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VisitScotland is optimistic e-commerce can help get the Scottish food and drink sector through the toughest year ever, as businesses across the country report increase demand.
The national tourism organisation’s Only In Scotland campaign has been encouraging Scots to rediscover the unique experiences on offer here, following the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visitors spend around £995 million annually on eating and drinking and it accounts for the largest share of visitor spend after accommodation and travel costs (Source: Opening up Scotland’s larder to our visitors VisitScotland Insights department paper) [i].
Research by Scotland Food and Drink suggests 70% of Scottish consumers believe it’s important to have locally sourced produce available, and 49% of Scottish shoppers also claim they would be willing to pay more for Scottish produce.
Food and Drink fortnight (5th-20th September) is underway, celebrating Scottish food and drink heroes who supplied groceries during lockdown as well as provide recipe ideas online, virtual cooking classes and tasting sessions while people were at home.
Many micro businesses have been experimenting with online orders and home delivery for the first time. Isle20 was set up by Rhoda Meek on Tiree, Argyll & Bute as an online marketplace for the Scottish islands.Rhoda Meek, founder of the isle20 and isleEats websites said:Jo Vale operates Tiree Chocolates which is listed on the site and she said:Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:Lucy Husband, Market Development & Business Engagement Director at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “While more and more of us are shopping for food and drink online, the appetite for high-quality, local products remains strong. In fact, our research shows that 70% of Scottish consumers believe it’s important to have locally sourced produce available, and 49% of Scottish shoppers also claim they would be willing to pay more for Scottish produce. “We proudly launched our SupportLocal.scot directory during lockdown to meet that demand and provide a useful platform for businesses to reach new consumers. In this incredibly difficult time for so many people, food and drink producers have shown resilience in their ability to innovate and adapt. Scotland boasts some of the best food and drink products in the world, and we should all endeavour to support local producers and enjoy the fruits of Scotland’s larder.”
Whisky Hammer is a family-run whisky auction service based in Ellon, Aberdeenshire. It was established in 2015 by brothers Daniel and Craig Milne.Co-founder and managing director Daniel said: The resolute confidence that the market has in Whisky Hammer will also allow us to develop our new business, Still Spirit. We will be launching both a physical shop in our new premises in Udny as well as an online shop, which includes a traditional retail shop for whisky and other fine spirits such as gin and rum. The bit we are most excited about is our carefully designed tasting room and exclusive rare whisky bar which will be hosting regular ticketed tasting events. We are ready to launch this in the coming weeks, which we hope will be seen as a positive statement, as lockdown measures are eased, towards revitalising and re-awakening business in Aberdeenshire.”
Tim Roads launched marketplace website Schop late last year in Edinburgh, offering locally sourced food and drink from independent retailers. Schop, is an Old Scots word which is derived from French échoppe which means a market stall or small shop.Tim said:Although things levelled out a bit since restrictions lifted, many customers are returning to us because of the quality of fresh, seasonal produce. We tend to stock items that are having a good season to maximise the taste and customers value this level of insight and it gives them that important connection to the land. This has been a particularly good year for Scottish strawberries and blueberries.“Schop’s delivery service is carbon-neutral and we use as little packaging as possible and where packaging is required we endeavour to use either reusable, compostable or recyclable. So residents and visitors can leave no trace when they enjoying our food on the go. Because of our success we are able to rent a unit soon and are planning to work with an Edinburgh chef to offer meals in our deliveries. There’s a great community of small businesses working together.”
Overtone is a brewery in Glasgow, founded in 2018.James Kidd, Head of Sales, Overtone said:Being granted our off sales licence helped massively giving us a much-needed income stream.We are lucky enough to package on site, so we were able to adapt the business with very few bottlenecks.”
VisitScotland have details how to get involved and support Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight on visitscotland.org https://www.visitscotland.org/news/2019/championing-our-countrys-larder
For further information of VisitScotland’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, go to https://www.visitscotland.org/supporting-your-business/advice/coronavirus
[i] Opening up Scotland’s larder to our visitors - Exploring the role of food & drink in the visitor experience VisitScotland Insights department Topic paper October 2017 https://www.visitscotland.org/binaries/content/assets/dot-org/pdf/research-papers/insights-food-and-drink-2017.pdf
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