Stenhousemuir firm sets the pace for sustainable food shopping

The Hogan's base at 342 Main Street, Stenhousemuir, is both a place where goods can be collected and also the hub of a growing delivery circuit.
The Hogan's base at 342 Main Street, Stenhousemuir, is both a place where goods can be collected and also the hub of a growing delivery circuit.

Great local produce, great delivery service and no wasteful packaging - not to mention plenty of choice.

Those are some of the key hallmarks that are reckoned to underpin the popularity of Stenhousemuir business Hogan’s Fine Food Company.

Catriona and Michael Allison, with an array of the goods - from spuds to Empire biscuits - that all meet the firm's 'good taste matters' benchmark.

Catriona and Michael Allison, with an array of the goods - from spuds to Empire biscuits - that all meet the firm's 'good taste matters' benchmark.

The enterprise is owned by Catriona Allison and run with Michael Allison and a small but efficient team of other staff who, it is clear, are fully committed to the Hogan’s ideals.

The distinctive dash they cut in a food retail market hugely dominated by supermarkets isn’t driven by some pricy aspirational, middle class fad.

On the contrary its catchline “good taste matters” is meant to be taken quite literally.

Why should shoppers pay for expensive, wasteful, environmentally unfriendly packaging and goods that are perhaps average at best?

Why should they not be able to buy first class local produce from people who know quality when they see and taste it, and why should they not be able to customise their orders so that they get exactly what they need?

Hogan’s reckons that by answering these implicit questions it has won strong support in an area not generally known as a place obsessed with delicatessens and high end food shopping.

Michael Allison says the ethos of the business has more to do with a traditional “granny knows best” way of looking at things than the sort of “right on” posturing you might expect in trendy, self-regarding foodie haunts.

“When we say ‘no waste’ we really mean that”, he says.

“Take, for example, a fruit and veg box, which will typically do a family for perhaps most of a week.

“If you don’t like, say, broccoli, then there’s no broccoli - if you like more fruit than veg then that’s what you’ll get.

“Besides being able to customise your order there’s also the big attraction that everything tastes good - if it didn’t we wouldn’t buy it.”

The business may have style and panache, and - with a Highly Commended accolade at the Falkirk Herald Business Awards in the Best Independent category - is entitled to a certain pride about the service it delivers.

But its “new” style of business is actually tapping into “old fashioned values” while offering the sort of variety and flexibility people with wide-ranging food tastes and high expectations increasingly demand.

“People do want to know where their food comes from”, says Michael, “and are supportive of quality producers who can be relied upon time and again to get it right.

“We deliver across a wide area around our Stenhousemuir-Falkirk heartland, and there is certainly a demand for the for the sort of service we are able to offer - so we could expand that further”.

There are no plans to open a new branch, however, as Catriona likes to keep a tight focus on her business to ensure the same quality of operation can be maintained, week in, week out.

One sector which could see further development may be the business community, as a quality bite while working in a shop or office can make all the difference to the daily grind.

“Good food is tasty and good for health and morale, so that’s an area where we can expect to see growing interest,” says Michael.

People simply like good food, and Hogan’s is determined to give them it in a “green” but no-fuss way.