Scotland Food & Drink is once again heading out across the country, hosting key figures from the booming Scottish food and drink industry to discuss the industry’s hot topics.
The first stop on the road, Aberdeen, saw over 50 decision makers join Scotland Food & Drink and partners and during the evening, particular discussions were had on provenance and the local food opportunity.
Key ideas emerged from these discussions including the need to engage better with young people and ways of improving the quality of food at events to showcase the local food offering to both visitors and locals alike. In addition, companies spoke of the need to address the shortage of chefs in the North-East.
During the series of Leadership Forum dinners, Scotland Food & Drink will be gathering thoughts of each region to help shape the plans which will drive the industry forward. The events are held behind closed doors and in partnership with Livingston James, Morisons Solicitors and RSM.
Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive James Withers said:
“Farming, fishing, food and drink is central to Scotland’s economy and to find out what issues are affecting the industry, Scotland Food & Drink is touring the country with our Leadership Forum again.
“During the first dinner in Aberdeen, we met with over 50 business leaders from the area to ensure we are doing the right things to drive the industry in the region forward. As well as our efforts to drive sales across the UK and internationally, we had a particular discussion on how we better promote Scottish produce locally, to benefit producers but also improve our offering to tourists visiting Scotland. This is an area both Scotland Food & Drink and Opportunity North East are focussing on.
“I look forward to the future dinners throughout the country and I am keen to hear the views of those who attend, who will shape how we take the industry forward in the coming years.”
Livingston James’ head of Consumer and Agribusiness, Ben Walker, said:
“It was extremely positive to see the energy and passion amongst the audience to be involved in these discussions. Clearly provenance sits high on the agenda and there was a healthy debate around increased protectionism internationally. Domestically there was a consensus that more needs to be done to educate the consumer from a younger age, improve our own ability to use Scotland’s excellent larder and ensure it is available more readily in restaurants, hotels, markets and retailers. A very informative and successful evening with some key messages for Scotland Food & Drink to digest and develop.”
Jacqueline McCluskey, Partner at Morisons Solicitors said:
“Last night, we had an interesting discussion about the importance of provenance. For some companies, it is core to what they do. The industry needs to ensure the best products are available through both innovation and education and by doing this, consumption will be increased locally and across Scotland. I look forward to hearing all the ideas for growth as we travel the country with the Scotland Food & Drink Leadership Forums.”
Andrew Forsyth, partner at RSM, said:
“It was great to bring together leading food and drink brands across Aberdeenshire to discuss the key opportunities and challenges facing the sector. ‘Brand Scotland’ continues to drive activity, as provenance and the quality of food and drink in Scotland remains popular in domestic and international markets.
“However, protecting the Scottish brand and the geographic status of products is a key focus for the sector to remain competitive; and to ensure quality standards are applied to all produce to mitigate reputational damage from sub-standard versions.”