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Food and drink

The food of love

Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink kicks off with lots of ways to help you connect with visitors interested in quality local produce

Date : 27/01/2015

Back after a successful first year, the Year of Food and Drink Scotland 2015 is a Scottish Government initiative led in partnership by EventScotland, VisitScotland and Scotland Food & Drink which aims to encourage tourism revenue through food and drink. Monthly themes aim to help the industry take advantage of the year’s focus on food – appropriately, February’s is The Food of Love.

What’s on the menu?

Whether you’re a producer, retailer, caterer or wholesaler, take advantage of 2015’s focus on Scotland’s larder and help make it a sought-after culinary destination.

Be inspired by Scottish chef Andrew Fairlie’s thoughts on how Scotland can use food and drink to attract visitors during Scottish Tourism Week. 
Early March also offers the opportunity to attend Scotland Food & Drink’s Annual General Meeting and Conference, where an excellent line-up of speakers will offer insight on the issues facing the industry.

If you want to hold your own event, perhaps around one of the monthly themes, funding and resources are also available:

  • If you want to get involved in promoting the Year of Food and Drink make use of the resources in the Year of Food and Drink 2015 Toolkit such as logos, digital banners, itineraries, new food and drink images and tips and inspiration to help you make the most of the year.

  • It’s not too late for groups of tourism businesses to receive funding towards marketing projects in line with the year’s objects through the VisitScotland Growth Fund. The deadline for initial expressions of interest is 20 February 2015. 

  • Share VisitScotland’s free e-books with customers to encourage them to engage with Scotland’s food and drink scene, or even to plan your own event. With January’s ‘Hold your own Burns Supper’ publication proving a hit, more themed e-books are to follow soon.

Showcase Scottish produce

If you’re thinking about planning a Valentine, spring or summer menu, it’s worth noting that 2009 research by Scottish Enterprise found that visitors are willing to pay up to 15% more for food that they know is of Scottish or regional origin.

The study also found that businesses and events providing local food enhance the visitor experience and typically enjoy higher levels of sales - on average 20% more per year. You’re probably already using some of the fantastic Scottish produce on offer, but it’s definitely worth shouting about.

Scotland Food and Drink offer a wide range of helpful resources, including a food map and seasonality calendar to highlight what’s in season and where to source Scottish produce.

If that’s not enough of an incentive, the food and drink Quality Assurance scheme Taste Our Best also recognises businesses that provide and promote quality Scottish Produce.

Food and Drink Excellence Awards 

Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards has been rewarding quality and innovation in the food and drink sector since 2007. The Awards Ceremony will take place on 27th May.  The deadline for applications is 27th February. Visit the Scotland Food and Drink website for details on the 18 different categories and entry criteria.

Further reading

The Year of Food and Drink

Year of Food and Drink Toolkit
Food and Drink Growth Fund
Taste Our Best Accreditation
Tourism Intelligence Guide to Food and Drink
Scotland Food and Drink

Follow VisitScotland on Twitter, and use the hashtag #TasteScotland to join in the conversation.