Coffee entrepreneur announced as #FoodHeroScot sustainability champion

An East Lothian entrepreneur who runs her business on the principle of leaving the planet a better place has been named Scotlands first sustainability Food Hero. 

Catherine Franks of Steampunk Coffee Roasters and Café, North Berwick, has been recognised by the visual storytelling campaign #FoodHeroScot for her commitment to positive change, doing things differently and sharing her vision of a more sustainable business model. 

She wins an in-kind support package, including marketing and PR, worth over £25,000  the first of ten such awards which will highlight the sustainability efforts of the successful brands. 

Launched in June 2021 by Medialiciously and its partners, #FoodHeroScot’s mission is to put sustainability at the heart of Scotlands recovering post-pandemic food and drink industry and create a platform to connect conscious consumers with ethical and sustainable food and drink brands, as well as helping the brands with finding sustainable food and drink suppliers. 

The non-profit campaign, is supported by STV’s £1m Green Fund which champions the efforts of sustainable Scottish SME businesses by profile-raising, communicating with consumers and encouraging Scots to reduce their carbon footprint. It is also supported by leading Scots business figures including: Alan Mahon, founder of Brewgooder; Nick Nairn, owner of Nairns Ltd; Carina Contini, director at Victor & Carina Contini; Karis Gill, co-founder of Social Stories Club and Loral Quinn, CEO of Sustainably.

Catherine Franks began Steampunk Coffee in 2012 supplying coffee and cakes from the back of a vintage camper van at events including markets and festivals with coffee roasted in her garage. Steampunk supplied other cafes and ran pop-ups before moving to the warehouse at Kirk Ports which is the current home of their roastery and café.

She is thrilled with the #FoodHeroScot award and says: Its such a fantastic campaign and to get this recognition is hugely appreciated. It just shows everyone can make a difference. Our ethos underpins everything we do – it’s never an add-on. 

Steampunk never serves bottled water, instead makes tap water freely available to customers and non-customers alike. Even through Covid, they promote the use of reusable cups. Catherine has long campaigned for re-usable cups and offers a discount to customers who use them. She has a tin refilling process  temporarily suspended due to the coronavirus  which she is very anxious to resume, and her coffee comes in fully compostable or recyclable packaging. They collect their food waste and disposables for composting and aim to educate customers about the need to dispose of compostable responsibly. 

As a business we are conscious of the waste streams we produce and we want to ensure  that at the end of its life the waste from any of our packaging can be recovered and put into the correct waste stream. We also recognise that it is important to give clear information to customers about how to deal with the waste to ensure this happens.

During the last year many people had more time to think about the world we live in and how we want to change it as we come out of lockdown. I think that kind of crystallised priorities for a lot of people. 

Commenting on the first #FoodHeroScot award, Lee Fitzpatrick, managing director of Medialiciously and key founder of #FoodHeroScot said: When we launched this campaign we were confident there would be great examples out there of businesses driven by sustainability and Steampunk is exactly that, a truly worthy inaugural winner. A number of other exciting initiatives are in the pipeline for recognition but we would encourage anyone who knows a real Food Hero to nominate them and highlight the great work being done to help the Scottish food and drink industry emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever. 

The campaign includes ten powerful mini documentaries on businesses or social enterprises that will be featured in coming months, shared on the #FoodHeroScot website and spotlighted through a media campaign delivered by STV, as part of their Green Fund commitment.  

To find out more about supporting positive recovery of the industry or for more details on how to nominate businesses in the food and drink sector, visit: 

To find out more about Steampunk and their efforts to promote sustainability and to contact them directly, visit:

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