HIE Bornholm10 Reduced Size

Hebrides group returns from Danish learning journey

Published: 07/04/2022

Ten people from food and drink businesses in the Outer Hebrides have returned from a week-long learning journey to the Danish island of Bornholm.

Outer Hebrides food and drink representatives - and Julie Sloan.

The trip was funded by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) as part of the agency’s support for the region’s food and drink sector.

All businesses that took part are members of Eat Drink Hebrides, the regional food group that aims to grow a thriving food and drink network for the islands.

It includes food producers, retailers, chefs, restaurant owners and front of house staff from businesses such as Harbour Kitchen, North Uist Distillery and Eriskay Community Shop.

Bornholm shares many similarities with the Hebrides. The tourism season is relatively short and supply chains are challenging. There is also a shortage of young people and difficulties associated with keeping and selling locally grown products.

The Hebridean visitors spent time meeting and learning from the experiences of food and drink companies on Bornholm and how they have met the challenges they have in common.

During a packed itinerary they visited a food market, a farm, breweries and a smokehouse. They also visited a pasta maker who uses locally grown durum wheat, an organic ice cream maker, a grilled cheese pop up café and a new tourism experience that aims to educate visitors about the ocean and where food comes from.

Julie Sloan, project manager with Eat Drink Hebrides, said:

“I carried out a lot of research into places that represent best practice when it comes to food tourism. I also wanted to find a location that reflects our island communities. Bornholm is such a good fit; I am delighted to have taken our group there.”

The HIE funding allowed EDH to employ a consultant who spoke with businesses across the spectrum, from producers to retailers, to better understand how supply chains need to evolve sustainably.

The consultant’s report supports Our Atlantic Larder 2021-2030, a plan to make sure food and drink from the Outer Hebrides is widely recognised as high quality, artisan, and rich in heritage and culture.

It contains 10 recommendations, including the establishment of a collective voice to engage on issues such as ferry service improvements and access to storage facilities.

Joanna Peteranna, HIE’s area manager for the Outer Hebrides, said:

“Collaboration is important in any sector. It sparks ideas and innovation, which in turn fuels growth across the sector. That’s what this learning journey was all about and together with the work carried out by the consultant, we can expect to see more positive things happen in the Outer Hebrides food and drink sector.”

Kate MacDonald, director at North Uist Distillery, said:

"I have been hugely inspired by our visit to Bornholm. It was a wonderful experience to share alongside other food & drink producers from the Outer Hebrides. 

"Seeing the creativity, innovation and collaboration between the Gourmet Bornholm producers has given us all ideas for how to further enhance our food & drink offering within the islands."


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