The benefits of providing a quality Scottish food and drink offer

For many visitors, culinary tourism is an integral part of their travel experience. In Scotland, there is an increasing demand for visitors to sample local, distinctive food and to taste traditional cooking.

Visitors to Scotland are willing to pay more for Scottish dishes. By opting for authentic, regional produce, tourism businesses can increase profits and enhance their profile – simply by clearly communicating where the food has come from. 

The average increase in takings can be anywhere between three per cent and 15 per cent, potentially higher.

Businesses can share what exists on their doorstep, while providing a unique experience and adding value to their service. 2010 is year to get on board, as the government and industries work together to build Scotland’s reputation as ‘The Land of Food and Drink’. 

This profile is helping businesses to deliver the best of Scottish produce to 16 million visitors every year. 

Big picture

Over 20p out of every £1 that visitors spend in Scotland is on food and drink; an annual spend of £800 million.

For one in five visitors, having something Scottish to eat or drink is key to having a fabulous visitor experience.

Key trends

High-performing businesses are putting a strong emphasis on food quality, including fresh, home-made produce. They know that they can directly improve their bottom line by understanding and delivering what visitors want.

Some of the many benefits to a business of promoting Scottish food and drink include:

  • enhancing the visitor experience
  • boosting their own reputation
  • encouraging visitors to return
  • increasing their overall sales.

Things you should know

By emphasising the 'Scottishness' of a business’ identity -  that business could gain up to 90p in extra sales per visitor; additional sales of £94 million across all Scottish businesses.

Scottish food producers and suppliers are rated ‘better’ than suppliers from elsewhere for quality (52 per cent), customer service (45 per cent) and cost (37 per cent).

What visitors want

Consumers prefer to buy food with local provenance (sold with an explicit reference to where it comes from). The perception is that local food ‘with a story behind it’ is of better quality, so it can be sold at a premium.

Local consumers also want fresh, quality food, but they also want to support local producers. By sourcing local produce, a business can help to economically benefit the whole local area as well as playing their part in driving sustainable practices.

Opportunities for businesses

Of the 400 people surveyed visiting a number of venues across Scotland, such as visitor attractions, conference venues and sporting venues -  just under half, purchased food or drink regardless of the reason of the visit. This indicates the importance of our food and drink offerings and also the great potential for growth.

It is good sustainable practice to source raw ingredients from local suppliers. Consumers increasingly prefer to buy from businesses who demonstrate that they adopt sustainable practices.

If you remember one thing

When it’s done well, Scotland’s authentic food and drink is recognised as world class. Businesses can capitalise on this. Quality and value in a culinary experience will always be a key influencer, but 'Scottishness' can add significant additional value after those expectations are met.

  • Source - ‘Experiencing Scotland: Supplying a Quality Scottish Food and Drink Offer’ by IBP Strategy and Research for Scottish Enterprise, Sept 2009