Raising the Bar: Food and Drink in Argyll - Argyll Enterprise Week

08 November 2017

Venue: Loch Fyne Hotel, Inveraray
Time: 10.00 - 17.00

Argyll and Bute’s food and drink industry was worth over £330M and is very much a key industry for the region. Argyll Enterprise Week food and drink day presents an opportunity to reflect and discuss areas for growth.

Argyll and Bute’s food and drinks industry will be showcased at an event in the Loch Fyne Hotel, Inveraray, on 8 November, and the day draws its inspiration from the progress that businesses have made in raising the profile of quality local produce, and will discuss future opportunities for growth.

Leading the discussions will be local producers’ co-operative Food from Argyll. Producers will talk about new ideas and initiatives for distribution and logistics, which play such a vital role in supporting those working in a dispersed region.

Other topics that will be covered include the importance that is now placed on food tourism with the local economy. Led by Fiona Richmond, of Scotland Food and Drink, the session will focus on how to benefit from tourists who see high-quality food and drink as a rich cultural experience and the main reason to travel. This means going a step further than just ensuring that top-quality local produce is widely available in hotels, pubs and restaurants. It involves embedding our produce at the heart of as many activities and experiences as possible.

Kerry Allison, of SAC Consulting, will lead a session on digital marketing and branding for food and drink producers. She will focus on which digital platforms work best for the industry, how to create memorable and engaging content, and how to measure success.

There will be a lunchtime marketplace where delegates can meet new members and partners, including Skills Development Scotland, Developing Young Workforce, Zero Waste Scotland, World Host, Co Innovate, University of Highland and Islands.

The workshop will close with a talk by Duncan Smallman, of Slate Islands Seaweed. This business combines introducing people to the wonders of the edible seashore with teaching them what seaweed is and how to collect the plants. Duncan then demonstrates some cooking, giving a taste of what is possible with different species. Along with the seashore foraging, Slate Islands Seaweed is developing and providing sustainable wild harvested edible seaweed to restaurants, and is looking to expand its ‘to order’ service.

Duncan says: “I have provided seashore foraging weekends down on Islay and co-hosted Scottish Wild food weekends on Easdale. As my background is working with different species of seaweed I can offer some consultancy work as well. The aim is to properly move away from just saying something contains seaweed to emphasising the flavours different species can bring to food. It's all about reconnecting people to a food past, almost but not quite forgotten.”

David Smart, Head of Special Projects at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), says: “One of the things we were told last year was that people were most inspired by hearing about the success of others. So we’ve made sure that there’s time for networking during the day and that our speakers have industry experience.”


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