC Consulting about developing a fresh, healthy seaweed salad for the UK retail market.

There are currently several frozen seaweed products on the UK market, imported from Southeast Asia, though these contain several preservatives, colourants and stabilisers. KelpCrofting wanted to produce a natural seaweed salad, which uses local produce and can be eaten straight out of the bag (or jar).

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KelpCrofting case study clip

Establishing alternative crops in the South of Scotland

South of Scotland Enterprise wanted to better understand the opportunities and barriers for producing, processing and marketing alternative crops in the region. SAC Consulting developed a study, shortlisting a group of crops deemed of most interest for the region, and analysing agronomic, processing, supply chain and market needs to enable crop establishment.

We created a report with next steps for crop and supply chain trials, as well as a series of farmer-oriented fact sheets presenting practical considerations and potential gross margins.

We conducted this study in response to a call from Scottish Enterprise in partnership with the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP). They were looking for an analysis of a range of alternative crops, including energy, protein, pharmaceutical, forestry, industrial, field scale vegetables and salad crops, to determine their opportunities for production, processing and market development in the South of Scotland. The work was funded by SOSEP for the new South of Scotland Enterprise agency (SOSE).

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Evaluation of Scotland's Regional Land Use Partnership pilots

The five Regional Land Use Partnership (RLUP) pilot regions for 2021–23 are an important step for the Scottish Government in achieving Scotland’s climate targets through the management of natural capital. The process evaluation undertaken by SAC Consulting analysed key issues that may impact on the delivery of the innovative RLUP pilots as they gain momentum. Gathering data through the engaging of key stakeholders, we analysed both enabling and inhibiting factors for success and addressed these in presentations and a technical report.

Since March 2021, five pilots have been establishing themselves in indicative Regional Spatial Strategy areas: the Northeast region (Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City), Cairngorms National Park, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, the Highland region and the South of Scotland (Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway).

The evaluation took a baseline before-and-after approach, to allow for the diversity in starting conditions across the different regions. Aided by a Theory of Change model, we mapped out these starting conditions and other inputs, the desired outcomes, and pathways to achieve these.

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Promoting Isle of Skye food, farming and tourism

The Isle of Skye is world renowned for its beautiful landscapes, culture, history and vibrant food and drink scene. Crofting plays a crucial role in supporting local economies, providing employment in remote rural areas and benefitting natural capital on the island.

Most livestock are sold through the local auction mart and eventually leave the island, losing the sense of product identity and provenance. With a booming tourism sector and consumer demand for high quality local produce, SAC Consulting explored new ways to connect producers with chefs, catering students and hospitality outlets. Since mutton has been replaced by lamb on many restaurant menus, we wanted to reignite consumer interest in this flavoursome meat.

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Farming for a Better Climate

Practical climate change mitigation measures can be good for both the environment and farm business, but where to start?

Working with farmers across Scotland, SAC Consulting delivers the Scottish Government funded Farming for a Better Climate initiative.  Farming for a Better Climate trialled and demonstrated a range of practical climate change mitigation measures that could be adapted and adopted to improve business efficiency and reduce the farm carbon footprint.

Working with volunteer focus farmers across Scotland, the Farming for a Better Climate initiative has seen first-hand the innovative measures farmers are putting in place and the benefits this can have for the farm business.

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Piloting a Natural Capital Assessment Template for NatureScot

This project aimed to develop and test a Natural Capital Assessment template specifically for land-based businesses, to give land managers an overview of the Natural Capital assets (habitats) on their land. The aspiration was to create a tool to give land managers a baseline to help them understand where to focus or how to make good decisions about the future.

In essence, the tool would offer a holistic approach to sustainable land management. NatureScot wanted to develop an easy-to-use template that took a whole farm approach, allowing land managers to identify and manage their natural capital assets to enhance biodiversity and mitigate against climate change. Following development of the template in Phase 1, Phase 2 tested the template to ascertain whether farmers and land managers would find it useful and how consultants and advisors found it.

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Angus Soft Fruits

Angus Soft Fruits is a leading supplier of berries to UK & European retailers.  Established in 1994, the business has worked closely with grower producer organisation Angus Growers since it was founded, as well as expanding through continual innovation and collaboration to build relationships with growers around the world, ensuring year-round supply of berries direct to the customer. 

The growers have been working with SAC Consulting since 2013 to provide independently assessed data showing carbon emissions per unit of production.  Using SAC Consulting’s Agrecalc Carbon Calculator, they have been able to successfully monitor and reduce their carbon emissions per tonne of fruit by an average of 28% since benchmarking began. 

Using the lessons learned by Angus Growers during the last 10 years, Angus Soft Fruits are now working with SAC Consulting to measure and reduce the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with the production, processing, transport, and packaging of berries in their global supply chain.

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