Helping to keep our customers healthy for 40 years

Here at Real Foods we will be popping open some organic champagne and having a little toast on 27th October to mark the 40th anniversary of the opening of our Broughton Street store in Edinburgh. On 29th and 30th of October we ask you to join us at our Broughton Street store for the anniversary party proper where we'll be having lots of fun for our visiting customers that weekend.

We’re delighted to be celebrating 40 years of supplying natural, healthy, organic and ethical foods not only to the people of Edinburgh but to customers all over the world.

Situated in a beautiful Georgian terraced building, our 37 Broughton Street store is at the heart of a thriving community of independent businesses. Along with our 8 Brougham Street store, which opened in 1981, we are proud to say that we are the largest independent Scottish retailer of organic, Fairtrade, vegetarian, vegan and special diet foods.

 
Our Broughton Street store sometime during the early 1980s

We’ve come a long way

We have certainly come a long way since our humble beginnings in 1963 as a market stall in the south of England selling organic vegetables. We have always been pioneers in the world of natural, healthy, organic shopping and this was very much the case back in the 1960s when we began importing macrobiotic foods from Belgium and Japan, as macrobiotics could not be sourced in the UK at that time. The next step in our journey was to start buying commodities from a London merchant to feed the ‘Aldermaston Ban the Bomb’ marchers who would gather at an Elizabethan mansion in the Chilterns before setting off on their marches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography used with kind permission from Les & Liz Pearce

In 1974 the first Real Foods store opened at 107 Morrison Street – a momentous occasion in our history. It was described in adverts from the time as “Edinburgh’s original natural food store – small, but nice and cosy”. Although we have grown considerably over the years we like to think that our customers still view our stores as nice and cosy!

Our Broughton Street store opened its doors to the public in October 1976. A former drapers shop, it was kitted out with shelves made from recycled government desks and transformed into a warehouse for dispatching natural and organic health foods all over the world.

It makes good sense!  

An advert at the time of the Broughton Street launch reveals that world food prices had experienced a “phenomenal increase” and that together with a 20% drop in the pound and a home grown food drought, this meant that 95% of the advertised food prices were due to increase when stocks ran out. As a result we encouraged our customers to buy in bulk as it “makes good economic sense”. I’m sure you’ll agree!

The fresh, natural, healthy, organic foods we stocked back then were not too dissimilar to the nutrient-rich produce we stock today. From wholemeal pasta, porridge oats and organic barley flakes to chick peas, lentils and broth mix, the emphasis was on fresh, nutritious wholefoods to encourage healthy and wholesome eating. Our mascot at that time was Rufus the red squirrel, who appeared in all our adverts, alongside the slogan: “Real Foods: Bulk wholesale victuallers”.   

 

Although Rufus is now enjoying his retirement, the values we proclaimed at the time still stand today. As the advert states: “Real Foods’ policy is to provide the best quality natural food at the lowest cost,” – and this is still very much the case 40 years later. Indeed another vintage advert, from The Scotsman, dated Wednesday 27th October 1976, refers in rather dramatic terms to “slashing profit margins to a precarious level” and “economic anarchy”. With a pound of rice flour costing just 9.3p in bulk we most certainly made sure that our customers could “eat well and cheaply”.

A healthy eating revolution  

Over the past 40 years we have pioneered a revolution in food retailing and healthy eating by providing fresh, local, seasonal and organic alternatives to processed foods at prices our customers can afford. According to our 1976 adverts, we stocked 400 varieties of health foods. Today we are able to offer more than 12,000 products, including over 6,000 vegan products and more than 500 Fairtrade items. Our product lines are constantly growing and ever changing to keep up with the demands of our health conscious customers. Nowadays our stock includes superfoods, raw foods, natural and organic beauty products and eco-friendly cleaning products. From chia seeds to cacao powder you can find it here at Real Foods!

Our 1976 adverts offered local deliveries at the bargain price of 50p, whereas today our customers can place their orders via our website or even their mobile phones. Thanks to our efficient online mail order business we are able to offer a 24 hour delivery service, dispatching orders to customers all around the world who want vegetarian, vegan, organic, Fairtrade, special diets and healthy foods delivered straight to their door. We work with hundreds of suppliers, many of which are small local businesses. We employ over 60 dedicated staff members and we work 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to meet the needs of our customers.

We’re evolving and growing   

Like our product lines, the Real Foods website is constantly evolving and growing, to become not just an online store but a resource for healthy recipes and articles on all aspects of natural health and wellbeing. Whether you want to learn about the latest superfoods or how to follow a vegan diet on a budget, it’s all here!  

When you shop at Real Foods, either in one of our two Edinburgh stores or using our international online service, you are tapping into over 50 years of experience in the world of natural, organic and healthy food. At least two members of our team have been involved with the business since the beginning and many of our younger staff members can remember being brought into the shop by their parents. Our buyer, Jenny, for example, has been a customer at Real Foods since she was 10 years old – now she is in charge of buying produce! All our staff members are chosen for their friendliness, helpful attitude and knowledge. Whenever you pop into one of our stores you can be assured of a warm welcome and a personal service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s all about education  

Educating the public about the importance of good nutrition and wholesome eating is very important to us and so we hold various information evenings at our stores to inform and advise our customers – plus there are always plenty of yummy samples to try! We also offer our support to local schools in their mission to teach young people about healthy eating, by visiting the schools and providing samples of healthy snacks and treats for the children to try.

We are justifiably proud of our history and how far Real Foods has come over the years. To mark our Broughton Street store’s 40th anniversary we will be holding plenty of fun-filled events at the shop during the weekend of Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th October and we hope that as many of our loyal customers as possible will pop in to join in the celebrations. We’ve also created a special 40-year anniversary edition of our popular organic cotton shopping bags featuring an iconic picture of the shop itself.

Here’s to another 40 years of natural, healthy, organic food shopping!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
We would like to take this opportunity to thank these brands for their support of our Anniversary event on the weekend of 29/30 October 2016.
 

Almighty Foods

Almighty produce certified organic creations - they synergistically bind organic ingredients into the form of botanical chocolates, nut butters, ferments, cakes and activated snacks.
All of their products are processed at low temperatures (clasified "raw"), thus ensuring that the vital goodness in the ingredents they process remains intact.
 

Bellfield Brewery

Edinburgh-based Bellfield are the UK's first dedicated gluten-free brewery, producing beer in small batches, using traditional brewing methods combined with non-traditional ingredients, "the perfect combination of science and art." They do very good gluten free beers indeed as we know and you've let us know, from their in store tastings.

Booja Booja

Based out of Norfolk, Booja Booja make luxury chocolate truffles and very popular dairy-free ice cream alternatives (the latter are in store only),  Everything they make is organic, gluten free & soya free.

Clearspring

Clearspring is a privately owned UK company established in the 1980s to distribute great tasting traditional foods that support good health; promote sustainable agriculture; and provide economic stability for producer communities. Their goal is to get organic food back on the dining table, so that you can enjoy the same quality of foods as your grandparents did. By developing the demand for organic foods and encouraging the cultivation of organic crops by farmers today, they can ensure that your grandchildren, too, can enjoy the great taste of good food.​ Clearspring do plenty of organic goods and plenty of excellent Japanese produce.

Equal Exchange

As a worker-owned co-operative, Equal Exchange have always been inspired by those who came before them. Today, millions of small-scale farmers, both men and women, provide our planet with 70% of its food. Yet few of them are reaping the profits their hard work has sown. “We were yet working men but we began to have the feeling that we were something more. We would soon be reaping profits that we had long since been sowing for others.” - St Cuthbert’s Co-operative, Edinburgh, 1859. Equal Exchange do a large range of fairtrade and organic good from coffee & chocolates to condiments.

Meridian

Based in the rolling Welsh hills in Denbighshire, Meridian have been making nut and seed butters for over 30 years. They're committed to producing foods that make you feel great because they are delicious and select the finest, simplest ingredients so that you can enjoy nature’s energy. Meridian use no palm oil.

Pacari Chocolates

Pacari Chocolate is the first single-origin organic chocolate entirely made in Ecuador. They are carefully made with the finest ingredients and only in artisan-style small batches. Pacari are vegan, gluten-free, luxury, dark, fair trade & organic chocolates produced only with Arriba Nacional fine cacao beans.

Pukka Herbs

Pukka Herbs is a UK-based company,  best known for their organic herbal teas but they also do a larger range including herbal remedies and food supplements. Pukka describes its inspiration as Ayurveda. All products are free from synthetic flavours and colouring (and the teas are, we reiterate, organic!)

Rude Health

Rude Health is a London-based healthy food and drinks company who aren't afraid of standing up for real, honest food - the way they say it should be: "We only use the kind of ingredients you’d have in your own kitchen – nothing artificial, nothing refined and we source our ingredients from fields, orchards and vines – not laboratories." Best known for almond milk, Rude Health also do delicious granola, muesli and other breakfast cereals, oats cakes and bars. Check our their latest sprouted foods.

Solgar

Solgar was founded in 1974 from humble beginnings on the East Side of Manhattan. They started off with the first high potency natural multivitamin with minerals in 1974 and have been laying down milestones ever since: sugar, salt and starch free supplements (1968), the first multivitamin to include amino acids. (1989), multivitamin with a substantial phytonutrient blend (1996), first kosher products (1997), first certified non-GMO soy (1999), Vegetable Softgels Capsules (2002) and many more! We stock a large range of several hundred Solgar products.

TreeVitalise

From the founder’s childhood memory to an idea in late 2014, on to a business in 2015 - the months have flown by since the launch of TreeVitalise Organic Birch Waters in London. Today they supply over 600 retailers in the UK and Ireland and are extremely proud to have us as their best stockist in Scotland! They said about us:
"The store’s thriving 40th history is excellent evidence that consumers are increasingly looking for healthier choices for themselves and their families. There is a far deeper understanding for the wellbeing of the planet and environment around them."
TreeVitalise want to help drive this change in the plant water category, by working hard to replace sugary and artificially created drinks in fridges, menus, mini-bars, lunch boxes and on shelves like ours with their simple, healthy, versatile and sustainable products.
 

Vintage Roots

Vintage Roots is the award-winning and leading, fully organic, ethical wines and drinks specialist, with exclusive organic and biodynamic wines from around the globe.  Established in 1986 and now in its 30th Anniversary year, Vintage Roots is owned and run by its founding Directors Neil Palmer and Lance Pigott.  Vintage Roots believes passionately about placing the environment, sustainability and people's welfare at the centre of its trading - working hard to provide the very best organic wines and other drinks with attentive service to customers, at the best possible prices. Their own-brand organic wines that we also sell are called Touchstone

Wee Greek Kitchen

This small local company run by Poppy & Spyros came about when they switched from cooking in Crete and brought their skills to Scotland much to our benefit. "I make my food in the same way as my mum and my granny, with fresh ingredients and without preservatives or substitutes. I am a fan of the Mediterranean diet for all its health benefits." says Poppy. They produce for us a range of tradional foods including hummus, baklava and spanakopita (spinach & feta cheese pie).

 

 

 

(very good gluten free bee