The Scottish government has revealed plans to launch a food hub to match food manufacturers with suppliers of Scottish produce.
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said the Sourcing for Growth initiative would help to build on Scotland’s growing gourmet reputation.
Speaking at the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) last week (January 31), Lochhead said the project would help food manufacturers source high-quality Scottish ingredients by allowing food firms and farmers to work more closely together.
The project will also:
- Conduct research into the sourcing of raw materials by food manufacturers, exploring option for opportunities for Scottish suppliers
- Identify ways for producers to meet raw material demands of food manufacturers
- Help manufacturers and suppliers to make the most of opportunities within the growing food and drink sector.
- Provide a focal point for research and knowledge exchange to support supply chain development and share good practice throughout the food and drink sector.
Lochhead said: “While, in many places, the links between our primary producers and the manufacturers are strong, I believe we can do more to unlock untapped opportunities.
"That’s why I’m setting up the Sourcing for Growth initiative – to strengthen this link, provide a match-making service, and maximise economic opportunities for all. If you are using butter, can we make it Scottish butter? If you need vegetables, can we ensure more of them are sourced locally?”
Lochhead added that making strong connections between manufacturers and producers will “ensure we have a supply chain that works for everyone concerned and makes the most of Scotland’s fine produce”.
SAOS will receive £230,000 to complete the project in 2013/14 and 2014/15.
Terry Jones, communications director with the Food and Drink Federation, said: “The quality of Scottish primary produce and its underpinning standards are well understood by processors and manufacturers, many of which have longstanding relationships with Scottish suppliers.”
Jones added that the initiative could strengthen ties and help primary producers to appreciate “the ever-evolving needs of food and drink manufacturers”.
“Operating against a backdrop of challenging economic times and a growing global population, strive to produce more from less with less impact.”
Meanwhile, FoodManufacture.co.uk reports today (February 4) how food manufacturers’ promises to buy British ingredients are being frustrated by both the weather and the deepening scandal of meat products contaminated with horse and, now, pig meat.