An event which offers the opportunity for food and drink businesses to meet key buyers from both the UK and international markets is closing for registration on Friday (12 June).
Showcasing Scotland 2015 is the second of its type to be held in Scotland as part of the Year of Food and Drink and provides a spotlight on Scotland’s natural larder and quality produce to consumers from within Scotland and also from overseas sho will visit Scotland during this year.
Scottish food and drink companies are forecasting almost £20 million of additional sales over a three year period as a direct result of attending last year’s Showcasing Scotland event, Food Secretary Richard Lochhead has announced this week.
The additional sales came as a result of meetings producers had with buyers who attended the three day flagship event last year, and will certainly be welcome news to companies considering exhibiting at this year’s event, which will take place at Gleneagles in October.
The news comes on the back of a recent announcement that exports of Scottish food surpassed the £1.1 billion mark in 2014.
An industry-led campaign has been supported by Scotland Food & Drink, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), EventScotland and VisitScotland.
Mr Lochhead said: “These fantastic sales predictions are an excellent result for Scottish food and drink. It illustrates that when we showcase Scotland, buyers from near and far like what they see.
“This comes as no surprise considering the exceptional quality and unrivalled provenance of Scottish produce and is yet another indicator of strong demand for Scottish produce both at home and abroad.
“Scotland has a wonderful natural larder that lends itself to some of the best produce in the world, and we have some extremely hard-working farmers, producers and processors who deserve the recognition that comes with their products being in demand all across the world.
“This is our Year of Food and Drink, and we are proving that we really are a Land of Food and Drink, with a manufacturing industry that has seen turnover growth increase by 20.8 per cent in just four years – outshining the UK as a whole, which grew by just 8.6 per cent over the same period. I hope those who attend this year’s Showcasing Scotland event achieve similar success.”
Susan Beattie, Head of Food & Drink at Scottish Development International, said: “Early feedback from the Showcasing Scotland 2014 event has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s great to see that this is supported by such strong additional sales forecasts. It demonstrates that this type of one-to-one Meet the Buyer event really does deliver for both Scottish businesses and our customers in the UK and overseas. This year’s event will be enhanced by having our full team of global food & drink specialists on board, making it easier to follow up on positive leads from the event.
“We are expecting huge interest in this year’s Showcasing Scotland event, and registrations are already open. However, places are limited, and I would encourage any food and drink company with international ambitions to ensure you register before next Friday’s deadline.”
James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, added: “Last year’s event was the first of its kind and it said a great deal about Scottish food and drink’s growing success and reputation that we were able to attract senior buyers from across the UK and overseas. Over 600 individual meetings took place between buyers and suppliers and that momentum will carry into the 2015 event at Gleneagles. It will be the most important food and drink trade event in Scotland this year.
“The huge advantage of hosting the event here is that we can really showcase Scotland and our whole sector. For companies, the access to international buyers is hugely valuable, but this is now a major UK market event too. We expect all the major UK retailers and catering companies to head to Perthshire in October. We’ve targeted a further £2.6 billion in industry growth by 2017 so events like Showcasing Scotland have become hugely important.”
The event, led by Scottish Development International and Scotland Food & Drink, was part of a series of business engagement events run during 2014 as part of the Scotland Welcomes the World programme and one of the flagship events for the SF&D Export Plan, which aims to increase exports to £7.1 billion by 2017 and build Scotland’s reputation as a Land of Food & Drink.
The three day event was held for the first time last year to provide a platform for Scottish food and drink companies to meet and do business with a wide range of UK and International buyers.
Companies reported strong feedback that the chance to have one to one meetings with buyers was very beneficial for them in terms of building relationships, facilitating contacts and coming to a solution there and then, with potential immediate impact.