The 2014 Food & Drink team has today announced a new package of innovation support, designed to help all Scottish food and drink companies to capitalise on the business opportunities presented by events taking place in Scotland during 2014.
The project, known as the 2014 Legacy Challenge, encourages companies to act now to start thinking about how they can innovate to develop a new product or creating exciting new packaging for 2014 and beyond, and kicks off with an Innovation Workshop in Edinburgh on 29 April.
The 2014 Food & Drink team is a partnership between Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, EventScotland and VisitScotland, and was established to optimise the opportunities presented by the year’s high profile events, including the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and the second edition of Homecoming.
It is anticipated that visitors to Scotland in 2014 will spend almost £33m on food and drink and Scottish Enterprise research shows that visitors want to taste traditional Scottish dishes, regional specialities and fresh, locally sourced produce during their time in the country. With that in mind the new packaging and products programme will encourage businesses to consider developing their offering with a view to next year and beyond.
The new innovation programme takes the form of free innovation workshops hosted by leading industry experts, providing an excellent way to explore how best to understand consumers’ needs and desires and how this translates into effective development of market-ready products or packaging. The workshops will also include topics on marketing and promotional activities to help companies maximise return on investment.
The 2014 Food & Drink team can help businesses access services to help them promote their products to key retail and foodservice markets. The wide range of support already available includes Scotland Food & Drink’s Access to Markets programme which is designed to help food and drink companies grow their business across the UK through activities such as Meet the Buyer events while Scottish Development International are experts in supporting companies to reach international markets. The Event Ready Producers project is delivered by Scottish Enterprise to offer food and drink companies expert support to review their readiness to supply events and provides tailored advice on areas such as sales strategies, product and price propositions, marketing and service delivery.
Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive James Withers commented: “2014 offers tremendous potential for the Scottish food and drink industry. The 2014 Food & Drink team are working to optimise every opportunity, and to equip businesses of all types and sizes from across the country with skills to improve both their product offering and packaging of their produce to the consumer.
“These free workshops are early steps of the journey towards a profitable 2014 and I encourage food and drink producers to seize the opportunity to up-skill their business and investigate ways they can benefit. There has never been a better time to celebrate our Land of Food and Drink in the eyes of both home and international audiences.”
Jillian Moffat, head of the games legacy team at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We are working closely with our partners to ensure that companies across Scotland are fully aware of the business opportunities associated with the major events taking place in 2014, such as the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup and the year of Homecoming.
“We want to ensure that companies of all sizes are 'business ready' to exploit the economic impact of 2014 and would encourage them to attend one of our innovation events, to find out more about the opportunities and how Scottish Enterprise can support their growth plans through our innovation services".
The first Innovation Workshop will be held in Edinburgh on 29 April, full information is available at www.scotlandfoodanddrink.org Both the Innovation Workshops and the Innovation Specialists service are free and open to food and drink companies from anywhere in Scotland.
This programme forms part of a wider package of support by the 2014 Food & Drink team to help Scottish companies maximise the business opportunities arising from the 2014 events. Visit www.2014foodanddrink.org for further information about 2014 food and drink opportunities.