Buy Scottish food, transport firms urged

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

On the right rails? The Caledonian Sleeper service has pledged to support local food and drink businesses
On the right rails? The Caledonian Sleeper service has pledged to support local food and drink businesses
Buy more Scottish food and drink is the message the government is sending to the nation’s airports, stations and ports in the form of an invitation to sign a new sourcing pledge.

The Scottish government has written to the country’s main transport hubs urging them to do more to promote Scottish produce. To launch Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, which began on January 1, 2015, cabinet secretary for food Richard Lochhead, made the plea at a Tesco store in Edinburgh on December 30.

“Our Year of Food and Drink 2015 is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our nation’s outstanding produce, and transport hubs which welcome visitors to Scotland are the obvious place to showcase our local food and drink,”​ said Lochhead.

120M opportunities to showcase

About 120M people pass through Scottish ports, stations and airports every year, offering 120M opportunities to showcase the nation’s food and drink to overseas visitors and Scottish consumers alike, he said.

“That is why I am writing to all of Scotland’s transport hub operators encouraging them to review their sourcing policies and commit both to providing healthy and affordable options and to increasing the Scottish food and drink on offer,”​ said Lochhead.

“Both of Scotland’s rail franchises – ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper – will be using locally sourced produce to promote the best of Scottish food and drink and I want other operators to follow this good example.

“I challenge them all to consider adopting a pledge to show visitors and the wider public their commitment to playing a part in Scotland’s journey towards becoming a Good Food Nation.”

Tesco had kicked off the year by promoting iconic Scottish products in 200 Scottish stores in the run up to Hogmanay, said Lochhead. “With so many other excellent Scottish products available, including many fresh, healthy and affordable options, I would like to see others use the opportunity the Year of Food and Drink provides to showcase the variety and quality of produce Scotland has to offer.”

The retailer’s head of local sourcing Sarah Mackie said the business was committed to bringing customers the best of Scottish food and drink. “With more than 180 suppliers from all across Scotland, we are pleased to have a longstanding commitment to sourcing and selling Scottish produce,”​ said Mackie.

Available in Tesco stores

“We are delighted that through our Hogmanay event we can help raise awareness of the Year of Food and Drink and we look forward to continuing to champion the fantastic variety of products that are grown and produced across Scotland and available in Tesco stores in Scotland and beyond.”

Serco’s md of the new Caledonian Sleeper service Peter Strachan said signing the pledge will benefit travellers and small and medium-sized food businesses.  “The service will be emblematic of all that’s best about Scotland and a key part of our plan is to promote and support small and medium-sized Scottish businesses by sourcing local products and produce from them,”​ said Strachan.

“Scotland is a land of food and drink, and our exceptional natural larder is renowned around the world,”​ said Lochhead. “From our fresh fruit and seafood, and prime cuts of meat to indulgent treats like shortbread, fudge and ice cream, the food and drink we produce here has unrivalled quality and provenance.”

The new ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper services will begin service launch on April 1, 2014.

Meanwhile, Tesco sells £2.1bn of Scottish sourced products across the UK each year.

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