One of Scotland's biggest wholesalers is set to go electric as it begins a new transition 100 years after it moved away from the horse and cart.

It is part of a net zero drive from Dunns Food & Drinks, which is investing £1.5 million in a range of sustainability measures to support its green ambitions.

The Lanarkshire family-owned firm has paid £1m for a freezer and installed solar panels and LED lights with motion sensors.


At the same time, on the 100-year anniversary of its first motor lorry hitting the streets, the company is set to trial an electric van as part of the Scottish Wholesale Association's decarbonising wholesale project.

However, it has also said Holyrood must be prepared to help companies make the transition in the push to net zero.

Julie Dunn, operations director at and descendent of founder Joseph Dunn, said the firm “has a rich history” in innovation.

"We're always looking for ways to positively impact our suppliers, our customers and our community,” said Ms Dunn.

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“This is a major investment in our future and the future of Scotland's food and drinks industry. This investment will secure more jobs within our community and is another step towards long-term sustainability goals."

Ms Dunn also said: "As a company, we can do everything we can to make positive steps towards net zero.

HeraldScotland: 'The Scottish Government must continue to work with industry' - Julie Dunn'The Scottish Government must continue to work with industry' - Julie Dunn (Image: Dunns Food & Drink)

"However, there is still a long way to go in terms of readying Scotland's infrastructure.

"We navigated the switch from horse and cart to motor lorry in 1923, and we hope there will one day be a similarly smooth transition to electric vehicles - although it certainly won't happen overnight."

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She said: "Charging a vehicle to go from Glasgow to Edinburgh and back costs more than fuel, and the best mileage an electric van can offer is around 130 miles on a full charge. As a national distributor, this limits where we can use electric vans.

"Electric vehicles also aren't carbon neutral until they have been used for four years, which is usually around the time businesses renew vehicles, meaning there need to be more incentives for companies to choose green initiatives.

HeraldScotland: Staff at a depot in 1975. Lorries replaced the horse and cart in 1923Staff at a depot in 1975. Lorries replaced the horse and cart in 1923 (Image: Dunns Food & Drink)

"There's also a lot of talk and very little action when it comes to education for green jobs, while Scotland desperately needs a skills development plan for logistics.

"The Scottish Government must continue to work with industry to create a realistic plan to help companies who want to do the right thing and take the necessary steps.

"There can't be a massive gap between the affordability and simplicity of carbon-friendly choices. Scotland's hospitality sector is navigating an incredibly difficult time, with rising costs in almost every area."

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Ms Dunn added: "Too many good operators are closing their doors.

"We are doing everything we can to support hospitality businesses, and we hope that becomes a major priority for the Scottish Government as well as its net zero objectives."

The firm was founded in 1875 as a soft drinks business in Arcadia Street in the east end of Glasgow.

Dunns Food & Drinks has since grown to become one of Scotland's leading delivery wholesalers with a broad portfolio of food, beers, wines and spirits from around the world, and supplies around 2,000 customers across Scotland.

In the 1990s the company was "almost forced under" by a devastating fire at its Cambuslang site that led to its move to Blantyre.