Cashing in on local produce

Strategy aims to swell spending on Scottish food and drink by £1 billion

The strategy seeks to increase spending on the nation’s food and drink

A NEW strategy to maximise the potential of Scotland’s food and drink tourism will aim to grow the Scottish economy by a billion pounds.

The Food Tourism Scotland Action Plan includes a number of measures to boost the industry, including the creation of a new food tourism apprenticeship programme, support for visitor attractions to secure Taste Our Best accreditation, improved marketing for food and drink tourism and a programme of Showcasing Scotland events  that will bring together regional buyers and suppliers.

Visitors to the country are  thought to already spend around £1 billion annually on food and drink.

The industry-led scheme, which was launched by first minister Nicola Sturgeon during a visit to the Isle of Arran, seeks to secure an additional £1 billion of spend on local produce by 2030.

“Scotland is already renowned as the land of food and drink, with our quality produce known throughout the world,” said Sturgeon.

“With around £1 billion being spent on food and drink by visitors each year, the economic benefits are clear.

“This action plan will bring together everyone in the food and tourism sectors to build on that success story.”

The plan was welcomed by trade group UK Hospitality.

Willie Macleod, executive director for Scotland, said: “Scotland’s fantastic food and drink sector is one of its best tourism assets and is enthusiastically supported by many of our hospitality businesses including some of the most exciting drinking and dining venues and concepts in the UK.

“Support for this sector is very welcome, particularly support to create a new apprenticeship that will help secure its future prosperity.”

And Scotland Food & Drink chief executive, James Withers, said the new strategy could bring “a huge economic and reputational prize” to Scotland if it is executed successfully.