Retailers in receipt of the Scottish Retailer Food to Go grants are increasingly using the funds to invest in local produce.

Grant organiser the Scottish Grocers Federation supplied betterRetailing with exclusive breakdowns of how the funds were used in 2019 and 2018.

The data revealed that the amount of food-to-go space stores said they would dedicate to local lines rose to 80% this year, compared to 73% in 2018.

In total, £311,837 was handed out to 72 successful applicants, compared to £250,000 to 62 applicants the previous year.

Read more: What millennials want: Food to go

Keith Stuart, owner of the Bake Hoose Shop in Fife, who successfully applied for the funds, told betterRetailing the grant allowed him to maximise his homemade product range.

“It opened up opportunities for us that we wouldn’t have had without it, like being able to open the Bake Hoose Shop,” he said. “Our main investment was a mini chef oven that enables us to offer a wider range of options. We source produce locally and make rolls, cakes and pies on site.”

However, on average, the space given over to healthier options fell to 51%, a 3% drop from last year.

Read more: Shane Cantillon’s store finds success in low-waste food to go

Rakesh Sood, of Cranhill Premier Store in Glasgow, also used Food to Go grants to give more options to shoppers. Sood explained: “We developed our food-to-go area and we now offer more sandwiches and cakes, as well as fresh fruit. Our food-to-go sales have increased by 10%.”

Sood added the uplift has inspired him to expand further. He said: “After seeing how well it’s done, I’m looking at how I can start offering hot food.”

Many symbol groups helped their stores to apply, resulting in 78% of the grant recipients being symbol sites. However, unaffiliated stores typically received slightly larger grants, at an average of £4,223 awarded compared to £4,322 for symbols.

KeyStore sites were the most common recipients of the grants, accounting for 27% of the symbol sites receiving funds. Other prominent groups were Premier (21%), Best-one (16%), Spar (11%) and Nisa (11%).

How any store of any size can profit with their food-to-go sales: The Retail Success Handbook: Food to go