Name: Susie Anderson.

Age: 39.

What is your business called?

East Coast Cured.

Where is it based?


What does it produce?

East Coast Cured is a family charcuterie company specialising in the production of continental style cured meats using Scottish produce. We work directly with local farms to source the finest, high welfare meats.

Our production premises are tucked away in the basement of a Leith tenement. At street-level we have the added bonus of a tiny retail outlet.

To whom does it sell?

We sell both directly to the consumer, and to a wide range of wholesale customers. Retail customers can purchase from our Leith shop, from farmers’ markets in Haddington and St Monans and online. We launched an online shop at the end of 2019, not realising at the time that it would see our business through a global pandemic!

We also work directly with a wide range of retailers, hotels, bars and restaurants who use our products for sharing platters, on pizzas and in a number of dishes. Our first ever trade customer was Martin Wishart, who used our products on his menu at The Honours. We make a retail range for Gleneagles hotel.

What is its turnover?

We measure turnover in pigs! When we launched the business, we were turning half a pig (approx. 45 kg) into charcuterie. This has grown over the years to 5 pigs per week (approx. 450kg). Factoring in the odd production break, that’s around 250 pigs, or 22,500kg of raw pork per year.

How many employees?

The East Coast Cured team has two directors: myself and my husband, Steven. Steven heads up production and compliance while I head up everything else! Until the Covid 19 coronavirus crisis we had another two full-time members of staff, and one part-time.

When the crisis started we were deeply concerned about our business, with at least 70 per cent of sales directly to hospitality. We took two weeks off production to see the lay of the land, and tightened our belts, which meant furloughing our part-time retail assistant. In hindsight, these decisions were completely premature, and it became apparent that we were going to be busier than ever before and that the team wouldn’t be able to cope alone with the increased demand.

The balance of our business has changed and now 70% of our sales are direct to consumer.

We’ve taken on four new employees (one full time and three part time) in the last six months, recruiting locally, people whose livelihoods had been affected by the coronavirus.

When was it formed?

East Coast Cured launched in 2017 after several years of research and development. Prior to launching commercially, recipes were developed in the eaves of our family home, which had been converted into an environmentally controlled ‘curing chamber’.

Why did you take the plunge?

A family business was something that I’d always felt might work for us. I’d been self-employed a couple of times previously and felt that it was something I was good at. Steven and I have complementary skill sets that I felt made running a business together a good long-term option for our family. We’ve always enjoyed working on projects together. Making charcuterie was a hobby, but quite quickly became something we felt we could make commercial.

Food has always played a central role in my life. European travel gave me a taste for real artisan charcuterie. On coming home, I was constantly frustrated at the quality of charcuterie available, despite the wealth of high-quality produce reared in Scotland. Launching East Coast Cured gave me the opportunity to raise the profile of Scottish produce and turn a passion into a career.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I studied textile and fashion design at university, dabbled in designing and making, opened and ran a shop with my sister for a while and worked in a few galleries and independent retail outlets.

Until 2015 I ran a commercial gallery in Edinburgh on behalf of a local charity. The gallery was established as a social enterprise to represent and train artists with disabilities and mental health conditions. It was being made redundant from this job that gave me the push I needed to start our family business.

Steven’s love of food and drink led him to a career as a craft brewer, an experience which compounded his passion for flavour and recipe development and saw him grow his knowledge of fermentation, microbiology and the logistics of craft production.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

We’d saved some money while we were both employed that we’d put away for a rainy day. We used this to put a deposit down on our premises and released some funds from our mortgage for the renovations.

Our budget was tight! We did most of the renovations ourselves and couldn’t afford specialist equipment, so we bought at auction or built it ourselves.

What was your biggest break?

Receiving an email from, then meeting with restaurateur Martin Wishart in spring 2017 at our production premises. He enjoyed our meats and put a charcuterie platter on the menu at The Honours. This helped reassure us that what we were making must be OK!

At this point Steven was still working full-time as Production Manager at North British Distillery which we’d envisaged being the case for at least a couple of years. We started seriously considering him handing in his notice. It was a phone call with John Rutter, Head Chef at Kyloe, that made the decision for us. I told him what we were considering, and he said to go for it!

What was your worst moment?

Covid hitting. The feeling that this might be it. We’d worked hard and had a good run but we might not be able to save the business. Thankfully I’m quite good at adapting and reacting to whatever is thrown at me! Given our limited resources I’ve learnt to be adept at making the best of space, people and situations.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

The creativity! I love photoshoots and creative projects like pulling together websites and marketing material.

The flexibility. Being able to be there for our girls at school pick-up and drop-off, at assemblies and other important events. We live 30 seconds from work, and school is another 2 minutes away.

Working with people who are as passionate about Scottish produce as I am: staff, customers and suppliers.

Working with Steven. I’m often asked how I can bear working with my husband but I actually really like him and we make an excellent team!

What do you least enjoy?

The anxiety. Putting yourself out there to be judged. And particularly this year, having to constantly adapt. I often say I’m not sure I’m cut out for self-employment! At least once a month I threaten to quit and get a job amongst books.

What is your biggest bugbear?

That the local and regulatory authorities in Scotland appear to have chosen to take a less enlightened approach to meat curing, fermentation and most other traditional artisan food processes, than any other country.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

The regulatory authorities in most other countries in the Western world have produced comprehensive guides for small producers to follow that help the Local Authority Environmental Health Inspectors to understand the process and determine if it is being applied correctly and in a way that will produce safe food. As it stands, Scottish farmers face intense competition from cheap European imports of salami and dry cured hams. East Coast Cured and other similar small producers have opened an avenue for Scottish producers to step up and compete with these types of products. The growth of businesses such as ours should be supported and encouraged by national and local government not hindered, pestered and impeded. This is in the interest of our economy and, frankly, this is what we pay our taxes for.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

I am not superhuman. I can’t take on everything for everyone. It’s OK to say no!

At whatever stage in life you’re at, if you don’t like the way life is going there’s always the option to try your best to change it for the better.

How do you relax?

Ha! Apparently, relaxation isn’t part of my skill set. I have been working hard to change that this year though. I love curling up with a good book and escaping to the wilderness. I’ve started weaving again too.