|From this van will come great scran.|
Good food doesn’t have to cost the earth. Some of the best things I have eaten have been put together using simple, healthy and economic ingredients. When many of us in the UK continue to feel a significant pinch on our finances – thanks to the global economic crash – and the prices of many foodstuffs are rocketing, it’s more important than ever that people have access to nutritious food that is not expensive.
Unfortunately, for far too many people in Scotland there remains a direct link between poor health and a poor diet: three quarters of the population consumes more than the recommended daily level of salt; and less than 25% of Scots consume the recommend five portions of fruit and vegetables each day (more info here). Part of the problem with Scotland’s diet stems from the fact that, whether as a result of time poverty or financial poverty, a significant proportion of the food we consume is pre-prepared and contains high levels of fat, sugar and salt. But things might soon be set to change in the Scottish region of Renfrewshire, thanks to a novel food project.
Food in the Hood is a mobile food initiative that aims to prepare, cook and sell home-style meals at tea time, to communities throughout Renfrewshire, using a converted van. The not-just-for-profit company hopes to take a share of the traditional takeaway market, by offering the same convenient service, but with a better product. Food in the Hood will prepare a menu consisting of favourite dishes – such as steak pie, chilli and vegetable curry – but cooked in the best possible way and using as little salt, fat and sugar as taste allows.
The initiative also intends to do more than just sell great food; it also hopes to change the eating habits of the communities it will serve as well as delivering other benefits. Not only will any profits be invested back into community projects, Food in the Hood is also intending to source much of its produce locally – from individuals, allotments and Renfrewshire organisations – and encourage “people in the community to grow for the community”. And of key importance, the intention is to keep the prices of the meals that are served as affordable as possible in order to ensure everyone can have access to good, healthy food.
The driving force behind Food in the Hood is Annette Currie, who has used her own money and cash borrowed from relatives to purchase a van and most of the equipment the initiative needs to get up and running. However, Food in the Hood still requires £3000 to complete the fit out and to market the project, and has turned to Crowdfunder in order to raise the remaining start-up funds by 13 June 2013.
Speaking about what has driven her to establish Food in the Hood, Annette commented:
“I enjoy cooking and after a camping/festival trip last September, where I cooked for 25 people for the weekend, I realised how much cheaper it is to cook for many. A few weeks later, after a chat in the kitchen with friends about the poor quality of takeaway food in our area and how sometimes you just want a home cooked meal (but can’t be bothered cooking), I looked into the viability of opening a takeaway.”
“The initial outlay and running costs of this approach were too high and it just seemed too risky – especially since a home-style takeaway has never been done before. So, my sister-in-law suggested using a van – which has lower overheads, less risk and means we can go out and find business.”
“The ethical basis on which Food in the Hood is built comes from my belief that businesses can make a profit AND benefit the communities they serve – effectively Conscious Capitalism. I really hope we can spread this message and get others to set up similar initiatives that provide healthy food and benefit communities across Scotland and even further afield.”
More information on supporting Food in the Hood through Crowdfunder.co.uk and the benefits associated with this can be found at: