Black & Gold produces a cold-pressed rapeseed oil at Stevenson Mains Farm, East Lothian. Louise Elder started the company in 2010 after reading about the nutritional properties of cold-pressed oil. By cold pressing, the oil the original flavour, viscosity, taste and levels of naturally occurring nutrients are beautifully preserved. As a food entrepreneur, Louise recognised the marketing potential for her rapeseed oil. The company has established expertise in the production of this premium oil and now supplies to over 30 outlets including: Harvey Nicols; Napier the Herbalists; Coulstoun Cookery School; and a range of top-class restaurants and fine food suppliers.

  • The Brief
  • The Research
  • The Outcome
  • The Impact

Black & Gold wanted to be absolutely clear about the properties of their product so that they could be accurate and honest about any nutritional claims made on the labelling and in their marketing material. The company wanted to establish the brand at the forefront of nutritional, premium, artisan foods while expanding beyond farm shops, delis and butchers, to the web, clinical practitioners, health stores and health centres. With this end in mind researchers at Queen Margaret University were asked to establish the hard facts about the omega-3 nutritional content of the oil.

Rapeseed oil is renowned for its healthy fatty acid composition, as it has a very low omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, which helps to maintain cardiovascular health. Black & Gold rapeseed oil is cold-pressed and doesn’t undergo significant processing. This is not only believed to optimise the flavour of the oil but may also preserve a range of antioxidant compounds that would otherwise be lost in processing. The research assessed the antioxidant profile and fatty acid content of the Black & Gold rapeseed oil and compared it with an equivalent grade olive oil on the market. In addition the effect of domestic cooking on these nutrient profiles was investigated.

The research confirmed that the overall balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids conforms to the World Health Organisation international guidelines for heart health. Furthermore, analysis of the product showed that Black & Gold rapeseed oil does contain naturally occurring antioxidants in the form of polyphenols which remained active after domestic cooking such as shallow frying. Our research has established that Black & Gold may be considered superior to oils such as sunflower and extra virgin olive oil commonly used for cooking. This superiority can be attributed to this oil’s favourable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, antioxidant content and retention of nutritional benefits throughout normal cooking and heating processes.

The client was delighted with the collaboration with Queen Margaret University:

“Meeting with the specialists at Queen Margaret University gave immediate access to invaluable experience and research in the food industry not only in Scotland but the rest of the world. Engaging with academics who could increase the product potential is extremely rewarding for very small, inexperienced and young businesses. Black & Gold have found the collaboration with Queen Margaret University to be highly profitable in terms of understanding the efficacy of our product and we now feel we can communicate its benefits accurately to our customers.”

Louise Elder, Director of Black & Gold



The impact of the research from an academic perspective:

“It’s not the total amount of omega-3 that matters. What’s important is the balance between the amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and Black & Gold cold-pressed rapeseed oil contains the ideal fatty acid profile for long term health. Polyphenols are antioxidants from plant foods that have been proven to enhance health and it’s generally recognised that they can reduce the risk factors of cardiovascular disease and can help protect the body from chronic disease. Black & Gold rapeseed oil contains a range of polyphenols which can work actively in the body to prevent certain disease mechanisms occurring.”

Dr Jane McKenzie, Academic lead for Food and Drink, Queen Margaret University

Our practical innovation support and creative business solutions can help businesses with:

  • New and innovative product development and analysis;
  • Development of leading edge functional, health enhancing products and ingredients;
  • Reformulation of existing products – for example healthier alternatives to fat, salt and sugar;
  • Innovative sources of raw materials to produce novel ingredients and ensure sustainability;
  • Ingredients to improve product processing and preservation and
  • Nutritional analysis, shelf life testing, consumer focus groups and taste panels.


We offer the following, supported by academic expertise:

  • Consultancy
  • Collaborative Research
  • Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP)
  • Contract research
  • Access to appropriate innovation funding


If your business could benefit from research support or business advice contact:

Miriam Smith, Research and Knowledge Exchange Unit

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Mobile: 07872 128 688

Business Support & Enquiries

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Business Support & Enquiries

Miriam Smith Innovation and Enterprise Manager 0131 474 0000
07872 128 688