Scotland’s local retailers will get the chance to meet up with a huge array of Scottish food and drink companies at a series of regional Showcasing Scotland events next year.
Organised by Scotland Food & Drink in partnership with free advisory service Connect Local, the events will bring local and regional buyers and sellers together at a series of ‘speed-dating’ style meetings to help grow sales of locally-produced authentic Scottish food and drink.
The events will form a key part of the partnership approach between Scottish Government and industry to promote locally sourced and produced food and drink as outlined in the Scottish Government Programme for Government.
A recent survey conducted by industry body Scotland Food & Drink found that 68% of Scots said they value local sourcing and almost half said that they plan to buy more local food and drink in the future.
The announcement comes after over 2,000 meetings took place between 135 Scottish food and drink companies and over 150 UK and global buyers at the two-day Showcasing Scotland event at Gleneagles earlier last month.
Showcasing Scotland – West will be the first in the series and will take place on Wednesday 7 March, 2018 at Hampden Park, Glasgow. Further events in Tayside, Highlands & Islands, the East and North East will take place across 2018/19.
Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, said: “We know that bringing together suppliers and buyers to do business at these types of events has a proven track record of working well. The larger Showcasing Scotland events have been a huge success, with our producers securing significant new business through this interaction.
“In taking this concept to regional level, we are enabling more of our fantastic local producers the opportunity to grow their businesses by showcasing the very best of their produce to a range of prospective buyers.”
James Withers, Chief Executive for Scotland Food & Drink, commented: “Showcasing Scotland is the most important trade event in our industry’s calendar and by taking the hugely successful event to a regional level, it creates a fantastic opportunity to broaden the range and diversity of Scottish produce available in local markets across Scotland.
“We’ve set an ambitious target to more than double the size of our industry to £30bn by 2030. In order to reach this, we need to build on growth opportunities for our exceptional food and drink businesses and help them to sell more in their local markets. This series of Showcasing Scotland regional events will provide businesses with the tools and opportunities to be able to achieve this.”
Connect Local, the Scottish Government’s local food and drink marketing advisory service, will provide a series of free workshops for businesses in each region ahead of the Showcasing Scotland events. A unique buyer engagement workshop will also be available. Ceri Ritchie, Project Manager, at Connect Local, said: “Connect Local has developed a programme that will provide support and advice for food and drink businesses who are looking to develop their commercial capabilities. We are encouraging as many businesses as possible to register for each of the three workshops, which will cover branding, supply chain and sales support and will take place in each region prior to the Showcasing Scotland event.
“The series of free workshops will provide a fantastic opportunity for businesses who then go on to attend one of the regional Showcasing Scotland events and will help ensure they are in strong position when meeting with potential buyers.”
For more information and online registration, visit the www.showcasing.scot website.
Photo courtesy of Tim Edgeler