Twenty-one food and drink businesses from the Highlands and Islands will attend an unprecedented ‘meet the buyer’ event ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
The Showcasing Scotland event is the first large scale event of its type to be run for the Scottish food and drink industry.
Taking place on 21 and 22 July at Dunblane Hydro, it will bring together around seventy companies showcasing their products and 80 buyers from the UK and key export markets who are looking for Scottish products to enhance their existing offering. The event is a partnership between Scotland Food & Drink and Scottish Development international (SDI), the international arm of the Scottish Government and its enterprise agencies.
While Scotland’s food and drink industry has been a continuing success story, there is still huge potential for growth in the UK and overseas, where Scottish provenance is seen as a marque of quality. In recognition of this, the recently launched Scotland Food & Drink Export Plan has identified 15 key export markets and buyers from some of these markets will be targeted to attend the Showcasing Scotland event.
2014 is a landmark year for Scotland as the country plays host to the Commonwealth Games, 2014 Ryder Cup and celebrates the second year of Homecoming Scotland. These events will provide a significant economic boost for Scotland’s food and drink industry as companies play a major role in the festivities, providing a ‘shop window’ to showcase the finest of regionally sourced, premium quality produce and products Scotland’s natural larder has to offer.
2014 Food & Drink is an industry-led campaign supported by Scotland Food & Drink, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), EventScotland and VisitScotland.
A wide range of companies from the Highlands and Islands will attend the event including meat, dairy, bakeries, and seafood producers.
Ardersier based cheese making company Connage Highland Dairy will attend the two-day event. The company is seeking to diversify to add value to the organic milk it was already producing when it started making cheese in 2005.
Managed by Callum and Jill Clark, the dairy produces and sells a range of premium quality, hand-made cheeses from their organic herd of 150 cows.
Jill Clark, Joint Managing Director of Connage Dairy, said: “Since we began eight years ago, we have been growing the business at a steady pace, trading nationally and internationally in the USA and Germany. At a SDI Meet the Buyer event in 2009, we managed to secure a two-year deal with Harrods which was a tremendous boost for us.
“We are very much looking forward to the Showcasing Scotland event as it gives us a unique opportunity to see a large selection of buyers from all around the world. We are very proud of our cheese but equally proud of the part we play in the local Highland community and the wider Scottish food and drink industry. We hope to meet the right kind of buyer that suits our products well and we hope that this event will enable us to focus on new export areas.”
Companies attending will receive a guaranteed minimum of six introductory buyers meetings at the event.
Iain Sutherland from HIE, said: “It is fantastic that so many companies from the Highlands and Islands will be participating at the event. HIE works with these businesses to help them grow in so many ways, including increasing their international markets. The Showcasing Scotland event gives them such a great opportunity especially with the focus on Scotland during 2014. We wish all our companies every success at the event.”
Thurso based Reids of Caithness has recently experienced success at home and in exports around the world.
Managing Director Gary Reid will also be present at the event. He said: “Our business is currently experiencing an exciting period of growth and we distribute our products all over the world from Japan, USA and Canada, to Korea, Dubai and France.
“By showcasing our products and meeting buyers at the event, we hope to establish a better partnership and to build our brand together. We are in the process of growing our market in the UK and the Showcasing Scotland event gives us a fantastic opportunity to meet national and buyers who can help make connections for us on a larger scale which will allow us to accelerate our ambitions and develop our customer base.”
Amanda Brown, industry development director at Scotland Food & Drink, comments: “We have a wealth of amazing food and drink products in Scotland but it is not always easy to make connections with buyers. This event will provide suppliers with an opportunity to do just that but on a scale that hasn’t been delivered before.
“In 2014 all eyes will be on Scotland so there’s no better time for companies to make their mark on the global marketplace and we will be supporting participants to ensure they maximise the commercial benefits this landmark year brings.”
The Highlands and Islands businesses which will be present at Showcasing Scotland are: