ri news

Taste Inverclyde Attends First Regional Food Groups Summit

On 19 February 2018, regional food groups from across Scotland came together for the first time to discuss how they could work together to strengthen regional food and drink, as well as share common ambitions and challenges.

The event, organised by industry leadership body Scotland Food & Drink, took place over two days in Inverness and saw 16 different regional food groups attend, including Taste Inverclyde.

Above – Scotland Food and Drink’s Graham Young welcomes the different food groups from across Scotland.

Pride in regional food and drink is flourishing and 69% of Scottish consumers say availability of locally sourced food is important to them. For this reason, it is important to continue to strengthen the sector and support each region’s offering.

The groups were encouraged to share their views on a variety of topics throughout the two-day event including:

  • Working together to achieve the goal of developing regional and island food and drink as outlined in Ambition 2030
  • Sharing best practice and learnings between the groups
  • The role of the groups in the development and implementation of a national food tourism strategy
  • The challenges and ambitions faced by the regional food groups and the possibility of supporting these on a national basis

Key discussions highlighted the common issues faced by the groups which focused on marketing, resources (both funding and people) and logistics. The groups will now work with Scotland Food & Drink and other support agencies to create an action plan to increase the consumption of regional food.

Above – Ashley Robinson talks attendees through The Food Assembly in Stirling as part of Forth Valley and Lomond

Andrew Bowman, Head of Business Investment at Riverside Inverclyde said:

It was wonderful to attend this inaugural event to showcase Taste Inverclyde and our aims for Inverclyde. Many of the attendees and food groups have been operating for a number of years and therefore this was a great opportunity to learn from their experiences and challenges.

“We are the newest food group and therefore we took something from all of the speakers that will aid our development. It is critical we work collaboratively in order to meet the 2030 ambition but also support the development of our regional offerings in partnership with the support of Scotland Food and Drink.” 

Edgar Balfour, Project Manager at Orkney Food & Drink, said:

“It was really great to be able to both hear from what other areas in Scotland were doing in terms of developing their food and drink sectors, as well as letting folks know how we in Orkney Food & Drink have developed over the years. The different approaches for the quite different challenges and opportunities was certainly food for thought.”

Graham Young, Industry Development Director at Scotland Food & Drink said:

“Growing sales of regional food and drink is central to continuing the success of our industry and it was extremely positive to see the energy and appetite among the groups to be involved in these discussions.

“Clearly resource sits high on the agenda for those involved over the two days and there was a healthy debate on ways Scotland Food & Drink, Ambition 2030 and the new Scottish food tourism strategy could help in the long term.

“As an example, food tourism is big business and every day, almost £3 million is spent on food and drink by visitors in Scotland and we are working with the regional food groups to understand how we can support them. The event was the first of its kind and overall it was a great success. There were many good points raised by the groups for Scotland Food & Drink to take away and digest.”

Attendees included:

  • Taste Inverclyde
  • Ayrshire Food Network
  • Born in the Borders
  • Dumfries & Galloway Food and Drink
  • Food from Argyll
  • Food from Fife
  • Forth Valley and Lomond
  • Love Loch Lomond
  • Opportunity North East
  • Orkney Food & Drink
  • Outer Hebrides Tourism
  • Shetland Food & Drink
  • Taste Angus
  • Taste Ayrshire
  • Taste of Arran
  • Taste Skye/Skye Connect

 Published: 2 March 2018