Operators encouraged to take part in annual celebration of local food and drink
SCOTTISH bar and restaurant operators are being encouraged to do their part to champion local produce as part of the annual Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight.
Organised by not-for-profit organisation Scotland Food and Drink, this year’s Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight will run between September 7 and September 22 and is scheduled to include more than 300 separate events across the country, including farmers markets, cooking demonstrations and butchery classes.
Confirmed events include the Loch Ness Beer Festival, Elgin Food and Drink Festival and the Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival.
The latter, taking place on September 14 and 15, is expected to attract around 20,000 visitors to the Loch Lomond area, with exhibitors including Loch Lomond Brewery, Argyll Smokery and Lomond Chillies.
“It is wonderful that there is a focus on the strength of Scottish produce and producers,” said Clare Gemmell, manager of local tourist destination Loch Lomond Shores.
“There are so many amazingly talented people in such a small country and we have to stop being shy and shout from the rooftops.”
Scotland Food and Drink aims to grow the sector’s value to £12.5bn by 2017.
Sophie Fraser, communications and marketing manager for Scotland Food and Drink, said this year’s fortnight will offer operators “a welcome opportunity to celebrate our land of food and drink”.
“It encourages people to discover, buy and enjoy the wealth of Scottish produce available,” said Fraser.
“With hundreds of events of all types and sizes taking place around Scotland, there’s something for all ages and tastes.”
A number of resources have been made available for bar and restaurant operators on the Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight website, along with a variety of hints and tips on how outlets can make the most of the fortnight.
Downloadable materials on the site (www.scottishfoodanddrinkfortnight.co.uk) include A3 and A4 posters, stickers and tent cards featuring images of Scottish produce as well as a branded poster.
Operators who plan to host a food and drink-themed event are invited to register online to receive a free listing on the website’s events page.
Further support is also available from Event Ready Producers, a branch of Scottish Enterprise.
The organisation’s event service is available to operators at £500 plus VAT and includes consultancy support, a site visit and an ‘action plan’, which includes forecasts for sales and turnover growth.
The strength of the Scottish food and drink sector appears to be reinforced by new Scottish Government figures, which showed a 3.3% growth in Scottish food and drink exports in the first quarter of 2013.
Overall, Scotland’s food and drink sector saw an 11.3% average annual growth rate to the first quarter of 2013, according to the figures.
Scottish Government finance secretary John Swinney said the growth in exports “is another positive piece of evidence that Scotland is on the road to economic recovery”.
“Scotland’s food and drink sector is continuing to perform well and it is clear that many countries have developed a taste for Scottish goods,” said Swinney.
“Our excellent natural larder guarantees high quality produce which is celebrated around the world.”
Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight is part of Scotland Food and Drink’s growth strategy, which aims to grow the value of Scotland’s food and drink sector to £12.5 billion by 2017.
Over 220 events were said to have registered for Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight in 2012 and organisers expect that number to grow in 2013.
1 – Gamba, Glasgow: A special menu championing Scottish suppliers will be available, complete with information about provenance and details of where local produce can be bought. September 7-22
2 – The Laird’s Inn, Dumfries & Galloway: The Laird’s Inn will be running a special menu featuring local fish and seafood. Tuesday-Sunday throughout the fortnight from 5pm
3 – The Globe Inn, Dumfries & Galloway: A taste of Burns will be on offer at The Globe every day of the fortnight. Sulwath beer and Scotch whisky will be available, as well as Galloway’s Houston Haggis, which will be accompanied by neeps and tatties from local farmers. 12pm-3pm
4 – 28 Queen Street, Edinburgh: Island wines masterclass with Rose Murray Brown. Sample 13 wines from the British Isles and further afield matched with a selection of Scottish cheeses. September 18
5 – Best of the West Festival, Inveraray: The Loch Fyne whisky bar will be serving twenty drams from 20 west coast distilleries and a number of ‘Food from Argyll’ tents will offer Fyne Ales and local food products. September 14-15
6 – Loch Lomond Food and Drink Festival, Balloch: Real ale, whisky tasting, local food and live music will all be present at this year’s festival. September 14-15
7 – Hightae Inn, Lockerbie: Home cooked food in a Scottish country setting. The menu will showcase steak and lamb from The Butchery in Lockerbie alongside fish and game from Barony Country Foods. Tuesday-Sunday from 6pm