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Six Questions from Greencity with Aye Pickled

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This week's six questions are with Aye Pickled, whose vibrant range of pickles, slaws, and sauces we've been happily stocking since the beginning of this year.

Based in Edinburgh, and a regular fixture of the city's flourishing food market scene, Aye Pickled look to reinvent the flavours you expect from condiments. Their pickles are made in small batches the old-fashioned way, but pack a modern flavour punch, while their lacto-fermented lines please both our taste buds and our tummies!

We heard from co-founder Fiona about the inspiration behind turning a love of everything fermented into the Aye Pickled brand.

How/why and when did you start your business?

We’ve always had a passion for pickled and fermented foods – the tang, the crunch, the fizz, the sweet, sharp and sour flavours are all winners for us.

For a long time however, there was nothing on the market that was satisfying our cravings. Or at least nothing that seemed accessible.

So we started making our own.

Using Stuart’s chef training, we played with ingredients and flavour combinations and were soon adding pickles and ferments to everything from avocado toast to our Sunday lunch!

Then we started sharing them with friends… and then with friends of friends…. and the feedback was great. This was all happening at a time when our little family was expanding and we’d both left corporate jobs to pursue something we cared more about. So we started to wonder whether we could do this commercially.

And with that, Aye Pickled was launched in December 2017.

It was the taste of pickles and fermented foods that got us into this and that is what remains strong in our brand ethos. We love to talk about the way we pickle or the wide ranging health benefits of fermented foods, but we don’t want to hide behind this or the science of what we do. We want great taste to always lead.

2. What advice would you give to someone starting a new business in the sector?

Know your product. Love your product.

Know your customers. Love your customers.

Have a clear idea of what you’ll offer and become an expert in it. What makes it special? Who else is doing it well? How much will it cost you to make? How do you want to sell it? This is essential. But more than that, you need to LOVE your product because that’s what will get you through the late nights and early starts.

Get to know your customers also. Who are you targeting? What excites them? Where do they shop? How old are they? And then get to really know them - build relationships with them, learn their names, identify influencers, ask what they want more or less of. The best way to do this is to get in front of them– go to farmers markets, exhibitions and events – its hard work but these are the most valuable experiences you’ll have.

3. What motivates you?

Everybody says that running your own business is hard. Turns out it is.

It really is.

What keeps us going however is feedback from customers. The really tough days (when the pickle pot has almost been thrown out the window) can be changed by a lovely email or social media post with great feedback on our products. It’s totally cheesy but knowing people are enjoying what we’re producing still blows our minds and does make everything worth it.

4. How do you think the food & drinks industry could improve?

The transformation of the food and drinks industry in Scotland over the past few years has been phenomenal. Distilleries are no longer just for whisky but for innovative gins and craft beers; health related products feature prominently and there is an ever increasing number of street food markets and buy local initiatives that highlight the amazing produce and skill that’s on offer in Scotland.

So for us, we want more of the same – there’s still a long way to go to change perceptions of Scottish food and health.

5. Is there an individual or organisation, current or in the past, who inspires you?

Loads. But Sandor Katz is pretty close to top of the list! We’d call him a current guru of fermentation, he calls himself a ‘fermentation-fetishist’. His books ‘Wild Fermentation’ and ‘The Art of Fermentation’ really got people (including us) excited about fermented food and are classics.

6. Apart from Greencity, which other three or more people, living or deceased, would you invite to make a dinner party entertaining?

If we ever had this opportunity, we’d go proper rock and roll…..

Keith Richards, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix. Oh and Freddie Mercury. And so many more….

If you’d like any more information about Aye Pickled, you can check out their website at
www.ayepickled.com or contact the Greencity Sales Team who are always happy to help.

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