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Aberdeen’s Mad Potato launches new technology to change how we shop

Ramona launched the shop earlier this year
Ramona launched the shop earlier this year

Have you ever idled round the supermarket, and wondered where your food truly comes from?

The grapes, possibly from Spain, and the meat, well the UK if you’re lucky.

But head to Mad Potato on Great Western Road in Aberdeen, and you’ll soon be able to discover the story behind each and every item in your  basket.

From how it was grown or reared, to exactly where it came from and the people behind the business.

Ramona Obafemi believes in people over profit, and has ambitious plans to make her new business as transparent as possible.

Ramona Obafemi runs Mad Potato which offers sustainable organic food.

Previously at the wheel of The Highlander Cafe Bus, which serves up tasty meals on Aberdeen’s beach front, Ramona decided to head to pastures new – and launched Mad Potato in October last year.

As the self confessed “mad potato” behind the name, Ramona initially started off as a online shop.

A quick browse of the website proves you can get almost anything delivered in order to rustle up dinner, with helpful categories such as a butcher, baker, pantry, plus the ever popular snacks and nibbles.

And with next day delivery on offer, it comes as no surprise that people went rather mad for said potato, leading to Ramona opening up a premises three months ago.

Not content with business going well, Ramona now has her sights set on the latest tech in a bid to change how we shop.

We caught up with her, and found out about her latest launch.

How did Mad Potato begin?

We were just an online shop, although we deliver to plenty of postcodes. Turriff, Stonehaven, Banchory and everything in-between.

It was so popular when we launched last year, naturally there was a lull when the world began opening back up. It coincided with us opening the shop.

There’s a wide range available

I used to run The Highlander Cafe Bus, before passing it on to a new tenant. It was and it wasn’t a tough decision.

I built it up and gave it my all. It felt like the right time to move on, and try something new and bigger.

What was the vision behind the business?

Well the idea is to create an entirely new way of shopping, as well as changing the way people eat.

The truth is, food and our relationship to it plays a vital role in shaping our lifestyle, health, economy, and our culture. It is the great unifier, which brings people together in ways that most other elements cannot.”

I want to create a network of neighbourhood shops, where you can buy everything loose and fresh.

There are plenty of local producers that take great care and pride in offering the best quality products. This is our purpose, to bring all those producers under one umbrella and bring their finest products to your door with minimum effort on your part.

Do you have locations in mind for further shops?

Not yet, the Aberdeen set up is a bit scary just now.

The footfall has dropped from lots of other business owners, but the costs haven’t dropped.

Mad Potato has not come without challenges

The response has been great and people are coming back though, so you have to be courageous.

Will you be a refillery shop?

No, our biggest challenge is to make people understand what we are.

We’re not a refillery, but we do focus on ethically responsibly sourced products.

There’s no point taking action in 10 or 20 years time. We need to make changes now. We’re addressing people who maybe haven’t taken the decision yet, because we’ve already done the research into all our producers.”

We do the work for you, and we bring added value to the community.

Are all your products local?

We try to stock local as much as possible. But our flour is from a company down south. Even then, we know that the crops and soil is harvested in such a way that it doesn’t endanger wildlife.

If you want to cook dinner, we’ve got you covered. You don’t have to go to the supermarket.

Next day delivery is available

Some of the companies I work with, I already knew from running the bus. We used to joke that we fed our customers better than our families, because we could see the ingredients in front of us.

So selling local products, that was all I ever knew. We now supply the Highlander Bus, alongside Cafe Harmony, and The Breadmaker, which is all part of our wholesale service to provide fruit and veg to restaurants.

What’s next for Mad Potato?

So I’ve been working with Rajesh Kumar Plamthottathil of TrackGenesis for a while now, and we’re launching the end of this month.

Each product will have a QR code, and you’ll be able to scan it and find out the journey.

We’re starting out by using it on a few products, such as KatieCakes  Preserves.

In time, you’ll be able to watch videos of the farm where the product came from, and establish that deep connection.

It gets you into contact with what you’re putting on the table.

Do you think it has the power to change how we shop?

Oh, absolutely. It is a massive step.

It’s pure transparency, that’s the end goal.

Customers will be able to scan a QR code, and see where their food has come from

Having that information at your finger tips, and the technology will develop as we grow.

Food miles, pictures, where it was grown. At the later stage, we’ll also be looking at the carbon footprint.

We’re piloting it now with just over 30 products, it’s very exciting.

Are you hopeful that supermarkets will follow suit?

Yes. We can force supermarkets to change the way they operate.

But we can only do so if people demand it. And they can only demand it if they have experienced it somewhere else.

It is very easy to do, and it doesn’t require that much effort. There has been a huge increase in demand for local products, and knowing where our food comes from.

What inspired you to take the plunge in the first place?

My five year old. Everything I’m doing is for her.

Otherwise, how is life going to be for her in 10/20 years time?

We are a tiny drop in the ocean, but if we take the step ourselves then others will follow.”

There’s a social responsibility, we want to help the community in various ways and engage with schools.

Ramona hopes the business will make a difference to the next generation

I made a conscious choice to go out and see the people I work with. Now customers will be able to see them too.

Every single producer is so important to me, they don’t have an easy job.

You see their passion as they get to work in the pouring rain, I really admire them.

It is their energy which gives me energy.

And finally, where did such a quirky name come from?

Ha! Now people know me, they say ‘hmm, I think you are the mad potato’.

It just felt right.

To find out more, visit the website at


This article originally appeared on the Evening Express website. For more information, read about our new combined website.