£160k funding awarded for Scottish sustainable food and drink businesses

17 February 2022

Scottish food and drink producers have been awarded a share of £160k of funding for sustainable projects as part of an industry-wide commitment to net zero.

17 businesses from across the country have secured the funding from the Scottish Food & Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund for collaborative projects with Scottish universities to accelerate their journey to net zero. Primary producers, manufacturers and hospitality businesses were among funding recipients with projects with eight different academic institutions.


The fund aims to encourage businesses to take action on their environmental impacts in a meaningful way by partnering with world-leading experts and academics in engineering, manufacturing, biotechnology and data science that Scotland is blessed with.

Launched by Scotland Food & Drink Partnership and Interface in October 2021, the Net Zero Challenge Fund is a key initiative of the Scottish Government-backed industry Recovery Plan.

Jennifer McLachlan, Strategy & External Relations Senior Manager, said: “Congratulations to the recipients of the Net Zero Challenge Funding. Our industry-wide goal to reach net zero is ambitious, but by working closely with colleagues in academia, it is within our grasp.

“Food and drink businesses of all sizes have a role to play and innovation, like we’ve seen from the businesses receiving this funding, is happening across the sector. Reducing our carbon footprint isn’t just good for the environment, but it’s increasingly becoming a demand from consumers, retailers and wholesalers, so businesses need to adapt. Thankfully Scotland is already a leader in sustainable food production and with focused, collaborative efforts like the Net Zero Challenge Fund, we can protect both the planet and our bottom lines.”

David Thomson, Chief Executive Officer at Food and Drink Federation Scotland, added:

“It is vital that the whole supply chain works together to deliver net zero food and drink products on our supermarket shelves. I was delighted to Chair the Scotland Food & Drink net zero taskforce which set out our industry’s ambition to work together to achieve that.

“Food and drink businesses across Scotland want to play their part - funding initiatives like this is a great start to helping businesses on their journey to net zero.”     

Fiona Houston, Founder and SeaEO at Mara Seaweed said: “Seaweed absorbs around 50% more carbon than the tropical rainforest in its growth cycle; but as a company, we want to ensure that our manufacturing process is net zero so that we can fulfil our goal of offering the market products that are truly good for planet health and human health, end to end.

“The Net Zero Challenge Fund will allow us to ensure that we lower our carbon footprint on our processing while significantly improving our productivity and capacity so that we can scale our business and reach new markets. It’s a win-win for the environment and us as a business.”

More information 

The 17 recipients of the Net Zero Challenge Funding were:


Academic partner

Annandale Distillery

Edinburgh Napier University

Matugga Distillery

Heriot-Watt University

Ardgowan Distillery & Briggs of Burton

Heriot-Watt University

Arbikie Distilling Ltd

Heriot-Watt University

Kilimo IoT Ltd

Robert Gordon University

Caledonian Seaweeds Ltd & Seaweed Generation Ltd

James Hutton Institute

Aurora Sustainability Group

University of Aberdeen

Highland Coast Hotels

North Highland College, UHI

Grown Agritech Ltd

University of Aberdeen

Dunnet Bay Distillers Ltd

University of the West of Scotland

Kinkell Farm Microgreens & Market Garden

James Hutton Institute

Mara Seaweed

Edinburgh Napier University

Blackthorn Salt

Edinburgh Napier University

Soltropy Ltd

Heriot-Watt University



Sutherlands of Portsoy

University of Aberdeen

North Uist Distillery

University of Highlands and Islands

For more information about the Scottish Food & Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund please visit interface-online.org.uk.