Supermarkets urged to buy Scottish food and drink

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Supermarkets are being urged to promote Scottish food and drink
Supermarkets are being urged to promote Scottish food and drink

Related tags: Supermarket, Scotland

Supermarkets in Scotland and their customers are being urged to put the nation's food and drink first by the Scottish government.

Scotland’s rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead urged supermarkets to promote local produce, as part of a three-point plan to make Scottish products top supermarket sellers by 2020.

“Here in Scotland, we produce some of the very best food and drink, with excellent national and local delicacies enjoyed by many. But all too often they are not stocked in Scotland,”​ Lochhead told the National Farmers Union of Scotland annual general meeting.

“I will be in talks with retailers to agree steps they will take to transform their approach to local sourcing in 2015.”

‘Do some soul searching’

Lochhead urged supermarket bosses to “do some soul searching” ​and think about whether there is more they should be doing to back the Scottish economy and to secure food production in Scotland. “My challenge is this: let's set ourselves a target of five years and make sure that by then, for items made in Scotland, Scottish products should dominate our shelves.”

Such promotion had been achieved for red meat, so why not other food and drink products? he questioned. While retailers had a big role to play in promoting Scottish produce, so too did many others, including shoppers.

In addition to persuading supermarkets to promote Scottish produce, the government unveiled a new £0.5M plan to help Scottish producers promote their produce to retailers throughout the UK and foodservice firms and a marketing campaign – called Happier Mealtimes – to be launched on February 25.

‘£500,000 to help Scottish producers’​ 

Scottish government to:

• Spend £0.5M over three years to help producers put products to retailers and catering firms

• Meet supermarket leaders to agree steps to transform their approach to local sourcing

• Launch marketing campaign to promote local and in season food

“This will encourage us all to look for local. We will be running a nationwide marketing campaign starting later this month to encourage consumers to eat local, in season food,”​ he said. “We are also allocating £500,000 to help Scottish producers access retailers and caterers in the Scottish and UK markets.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish government unveiled plans to launch a Scottish dairy brand​ earlier this month to promote sales at home and abroad. “In Scotland we can produce some of the best cheese, butter and other dairy products around,”​ said Lochhead. “I want to make it easier for consumers to choose Scottish products first – providing much needed support to local farmers and boosting the Scottish economy.

“I also want to help our dairy farmers capitalise on the proud reputation of Scottish food and drink and access more export opportunities.”

Last month it urged transport companies – including train operators, airports and ports – to sign a local sourcing​ pledge. 

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