New Study Will Assess the Impact of Social Enterprise in Scotland’s Food and Drink Sector

Posted: 21 July 2010, in Press Release

A pioneering study to calculate the contribution that social enterprises are making to Scotland’s £10bn food and drink industry has been commissioned by the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition.

The scoping study of 200+ businesses, funded by a grant from the Scottish Funding Council, will be conducted by Queen Margaret University (QMU) with the results due this autumn.

At present, there is limited research on the economic activity of social enterprises – businesses with a social purpose – in Scotland. This study will produce benchmark data to promote the economic and social value that social enterprises contribute to the Scottish economy.

The Scottish Government recently published a national food policy that states its intent to grow the food and drink sector by 25 per cent in the next eight years. This sector is an important area of activity for social enterprises, which operate in a number of different spheres of the industry, including retail, catering, education and distribution.

Antonia Swinson, chief executive, Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition said: “Social enterprise is under-researched in Scotland. This new study will provide invaluable research that will help us to promote the impact that these businesses make, including health improvement, job creation and local food production. It will also influence our campaign work and help inform future Government policy.”

The study findings will feed directly into the Scottish Social Enterprise Coalition’s cross-party policy campaign to be launched in autumn 2010.

Professor Andy Frew, Director of Research in the School of Business at QMU added that this project was a “prime example of alignment with the university’s strategic drive for industry relevance and its expertise in the rapidly evolving area of social enterprise “. Mike Pretious of QMU a key investigator on the project continued: “This work adds to the expanding portfolio of such projects and initiatives engaged with by the School and the wider university and fits well with QMU’s philosophy of improving quality of life.”