Making a Living from Local Food #3: Ross McKinstry

In 2016, we ran a new programme, Making a Living from Local Food, offering free mentoring and peer-to-peer-support to aspiring and recently established local food entrepreneurs from across Scotland.  It was a diverse bunch of new entrant farmers, crofters, processors, bakers, distributors and caterers. This week, we’ll be sharing what some of the participants have been up to on our blog. Third in the series is Ross McKinstry who gave up his job this year to set up Bendifa with his partner Jing, a local food delivery service operating in Aberdeenshire. His mentor was Heather Anderson, co-owner of Whitmuir The Organic Place.

Ross McKinstry


What do you do?

We run an online grocery store and delivery service, connecting local producers and their products to customers conveniently.


When did you start?

April 2016


What motivated you to set up this business?

Lots of producers are doing great things on their own but if we all teamed up, together we could make something better for all of us. Food that is sustainable and helps support our communities needs to have a bigger voice and to be valued more.


What’s your dream? Where do you want your business to be in 5 years?

To help local producers in selling their produce and helping more customers to shop locally.


How have you developed your business this year?

I left full time work to work on the business in late September. We started with 4 local producers and now have 11 with more than 200 products to choose from.


How has the coaching programme helped you with this?

It’s helped to get quick answers to problems and questions I had. It allowed me to have a sounding board for my ideas and share my worries, and has given me greater insight into the struggles others are facing building food businesses from the start.


What have you enjoyed?

It all!


What are your next steps going forward?

To continue listening to both producers and customers, and testing and developing our services so they really fit and work for both.


Find out more:

Twitter @bendifa_hq


PCFMaking a Living from Local Food is kindly funded by the Prince’s Countryside Fund