UK’s First Social Impact Audit Tool for Food & Drink Industry Unveiled

UK’s First Social Impact Audit Tool for Food & Drink Industry Unveiled

What’s believed to be the UK’s first social impact auditing tool for the food and drink industry has been unveiled.

The pioneering initiative, which has been developed by Forth Valley Food Futures and Forth Valley Food and Drink, aims to inspire the sector to prioritise sustainability, foster community engagement and uphold ethical working practices. 

Funded by Sustainable Food Places, the new toolkit empowers businesses and organisations to measure their social impact themselves.

Carolyn McGill, Director of Forth Valley Food and Drink said: “Modern consumers aren't just buying products or services anymore – they're looking for connections with businesses and organisations that value social impact.

"In today's landscape, securing public funding hinges more and more on showing a dedication to social responsibility. Whether you're applying for grants or seeking backing from government entities, proving your commitment to social impact is key.”

She added: “Measuring your social impact isn't just about meeting these criteria; it's also an opportunity to highlight, improve and record the positive actions you're making to benefit your workforce, community and the environment."

The toolkit has been ‘road tested’ with four local food and drink businesses within the Forth Valley area: The Real Food Café (Tyndrum), Troy Ann’s Caribbean Kitchen (Dollar), The Ladybird Tearoom (Alloa) and Forth Valley College. Video case studies showcasing their remarkable efforts to make a positive difference in their local communities can be viewed at:

Stuart Guzinski from Forth Valley Food Futures said: “From championing local sourcing to focussing on environmental sustainability, these four businesses exemplify the transformative power of social impact in the food and drink industry.

“Conducting a social audit allows businesses to understand and meet the expectations of stakeholders while identifying areas for improvement. 

“It also promotes transparency and enhances trust in a business, paving the way for long-term success."

Through its holistic approach to business, The Real Food Café in Tyndrum has become a beacon of sustainable practices and social responsibility in the sector; earning a coveted spot on The Caterer’s list of the 30 Best Places to Work in Hospitality 2023.

"Empowering our team members is at the core of our philosophy at The Real Food Café," said owner and founder, Sarah Heward. "We believe that investing in their well-being and professional development not only benefits our business but also enriches our community.

"We are also proud to champion sustainability by sourcing ingredients locally wherever possible and by implementing eco-friendly practices like our new automatic toilet flushers and taps which will help us save water and reduce our bills."

The café's commitment to 'doing business for good' extends beyond its walls, actively engaging with and supporting the local community through initiatives like organising litter picks. To date, they have gathered over four hundred sacks of litter!

Sarah added: “Yes, being socially responsible and doing the right thing costs money, but we look at it as an investment. We can measure the return on investment through reduced wastage, enhanced customer loyalty, an ability to charge a slight premium, better staff retention and greater energy efficiency across our operations, equipment and premises."

To facilitate widespread adoption of the social impact auditing tool, Forth Valley Food and Drink and Forth Valley Food Futures are providing businesses with free access. To download the toolkit, please visit: