Feel Good Fast Food
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Feel Good Fast Food

FoodTrade is transforming the way local cafes source ingredients

It’s well known that Friska is amongst the greenest of Bristol’s food businesses. Not only did this fast food joint earn an exemplary 3 star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (round of applause Friska!), it’s also zero waste, doing brilliant things with charities Deki and Frank Water, and uses compostable containers and cutlery. Oh yeah, and it brews a damn good locally roasted coffee.

We know what you’re thinking…could these guys get any more virtuous? Well yes, actually. In the words of Head Chef Kieran Jefferson, there’s always room for improvement…

“It’s fast food so it’s got to be economical – Friska’s lunches range from £3.50 to £5.25 across both hot and cold options. The majority of our customers are office workers on their lunch or coffee breaks, so that just wouldn’t work. That said, you’ve got to be serious about sticking to your guns. We sit down and look at the cost of ingredients to the gram. Where can we save? Quality & sustainability always overrides price.

We do our best to source locally and ethically, but there’s always more we can do. We’re incredibly lucky to be in the South West – it’s packed with amazing producers and amazing food. It’s not always easy but there’s technology out there to help us. FoodTrade’s farm-to-fork network is transforming the way we source – directly from the farm, into the kitchen, onto plates and into mouths.

Sustainability really is a selling point. It equates with quality. It brings people through the door. If other chefs are worried about making the small changes towards becoming greener I say ‘Go for it!’ It may seem like effort, but in the long term, you’ll save money (and the world!) and connect with your customers on a more meaningful level. People come here not just to eat, but to be part of the positive impact.

That said, it’s not just chefs with this responsibility, it’s the suppliers and producers themselves. There are so many controversial facts thrown about in the media, we thought it a good idea to check out the truth for ourselves. I went down to Devon with Alex (Head of Food) to visit Devon Rose, our pork suppliers; asking ‘what is free range really like?’ Turns out it’s pretty sweet. A field of snorting, wallowing, happy pigs.

Our chicken supplier is Creedy Carver, based on Merrifield farm down road from Devon Rose. The place was a wildlife haven! Complete with solar panels, green energy heat exchangers, and strutting peacocks – the chickens were clucking around in acres of space. It was heartening stuff. Our customers ask a lot of questions about our food, so though it was a great excuse for a day trip, the trip was paramount for our product knowledge.

We’re looking right now at getting more of our fruit and vegetables from organic, Rainforest Alliance or LEAF certified producers, and a new quality charcuterie supplier. With not much time without a knife in our hands, technology like FoodTrade is perfect for trading directly with farmers. We just type in ‘carrots’ and it comes up with our nearest carrot producers! Genius. We can even filter the search by categories – Organic, or Soil Association members, for example. Knowing that we’re reducing our food miles and getting the freshest quality produce is fantastic.”

Friska is one of the selected businesses that we’re working with to improve local sourcing in Bristol (we’ve also tried the BBQ Pulled Pork Booyah, it’s incredible!) If you’d like to find out more about our project, or get involved, please email us at comms@foodtrade.com.

If you’re a producer that would like to showcase your produce with Friska, or a customer that would love to support them, please get in touch with Kieran and the Friska team here.

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