Black & Gold, founded in 2010 by Louise Elder, produces a high quality, premium cold pressed rapeseed oil which is distributed throughout Scotland and the UK.
Products are now stocked in a wide range of retailers from local farm and health food shops to large speciality retailers such as Harvey Nichols as well supplying twice Michelin chef Stuart Muir at the 4th Floor Restaurant.
Black & Gold is also sold as a catering supply to a number of restaurants throughout the UK including award winning chefs La Potiniere, Gullane, The Waterside Bistro in Haddington and is championed by top London chefs including Hus Vedat.
Black & Gold rapeseed oil is cold-pressed and doesn’t undergo any significant processing. This is not only believed to optimise the flavour of the oil, but could also preserve a range of antioxidant compounds that would otherwise be lost in processing. As with extra virgin olive oil, such antioxidant compounds have also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Although the company appreciated the favourable nutritional profile of their product, they were not confident in their ability to expand on their current marketing activity to highlight the nutritional qualities and impacts without seeking expert advice.
Scotland Food and Drink and East Lothian Council introduced Black & Gold to Queen Margaret University (QMU). With an established track record in research into sources of omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants in the Scottish diet, Black & Gold soon realised that QMU would make an ideal partner for a collaborative project.
As a start-up Black & Gold lacked the finances to fund the research, however, with support from QMU they submitted a funding application in the form of a £5,000 Scottish Funding Council (SFC) Innovation Voucher, managed by Interface-The knowledge connection for business.
Louise Elder, Owner of Black & Gold said, “The Innovation Voucher funding gave us an opportunity that would otherwise been unavailable to us. Thanks to the SFC funding we were able to work with one of Scotland’s foremost nutritionists and the results speak for themselves.”
The Innovation Voucher funding has supported the collaboration with QMU allowing them to test the antioxidant and fatty acid profile of the oil allowing them to determine the nutritional benefits. The analysis also showed that the oil has an excellent Omega 6/3 ratio and contained naturally occurring antioxidants in the form of polyphenols and that these are still active after domestic cooking such as shallow frying.
“Polyphenols are antioxidants from plant foods that have been proven to enhance health and it’s generally recognised that they can reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular disease and can help protect the body from chronic disease,” explained Dr Jane McKenzie, Academic Lead, Food & Drink at Queen Margaret University.
The company have used the results of the investigation to reinforce the credibility and integrity of their product allowing them to promote the true nutritional values and health benefits of the oil not only to culinary enthusiasts but also to health conscious and health comprised individuals.
The research has also given the company confidence in approaching investors and they are now looking at scaling up production as well as expanding their product portfolio to include enriched oils.
Following the success of their initial project with QMU, Black & Gold have continued to take forward their ambitions in research and development. They have secured further funding through the SFC Horizon 2020 SME Engagement Scheme which has been used to attend the Bio-economy Brokerage Event and Information Day in Brussels on 16th/17th Jan 2014. Attending the information sessions and networking events whilst in Brussels allowed the team to make initial contact with potential collaborators and in turn to consider how they could apply for a share of the €80bn Horizon 2020 funding. The information gained and connections made at the Bio-economy event in Brussels has been disseminated to the recently formed Scottish Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil Group (SCPROIG), a group or rapeseed oil producers who are working alongside Interface Food and Drink to prove that Scotland has the best growing conditions for premium rapeseed oil.
Louise Elder explained, “The Horizon 2020 Funding gave me an opportunity to understand the relevant funding calls in more detail given the complexity of Horizon 2020. It has also allowed me to understand how a group of Scottish SMEs, the Scottish Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil Group, could work collaboratively in partnership with other companies across Europe to raise the profile of cold pressed rape seed oil in a global market.”
For more information on Black & Gold please visit www.blackandgoldoil.co.uk
Please note that Interface administers the Innovation Voucher Scheme on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council. All funding applications are reviewed on a case by case basis by the Scottish Funding Council, guidelines can be found here.