Inverness food and drink companies meet to discuss industry

Scotland Food & Drink hosted key figures from the booming Scottish food and drink industry at a dinner in Inverness last night, Thursday 9th November.


Mon, 13 Nov 2017


Scotland Food & Drink

Over 50 decision makers from across the region joined Scotland Food & Drink and partners at an invite-only dinner to discuss increasing the local food opportunity and the current debate on health in the Scottish food industry.

Particular discussions from the evening highlighted the importance of tourism to the food and drink industry in the North and how businesses could work together to reach new markets. Education was a key priority for improving health, as well as developing a better understanding of the current food culture and the role that key influencers can play in promoting health to a younger audience. 

The food and drink sector in the Highlands and Islands contributes £1 billion to the economy. Not only is the food and drink industry a significant economic driver with great potential for further development, Inverness and the surrounding regions have become renowned for producing high quality food and drink products with provenance.

Inverness is the latest stop in a series of Leadership Forum dinners. Scotland Food & Drink will be gathering thoughts of regions across Scotland 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.

James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, commented:

"Farming, fishing, food and drink is central to Scotland’s economy and it is key that we hear the views of those in Inverness and the surrounding areas, who will shape how we take the industry forward in the coming years.

“Our Inverness dinner brought together 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.” 

Irene Hambleton, partner at RSM, said: 

“It was great to bring together leading food and drink brands across the Highlands and Islands 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.”

Jacqueline McCluskey, Partner at Morisons Solicitors said:

"Last night we had an interesting discussion about how best to promote local produce across the region and beyond.  A key part of this is helping everyone involved in the sector to collaborate to raise awareness of the fabulous produce on offer. Local events bringing together producers and buyers is a great way to do this.  Equally important is helping producers to innovate to create products which the public want to buy.  With increased attention on the nation’s health at a government level and amongst consumers, this is undoubtedly also an area of focus for producers.  I look forward to hearing all the ideas for growth as we travel the country with the Scotland Food & Drink Leadership Forums."

Livingston James' head of Consumer and Agribusiness, Ben Walker, said: 

“It is a rewarding feeling to be part of a dinner attended by the leaders who work so hard to produce the best quality food and drink that Scotland can be suitably proud of. The gathering of many large and small food and drink companies from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland really emphasises the diversity of Scotland’s larder and the uniqueness of many of our products. 

“It was recognised and acknowledged that more needs to be done to ensure that Scotland is promoting, enjoying and benefitting from it’s amazing produce. Education is key. So also is making sure the products are more locally available at a price point that people can attain.

“Fresh talent must be combined with experienced heads to ensure development opportunities are recognised and better collaboration across sectors will also enhance our combined abilities. The excellent work that Scotland Food and Drink continue to do both domestically and internationally should not go unnoticed.”


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