A FOOD delivery business set up during Covid-19 is determined to transform shopping habits and bring local produce to your door –with zero plastic.

Scarecrow’s Pantry was created last summer when former builder Mitch Mellor had become tired of the “gross amount of waste” he saw in the trade.

Responding to the increased need for food deliveries during the pandemic, he decided to tackle the amount of plastic waste generated by packaging and to support unique Sussex suppliers by setting up a zero waste delivery service.

The business, based in Woodingdean, was launched in a disused bottling unit at an old dairy farm and now delivers a range of produce all over Sussex, from organic fruit and veg boxes to dairy products, fresh bread and craft beer, all in recycled wooden crates.

The Argus: Mitch Mellor, founder of Scarecrow's PantryMitch Mellor, founder of Scarecrow's Pantry

Mitch believes Scarecrows Pantry is also the first food business in the UK to offer a plastic-free refill service for staples, including pasta, rice, couscous, cereals and tea and coffee.

He described the service as like a return to a traditional milkman run, where containers are collected and reused.

With the help of his children, Mitch collected wooden pallets and built them into crates –which are now used to distribute food – and there is also a glass refill system.

He also offers a compost scheme, collecting people’s food waste and returning them as compost bags.

Mitch said: “It’s going really well as we come out the other side of lockdown.

“Our biggest drive is to reduce single use plastics and to help Sussex producers.

The Argus:

“We source as much as we can from local suppliers, acting as a hub where we can distribute their produce, but keeping it all environmentally friendly.

“We are trying to make the change as easy and affordable as possible for customers.

“With the state the world is in, it has to happen now.

“What the supermarkets do is gross and the amount of single use plastic has increased during the pandemic.

“Plastic is a really useful commodity but it’s not being reused. That’s the problem we’re trying to tackle.”

Scarecrows Pantry aims to promote healthy living and offers a range of produce, including organic or non-organic veg boxes.

Eggs and milk are available, direct from Sussex farms and you can even get baking ingredients and household cleaning products.

The business also supplies more unusual products from the likes of Brighton-based Old Tree Brewery, which makes kombucha and other botanical drinks, to Roisin’s Kefir drinks, a producer based in Shoreham.

The Argus: Scarecrow's Pantry offers a refill service on a range of dry foods Scarecrow's Pantry offers a refill service on a range of dry foods

Mitch believes that following a change in shoppers’ behaviour during lockdown, the demand for a delivery service with a focus on quality produce will remain strong.

Scarecrow’s Pantry has also been working with Albion In The Community to send veg boxes to vulnerable families during the crisis.

Mitch said: “Scarecrow’s Pantry set up during the pandemic because of the pandemic.

“So it only feels right to help people suffering because of the pandemic.

“We are a community-led business and it’s important in times of crises we come together.

“Our aim is to bring Sussex and the surrounds to the public’s door.”

Scarecrow’s Pantry has been so popular that Mitch is set to open a refill store in Sackville Road in Hove this summer.

To find out more or to place an order, visit www.scarecrowspantry.com.