Aberdeenshire food and drink showcased at ‘speed-dating’ event

Hannah Beddie, Lucy Husband and Peter Cook at the Thainstone event.
Hannah Beddie, Lucy Husband and Peter Cook at the Thainstone event.

Food and drink buyers got a taste for local produce from the North East at Scotland Food & Drink’s Regional Showcasing Scotland event this week.

Held at Thainstone Mart in Inverurie, the event saw 52 local suppliers hold one-to-one meetings with over 100 buyers in a speed-dating-style set-up.

A broad range of producers were represented on the day, including; bakery, dairy, brewing, distilling, seafood, soft drinks, snacks, confectionary and preserves.

Buyers from the hospitality, grocery and wholesale industries were in attendance, and deals completed or agreed on the day.

Designed to connect local buyers and suppliers, Showcasing Scotland Regional was developed by Scotland Food & Drink, along with its partners, Connect Local, in response to growing demand for high quality, local produce.

Showcasing Scotland North East is the fifth regional showcasing event of its kind and the first in the North East, with support coming from Opportunity North East (ONE) and Visit Aberdeenshire.

Lucy Husband, UK Market Development Director at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “In Scotland we have an incredible array of quality produce right on our doorstep and in recent years domestic demand for Scottish food and drink has grown, driven by locals and visitors alike.

“The industry’s Home Advantage strategy, led by Scotland Food & Drink and its partners, aims to capitalise on that growing demand. Our research shows that 70% of Scottish consumers believe it’s important to have locally sourced produce available in shops, bars and restaurants. 49% of Scottish shoppers also claim they would be willing to pay more for Scottish produce.

“By having high quality, locally sourced produce in every supermarket or convenience store, deli, restaurant, pub and tourist attraction, we can increase awareness of, and appetite for, Scotland’s food and drink regionally. We can drive sales domestically, whilst driving our reputation as a global food tourism destination.”

Peter Cook, Director of ONE Food, Drink & Agriculture added: “The north east leads the production of Scotland’s quality primary produce. By building networks between local suppliers and buyers across the food and drink industry, not only are we showcasing the best our region has to offer, but also demonstrating our transparent production supply chains from soil to sea, and meeting the growing consumer demand for trust and traceability. Stimulating successful business interactions in this way is essential to achieving that and also our central ambition - with industry

John McLintock, Operations Director for Brakes Scotland, said: “As the world's largest foodservice provider, we are proud to source local lines from small and medium enterprises throughout Scotland to allow our customers (from public sector bodies through to independent bars and restaurants) to add local provenance to their menus.

“These regional showcases let buyers see new and upcoming suppliers who are literally on their doorstep and then we become the distribution channel for the product so our customers can enjoy all the perks of local food but on one order with one delivery and on one invoice. It is a fantastic way for Brakes Scotland to source new lines but more so, to get agreement that customers will buy.

“Ultimately, we are a large part of Ambition 2030 and fully support Scotland Food & Drink with this."