In conversation with Steve Mclean, Head of Agriculture, Marks & Spencer 

Steve Mclean, Head of Agriculture, Marks & Spencer 

Could you explain your role in more detail to us?

I lead a team of industry specialists with responsibility for our farming and fisheries sourcing standards at M&S Food. In addition, I head up the Technical Function covering our abattoir and primary processing supplier sites.  Overall my job is ensuring food safety and product integrity so our customers can trust everything they buy at M&S Food.


How do M&S support local producers?

As one of the most trusted brands on the high street, we believe it is essential to be a fair partner. That covers the prices we pay to suppliers and producers of raw materials as well as the support we provide to communities where we trade. It also includes our responsibilities to ensure good working conditions throughout our supply chains and to source our products with integrity.

Our reputation for quality, innovation and sustainability is built on excellent long-term relationships with our suppliers. In Scotland, we work with over 40 suppliers who in turn work in partnership with over 4,500 Scottish Select Farms and producers. Some of those relationships span the six decades. Scottish beef and lamb, salmon, trout, crab, haddock and milk, as well as premium quality fruit and vegetables take pride of place in M&S stores across Scotland and the rest of the UK.


Why do you think it is important to have a wide range of local products available for customers in store?

We are known for quality and innovation – that means listening to customers and anticipating new trends. While we want to ensure people can rely on M&S to stock their favourites, we also always want to continue to bring the magic and that means new products. For instance - we know our Scottish customers are passionate about local products, so we recently introduced products sold only in Scotland such as Beef Olives, Lorne Sausage, Scottish Steak Sausages and a Breakfast Pack. We also stock Scottish family favourite brands like Mackies Ice Cream, Mothers Pride Scottish Plain Loaf, Tunnock’s Tea Cakes and Irn Bru.

Have you received any positive feedback from ensuring you have a wide selection of Scottish products on your shelves?

Yes, we have a very loyal customer base in Scotland and receive lots of feedback, not just on what we’re doing well but also on other choices our customers in Scotland would like to see us offer.


What initiatives do M&S run to support the food farming and rural communities?

We developed our M&S Select Farm ‘Farming for the Future programme’ to help farmers meet our M&S Select Farm Sourcing Standards and address the challenges, identify opportunities for improvement and create a sustainable supply chain that can continue to deliver quality and innovation for the long term. We recognise that we need to work in partnership with our farmers and growers to be their customer of choice and to develop innovative supply chain relationships that secure the high-quality raw materials to continue delivering our customers the quality food offer they expect.

Working in partnership to support vulnerable farming communities is important to us and we continually look at opportunities to provide positive impact in this area.


Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about?

We’re always open to exploring new products and industry innovation. We strive to be different from other retailers so our door is always open to new ideas, new products and improving what we already offer.

In conversation with Aldi

Why is it so important to you that you source Scottish produce?

Scotland is widely renowned for producing some of the finest quality products in the world.  From Aberdeen Angus Scotch Beef to Scottish Smoked Salmon, there are a wide range of Scottish delicacies which we would be doing an injustice to our Scottish customers if we did not offer at everyday amazing value.

We have made a long term commitment to deliver the best of Scottish food and drink to our customers and support the industry.  As a responsible retailer, reducing food miles and supporting the local economy are essential in ensuring we are building a sustainable business.

When the decision was made to create a dedicated Scottish Buying team ten years ago, based in Scotland, to increase the number of Scottish products available to our customers, it was made with the clear strategy that buying Scottish products would not cost the customer any more than buying the same non Scottish product, and this has never been compromised.  The numerous awards that our Scottish range has achieved are testament to the quality of our range, which we couldn’t achieve without our excellent local suppliers.  Our commitment to delivering the best of Scottish produce at everyday amazing value has taken us on a journey over the past ten years; one which over 90 suppliers have now joined us on.  Sourcing Scottish produce is so important to us that we have invested significant time, resource and energy into ensuring that we can deliver on our promises.


Have you received any feedback (positive/negative) from increasingly sourcing Scottish?

Provenance within fresh areas is hugely important to Scottish consumers, we know this through market research and from our customers telling us this.

Over the past five years retail sales of Scottish sourced products have increased by +87% and our Scottish sourced line numbers have increased by +16% since 2016.  People want to know where their food is coming from and have a desire to reduce food miles and support local produce.

Our growth across the year was driven by strong sales of our Scottish ranges underlining the appetite there is from our Scottish consumers to buy local produce. This included record sales of more than 7.8 million individual potato scones, and sales of Scottish milk also reached a record high totalling 28 million litres, enough to fill 11 Olympic swimming pools.

The feedback from both suppliers and consumers is that they are delighted to see our Scottish product range increase and have demonstrated this through their shopping habits.

Aldi is now the sixth largest supermarket in Scotland with a 6.9 percent share of the Scottish grocery market, and in the last year we have attracted more new customers than anyone else, with over 59,000 Scottish shoppers choosing to switch to Aldi (Kantar Data, 52 weeks up to w/e 21 April 2019).


What does it mean to you to have won the Scottish Sourcing award at the Excellence Awards 2019?

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Aldi opening its first store in Scotland and 10 years since the creation of its dedicated Scottish Buying department so it is a very significant year for us.  To be awarded the Scottish Sourcing award is the icing on the cake during our milestone year.

We’re extremely proud to have won the Scottish Sourcing Award this year. Provenance, traceability and sustainability are incredibly important to us at Aldi and we work tirelessly to ensure our stores stock the highest quality, locally sourced produce.

Our success is a testament to the great work delivered by our team here in Scotland to build long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships with our Scottish suppliers which has enabled us to continue to grow our Scottish line numbers and our customer base in Scotland.  For this to have been recognised and rewarded is fantastic.


What are the growth plans for you in the following year?

We currently stock a core range which includes over 400 Scottish sourced products from over 90 suppliers and aim to increase this number to over 450 by the end of 2020.  In addition to this we will continue to grow our Scottish sourced seasonal lines and Specialbuy products throughout the year.

Customers can expect to see the in store Scottish range offering increase, while suppliers can take confidence from our commitment to continued growth in Scotland and building long standing supplier relationships.

Since 2014 our store numbers have increased by +50%.  This year we have already opened five new stores, with a further two scheduled to be opened by the end of the year taking our total number of stores in Scotland to 91.  This level of growth is set to continue for years to come.

The current development of our new 196,000 square foot Chiller and Freezer facility at our regional distribution centre in Bathgate is testament to this commitment.  Due for completion in Spring 2020, this expansion will create 200 jobs and allow for further expansion of our Scottish fresh range.


How are you celebrating this Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight?

We will be celebrating our Scottish-sourced products throughout Scottish Food & Drink fortnight, with a focus on our award winners.  In particular, we will be highlighting our premium Scottish Specially Selected ranges, from our Specially Selected Belgian Chocolate Brownies supplied by Cobbs Bakery in Inverness to our Specially Selected Luxury Steak Pies from Brownings the Baker in Kilmarnock.  We will be celebrating our ongoing commitment to Scottish food and drink and the supply base.

We will be celebrating and sharing our quality and sourcing credentials in our Specialbuy leaflet, across our social media channels, regional press and with a bespoke radio advert.


A chat with a supplier

McQueens, a gin distiller based in the Trossachs provides an ideal example of a successful supplier partnership.  We engaged with Dale and Vicky in June 2018 when we approached them to make a colour changing gin for our spirits range.  Within 4 months this product was on our shelves and was creating a media frenzy all over the UK with the opportunity to see (OTS) for this gin alone reaching over 10 million, a phenomenal result.  This led to the colour changing gin being rolled out across all our English and Welsh stores as a special buy (43,000 bottles) and now as a UK wide summer seasonal alongside Pink Gin, and resulted in Aldi paying McQueens £1.5m within our first 14 months of trading.  We have also supported their brand by running a national special on their Sweet Citrus Gin in the national Gin Festival. This successful partnership has assisted McQueens to extend their distillery to cope with additional demand and new gin products are already being investigated to grow this partnership further.  In addition to this partnership greatly benefitting McQueens and their growth plans, it has delivered sales of over £2m which shows a clear benefit for Aldi also.

Inverclyde MSP adds Italian flavour to Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight

For Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight 2019, Stuart McMillan MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde visited Tonino’s to see how the local Italian restaurant is creating delicious Scottish-Italian fusion food for customers to enjoy.

Tonino’s have won several awards since opening in 2016, including ‘best pizzeria’ at the 2018 Scottish Italian Awards and ‘best food and drink’ at the Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce Bees Knees awards 2019, and have been so popular with customers that owner Tony Bonatti decided to convert the restaurant’s upstairs space into an additional seating area.

The refurbished area will bring further seating for weekend dining, private functions, kids’ parties, pizza classes, and wine tasting.

As well as offering high quality, authentic Italian dishes, Tonino’s has a delicatessen counter so that customers can purchase Italian produce to make their own Scottish-Italian fusion food at home.

As part of the visit, Stuart saw how the refurbishment works are coming along and made an ItaloScozzesse pizza, which features Italian sausage and black pudding.

Commenting, Stuart said:

“Today’s visit to Tonino’s as part of Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight was a real treat – the food is always great and the staff are friendly and welcoming.


“With my office being right next door to the restaurant, I’ve seen first-hand how popular Tonino’s has become since opening three years ago. It is great news for the business, the local economy and ultimately the customers that more seating space has been created upstairs to accommodate this growth.


“Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight is all about highlighting the ambitious producers and restauranteurs across Scotland who provide consumers with tasty food and drink all year round. Tonino’s is an example of how European cuisines can team up with Scottish products to create beautiful dishes that everyone can enjoy.”


Tony added:

“It was great to have Stuart visit us today and show him how our refurbishment plans are coming along. I’ve loved watching Tonino’s grow, but we hate turning diners away, which is why our new mezzanine will allow seating for a further 12-14 people at peak times.


“As much as we sell ourselves on providing authentic Italian food, we regularly use Scottish produce like haggis and black pudding to add that Scottish flavour to our dishes.


“We look forward to seeing the business continue to go from strength to strength, and are grateful to our loyal customers who have supported us from day one.”

Soup workshop whets appetite for local food festival

The countdown to this year’s Deeside Local Food Festival has been kick-started with a soup-making workshop. Festival organisers, The Mixing Bowl, hosted the workshop for two of their charity partners – Inspire and Charlie House - on Saturday 17th August.

A group of participants from both local charities learned how to prepare four different kinds of soup, before sampling their culinary creations.

The budding chefs whipped up delicious bowls of soup with a decidedly international flavour: minestrone, Greek lemon chicken with orzo, smoked sausage and white bean with vegetables, and cheesy corn chowder.

The workshop was held at Inspire’s HQ on Beach Boulevard, Aberdeen. The charity provides a range of services for people with learning disabilities and additional support needs across the North-east. A number of people supported by Inspire and their staff took part.

Charlie House is the Deeside Local Food Festival’s main charity partner this year, and will be holding a fundraising stall at the festival, as well as running a hand-bikes activity for both disabled and able-bodied riders. The local charity supports babies, children and young people with complex disabilities and life-limiting conditions in the North-East. Several siblings of children supported by Charlie House, accompanied by their parents and carers, enjoyed the afternoon of foodie fun.

Festival organiser, Rachel Gambro, explains how the workshop came about: “Collaboration and community involvement are themes which run through the very core of the Deeside Local Food Festival. We have always worked closely with local charities and community groups, giving them opportunities to raise awareness, and much-needed funds, as an integral part of the festival. This year, however, we embraced the idea of collaborating with our charity partners, not just on the day, but also in the run-up.

“Our soup-makers were wonderful – full of enthusiasm and passion for good food. Their soups were absolutely delicious too, and we thank them all for making the day such a success. We look forward to welcoming them back to the festival on Sunday 15th September.”

Leigh Ryrie of Charlie House said: “We were delighted to be involved in the soup workshop. This was an opportunity to work alongside another charity whilst educating and giving key life skills to children of the families we support. Charlie House look forward to attending the Deeside Local Food Festival and letting people know more about our current services, Big Build Appeal and support available in the North-east.”

Andrew Reid of Inspire added: “The people we support love to get involved in any new activity but those that involve food are always particularly well-received and they had great fun making – and of course trying – all of the different soups. We are really looking forward to the Food Festival next month. A number of the people we support have attended before and really enjoyed it and I am sure this year will be no different.”

On Sunday 15th September, the Deeside Local Food Festival, will return for its fifth successive year. Taking place on the last day of Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, the Festival will feature a staggering 74 food and drink businesses, 92% of whom hail from Aberdeen City and Shire. This year the festival will take place at Cults Academy, Quarry Road, Cults.  At the heart of the event will be an expanded local produce market, where over 50 stalls will showcase and sell locally produced food and drink.

As well as the local produce market, there will also be an array of workshops, demonstrations with local chefs, talks and tastings running throughout the action-packed day. Their taste-buds suitably tingling, visitors will have a variety of options for lunch in a street café, whilst listening to live music from local artists.

Children will be well catered-for, with a number of activities lined up just for them, including food related games, activities, crafts and quizzes, as well as hands-on cookery workshops.

To find out more visit:

Food Tourism on Farms

Food Tourism on Farms

by Caroline Millar, Go Rural

There’s something about the heightened sensation of eating food right at the place of its origin. Something happens in your brain that makes the food taste so much better, once you have understood where it has come from, how it was grown or reared, met the people who have lovingly produced it and heard the story about their own unique product.

It would be hard to find a richer experience than visiting a farm, enjoying an engaging and entertaining tour, then sitting around a table either with your own family or complete strangers and eating the food or drink in the beautiful surroundings. The same can be said for going out on a boat with a fisherman, catching your dinner, then either cooking it yourself or having it cooked for you.

Farmers produce food. That’s what we do. We also do other things such as look after the countryside and care for the environment but, first and foremost, we produce food to feed the nation and tourists who come here.

Agritourism, for me, is fundamentally about food and drink.  That’s what sets us apart from the rest of our thriving rural tourism industry. The benefits are two-way. Visitors to the farm have a unique experience - no two farming families or farms are the same, no two farming stories are the same and the food and drink produced is not the same. For farmers, we get the chance to speak directly to consumers, the people we depend upon to buy our produce from supermarket shelves and in cafes and restaurants. We can do the sales and marketing job for agriculture while getting paid by people for a farm tour and tasting experience.

Farm tours, food experiences on farms – either around the kitchen table or pop- up events, farm restaurants and cafes - is the future of Scottish agritourism. The days of staying on a farm with no local food or farm experience are gone.

There are already some great examples of food tourism on farms in Scotland as well as many others I’ve discovered on my world travels. Here are just a few:


  1. Isle of Mull Cheese, Sgriob-ruadh Farm, Tobermory, Isle of Mull

Visit for the day or stay on the Isle of Mull’s only dairy farm.  Set in a beautiful location just outside the main town Tobermory, you can take a tour of the farm and watch the cows being milked, watch the cheese being made, learn about this history of the farm, then enjoy a delicious meal in the farm café. The farm produces award winning Isle of Mull Cheddar and a delicious Hebridean Blue Cheese. As well as visiting the farm for the day or to buy produce to take home, you can also stay on holiday on the farm in accommodation.


  1. Newton Farm Holidays and Tours, Forfar, Angus

The Nicol family provide traditional farmhouse hospitality in their farmhouse bed and breakfast in Angus. The bed and breakfast won ‘Most Hospitable B&B’ for the whole of Scotland in the national Thistle Awards 2018/19. Guests receive a hearty breakfast including fresh eggs they themselves can collect from the hens before being cooked. Only local Angus produce is used. The farm tours are also award- winning and open for both overnight and day guests, giving visitors an insight into life on a real working farm.

  1. Grierson Organics Farm Tours

The Grierson family provide engaging farm tour experiences on their organic farm outside Perth where they produce the highest quality Aberdeen Angus beef, lamb, pork and chicken. Committed ‘foodies’, Sascha and Hugh provide personal food experiences of a farm tour followed by a hearty meal of their own produce around the farmhouse kitchen table or in in a rustic event space on the farm. Visitors can buy farm produce to enjoy at home.


  1. Porereil Casale, Pienza, Tuscany, Italy

So far, my favourite food tourism experience on a farm, anywhere. A good few miles up a single-track road in south Tuscany you will find the most beautiful farm overlooking a UNESCO world heritage site. Sandra and Ulisse hand milk goats and sheep twice a day and produce award winning cheese, exported globally. They provide a first-class tour of the farm and cheese production area, followed by a traditional Italian lunch or dinner with everyone around one table enjoying a 5-course tasting menu of their own produce. You can also stay on the farm and enjoy cookery courses.


  1. Elmhirsts Resort, Keene, Ontario, Canada

The Elmhirst family have managed to combine running a farm with growing a large on farm tourism resort set on a stunning lake about two hours north east of Toronto.  The farm produce - beef, turkey, duck and seasonal vegetables - is produced solely for use in the farm kitchen restaurant which caters for guests staying in cabins and lodges, the business event market and weddings. Farm tours are provided either in a tractor and trailer or horse and cart. An example of a farming family, passionate about food and giving a unique farm gate to plate experience. They even have a wine cellar and provide tastings of Ontarios’s best wines.


  1. Curringa Farm, Hamilton, Tasmania, Australia

Tim and Jane Parsons’ farm tours have won several awards for their entertaining and educational insight into farming life in Australia. This farm business has scaled up to cater for the international tour market and is very experienced in delivering tours and on- farm dining to large bus groups. I haven’t come across many farmers learning new languages to deliver a first-class service to international tourists, but Tim learned Mandarin to do just that. His tour is now ready for the Chinese market, with fully translated website too. The farm produces lamb, cabbage seeds and poppies. Traditional farmhouse home baking is provided after each tour or you can enjoy a BBQ lunch with lamb from the farm and other locally sourced Tasmania produce.


Caroline Millar, Go Rural

Caroline Millar has travelled to many countries in the world researching best practice in agritourism, seeking out the best food and educational experiences on farms. With her husband Ross she runs the family farm in south Angus, and a 5- star tourism business on the farm, The Hideaway Experience. The best local farmed and fished produce is sourced for guests ahead of their stay and guests can enjoy personal farm tours and picnics.

She also project manages Scottish Enterprise agritourism monitor farm programme.

Follow on twitter @CASMillar @LuxuryHideaways

Bringing food grown and made Lochaber, to the people of Lochaber

Once upon a time, local food was simply known as food. The very idea that the bulk of our diet was trucked, shipped and even flown here would have seemed unthinkable to our great grandparents.

In a strange reversal of trends, Lochaber agricultural surveys show that some crops such as cereal and potatoes have reduced by as much as 90% over the past 100 years. Much of what we eat is now imported from abroad, which used to be a rare luxury.

It’s hardly surprising that there are serious environmental consequences that have arisen from modern food production and transportation and as the climate crisis rises ever higher in importance in all our lives, local food has never been so crucial.

Lochaber Environmental Group’s ‘Food Lochaber’ initiative, which received support via the Connect Local Regional Food Fund, aims to stimulate the production and consumption of local food in the region by encouraging partnerships between residents, restaurants, retailers and local producers who are encouraged to employ sustainable traditional crofting practices and grow using organic principles.

Food Lochaber strives to build the economic reasoning to encourage more crofters to turn derelict croft land back into productive use.

Through the creation of a single point of sale, the collective aims to concentrate efforts and focus buyer’s attention. Channelling traffic to the group, rather than to individual enterprises, allows a clarity of message promoting regional character as well an assurance that produce displayed is offered by members who subscribe to the group’s maxim that all produce should be grown using organic principles and traditional crofting methods.

The first Food Lochaber event saw food producers and growers from across the length and breadth of Lochaber meet at the Wildcat Café in Fort William back in January to discuss what was important to them and how best to get more of their fantastic produce out to a larger audence.

One Food Lochaber member, Adam Veitch who runs a micro bakery ‘Doughies’ from his home, as well as growing produce on the croft for sale via Food Lochaber said, “Crofters supporting one another isn’t a new idea, but it’s as relevant now as it ever was”.

There have been challenges to get to where we are now having just completed our first order cycle. Using ‘open source’ software has been a learning curve, as was negotiating the large distances between communities, but we now have around 11 producer members and are hopeful that as we increase our offering and capacity we will gather momentum and build a robust, sustainable and collaborative local food market where the provenance of the produce is clear, the food miles are low and consumers develop an appreciation of what is in season.

We hope to create a small machinery ring in order to grow our capacity and to widen our appeal to food service businesses as well as build on our regional brand. If you in our neck of the woods, look out for the ‘Food Lochaber’ marque that stands for quality.

Instagram @foodlochaber


Food Lochaber

Stephen McDonach

The importance of Scottish food and drink at events

The Fortnight team talks to Kevin Blamire of Scotland’s Boat Show

Tell us about yourself and what you do

I’m Kevin Blamire, the Event Director for Scotland’s Boat Show 2019 (SBS) the largest boat show in Scotland and second- largest in the UK which attracts up to 16,000 visitors to Kip Marina, Inverclyde and, this year, runs 11th - 13th October,

We are much more than just a boat show with a Scottish food and drink pavilion, lifestyle exhibition, luxury cars, motorcycles, helicopter flights, pipe bands and a children’s entertainment area - all adding up to be a great day out for all the family in the spectacular setting of Scotland’s premier marina. It’s also free to attend!

When did local food and drink start playing a part in your event and why?

Event Scotland’s themed years programme and, in particular, Year of Food & Drink 2015 was the catalyst to add a dedicated Scottish Food and Drink Pavilion with an indoor market- style feel, giving over 20 local and regional food and drink suppliers the opportunity to reach our knowledgeable visitors with their high- quality products.

Over the years, this has developed into the West College Scotland Food and Drink Pavilion which can host over 40 exhibitors together with a cookery theatre where visitors can enjoy live food demonstrations from the chef instructors and students from West College together with demos from other exhibitors.


Tell us about some of the food and drink traders that you work with and why you love them

We are huge fans of Alba Seafood from Oban who have been with us from the start– their products are always hugely popular and owners Willie & Karen are passionate about their seafood.

J Climie Butchers from West Kilbride are great supporters of the show and there’s usually a queue for their amazing homemade pies, prime cuts of meat and wonderful black pudding – it’s one of the stalls that I make a beeline for, especially their chicken and haggis pies!

Scotland is on a mission to become a global food tourism destination – what does this mean to you and what role do events like the boat show play in this?

I think it’s important for us to be proud of our natural larder and waters as we are blessed with some of the finest in the world but have possibly been too humble to shout about it. Times have changed thankfully and, with the help of organisations like Scotland Food & Drink, I feel we are well on the way to being perceived as a food destination of quality.

I believe Scotland’s Boat Show is ideally placed to showcase high-quality food and drink products and producers to a knowledgeable and discerning demographic of visitor who travel to Inverkip from across the UK and abroad.


What would you say to any event organiser thinking about making more of a feature of locally-sourced food and drink?

To quote a famous sportswear company – just do it!

We do a lot of visitor research to determine what we are good at and what areas we can improve on and, since 2015, we have seen a significant rise in visitor numbers and satisfaction ratings as a direct result of the quality and provenance of our food and drink purveyors.

I believe visitor expectations for food and drink at events have grown over the years and, to ensure long term success for an event, you need to work with locally sourced food and drink suppliers to satisfy these expectations.


What food and drink highlights do visitors have to look forward to at this year’s show?

As well as a pavilion full of food and drink producers, outside we have a mobile food truck area serving everything from prime Isle of Bute burgers to sizzling fresh scallops.


We are delighted to announce the return of chef Nick Nairn and he’ll be showing off his skills using fresh Scottish produce in his inimitable style with the aid of the hospitality students of West College with three demonstrations in the food theatre on Sunday 13th October.


To find out more, visit

Promoting the quality of East Lothian’s shellfish

Connect Local talks to Richard Yates of Forth Marine Resource


What’s the Forth Marine Resource Marketing project all about?

It’s a marketing resource to highlight the quality of locally landed seafood in East Lothian. The project has 3 main aims: to deliver a balance between producing and marketing East Lothian Seafood as a premium quality brand; guaranteeing and creating industry employment and sustaining local fishing stocks. The initiative sets out to promote the industry through several marketing initiatives and collaborations to generate product profile through food tourism.


What difference has the Connect Local Regional Food Fund made to the project?

The Regional Food Fund has enabled us to create a marketing plan to deliver initiatives and imaging tailored to social media (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) to drive tourism traffic to East Lothian. We’ve generated some high impact themes such as ‘We’re Luvin’ the Lobster’ in North Berwick and created’ lobster’ and ‘outlet themed’ sub-brands, all of which have generated high levels of engagement and traffic.


Can you share some highlights/successes to date?

We’ve created a social media campaign that has achieved 84,000 Instagram impressions and 6300 ‘likes’ since April.  Our social media content and imaging has been driven by the launch ofLobster Lager’ (a collaboration with Edinburgh Beer Factory) and ‘Rocketeer Beer’ (a collaboration with Eyeball Brewing), and lobster and seafood- related images - under the banners of ‘North Berwick – The Home of The Lobster’  & ‘We’re Luv’in The Lobster’

Our social media work has also influenced a major European media & travel network too - see below.


Scotland aspires to becoming a global food tourism destination. What role does the project play in that?

We think our project emphasises the importance of high quality, engaging, social media to convey the quality message for Scotland’s natural resources, but also its focus on sustainability. A German TV Channel – WELT – came to film us last month as part of a 5-day trip to Scotland. They filmed at North Berwick Harbour, The Lobster Shack, and The Firth of Forth Lobster Hatchery ,purely because their researcher found us on Instagram and loved the story!  The programme will feature two 50- minute articles about Scottish food on the WELT TV Channel later in 2019. WELT is the leading TV Media Channel in Germany, and it distributes content worldwide.


What single message would you give to the public about enjoying more Scottish shellfish?

It’s worth paying a small premium to support local fishermen who operate sustainably, to ensure Scottish Shellfish is there to be enjoyed by future generations.


Follow on insta




Follow on FB




Scottish Sourcing with Dunalastair Hotel

We are delighted to participate in the Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight 2019.

Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight is an annual celebration of the best Scotland’s food and drink sector has to offer from every corner of the country; from iconic brands to innovative entrepreneurs.

Introducing our Scottish Suppliers

Taste of Arran

Taste of Arran products are all made on this one tiny island using as many natural ingredients as possible: the milk for our cheeses and ice-cream is collected daily from the island’s three small dairy farms. Our award winning products are handmade by people who care passionately about food and the wonderful environment in which they’re lucky enough to live and work. Each product captures the essence of Arran and every bite gives a taste of island life.


McGhees Family Bakers

Founded in 1936 by Douglas McGhee at the original bake house in Oran Street, Maryhill, Glasgow. The company operated and grew from this site, servicing the local shops and market with a range of freshly baked morning rolls, tea-bread & savoury products. With a reputation for top quality products, McGhee's continued to grow into the catering trade whilst continuing to service their core customers locally with fresh morning goods.

Continual investment in our people, our services and our facilities means further expansion this year, we now operate out of possibly the most modern and efficient bakery production unit in Britain.


Mull of Kintyre Mature Cheddar

Mull of Kintyre is a premium Scottish cheddar brand with a rich, distinctive flavour and heritage. Made to a long established recipe, the cheddar uses only the milk from local dairy farms. Crafted at the Campbelltown Creamery on the Kintyre Peninsula, it is produced by a dedicated and passionate team whose knowledge and years of experience make the rich and distinctive cheddar. Specialist cheese graders then hand select only the highest quality cheddar so it is matured for just the right amount of time to ensure it holds the perfect depth of flavour. The Creamery  recently won ‘Gold’ at the prestigious 2016 World Cheese Awards making it a must have for any foodservice professional.


Mrs. Tilly’s

Mrs. Tilly’s Confectionary, is a family run business committed to producing traditional Scottish confectionary of outstanding quality. Created by hand using traditional methods, our wonderful tablet, made to a secret recipe, and our fudge have deservedly earned a great reputation for its mouthwatering flavor. We only use the finest of ingredients and in keeping with the commitment to quality, all out products are free from artificial preservatives and additives.

Walkers Shortbread

Walkers Shortbread Limited is a family company founded in 1898 in the picturesque village of Aberlour, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands.  Today, Walkers Shortbread is still made by traditional methods, using the original Walker family recipe, and is guaranteed to contain no artificial flavourings, colourings or additives.

A unique combination of quality, superb packaging and innovation has established Walkers as the leading brand of Shortbread world-wide and has created a strong and increasing demand from satisfied consumers.  Walkers best known for their pure butter shortbread also produce a wide range of speciality biscuits, oatcakes and cakes.



The Vale of Strathmore is Scotland’s largest underground aquifer, and the first stage of the Strathmore journey. Every drop of its water is uniquely pure, fresh, and rich in minerals. We’re proud to share it with you.



MacPhie is the UK’s leading independent ingredients manufacturer, which has been producing premium quality food ingredients and solutions since 1928.

An international food business headquartered in Scotland, its product range is used by bakers, chefs and food manufacturers across almost every industry worldwide.

From bread and cake mixes to icings, frostings and fillings, we provide great food solutions. Like our range of ready-to-use sweet and savoury sauces and desserts, you know what you’re getting - quality, consistency and reliability.


Rowan Glen

With decades of experience making yogurt, Rowan Glen knows a thing or two about great-tasting dairy products. Renowned for our extensive range of high-quality, nutritious products, we’ve got something for all the family. Local milk and quality ingredients are the building blocks of Rowan Glen’s yogurt range, including our Low Fat natural and mixed yogurt, a shopping basket staple. Rowan Glen has dairy covered, with a local and trusted brand seal of approval.


John Ross Jr

John Ross Jr - Master Curers & Smokers Est 1857

A respect for centuries-old methods, a craft passed down from one generation to the next, and a commitment to taking our time. We’ve held these values since 1857.

Having produced superior Scottish smoked Scottish salmon in the truly traditional way for more than 160 years, John Ross Jr is now one of the last remaining smokehouses to create smoked salmon that is rich in texture and succulent in taste.

The smokehouse’s historic kilns, which have been listed by Historic Scotland for their cultural significance, are used daily to create our iconic Traditional Smoked Salmon, which is available via Bidfood Scotland in sliced sides and 454g and trim packs.



Our mission is to create an edible Seaweed industry of scale in Scotland, that is 100% sustainable, good for the coastal environment and beneficial for our local rural communities.

SHORE takes this super healthy ingredient and makes it appealing & accessible to consumers; with innovative, nutritious and tasty vegan products made with our clean & trusted source of local seaweed.

Our new SHORE Seaweed Puffs are a deliciously crunchy, umami filled savoury snack that’s packed with good for you nutrition & all for under 100 calories per bag.

Local stories from Asda

Scotty Brand celebrates £250k Asda deal 

Scotty Brand has secured a deal with Asda to stock its Chippy Chips in 30 Scottish stores, with an annual contract value of £250,000.

Chippy Chips are one of Scotty Brand’s top performing products and are made using Scottish grown potatoes – with consumers saying the chips taste just as good as the traditional takeaway kind.

With the addition of Chippy Chips, Asda now stocks 22 Scotty Brand lines. Heather Turnbull, Asda’s regional buying manager for Scotland explains,

“The new Scotty Brand Chippy Chips offer customers something new in the frozen category, which meets increasing demand for convenient meal solutions which deliver on taste and flavour.”


Heather continued,

“Our existing and diverse range of Scotty Brand products are already hugely popular with the nearly two million customers who shop at our stores every week and this new addition will no doubt become a favourite.

“We’ve worked closely with Scotty Brand for over eight years allowing us to deliver authentic, great tasting Scottish products direct to shelves for customers to enjoy, on a continuing basis.”


Richard Allison, Commercial Director, Scotty Brand, added,

“As one of the country’s fastest growing food brands we love bringing Scotland’s exceptional food to the market, we are thrilled to be working with Asda on one of our newest products and we can’t wait to hear what customers think of our Chippy Chips.”


Scotty Brand Chippy Chips are available in selected Asda stores in Scotland now.


Sweet Deal for Lees of Scotland

Lees of Scotland, the Coatbridge-based manufacturer of branded confectionery and meringues, has been awarded a major new national supply contract with Asda.

Lees has developed two new meringue shells to add to Asda’s Extra Special range of meringues. One shell is strawberry flavoured with white chocolate and the other shell is a traditional meringue with a Belgian chocolate coating. The new lines, which are available in 230 stores will take the total Asda business secured by Lees to £1million.

Founded in 1931, and famous for its macaroon bar and snowball, Lees has grown to employ around 250 local people in its 82,000 square foot factory. The company, which expanded its range extensively has been supplying Asda on a national basis for over 20 years - and developed the Extra Special Meringue Shells using the highest quality British sugar and free range eggs.


Sheevaun Thomas, NPD Project Manager, Lees of Scotland said,

“We’re delighted to expand our range under Asda’s Extra Special brand. These new flavours have been crafted by our team of experts to achieve the perfect balance between lightness and the classic crispy meringue texture. They offer an alternative flavour option to our traditional meringues and are proving exceptionally popular.”


Heather Turnbull, Asda’s regional buying manager for Scotland, added,

“At Asda we are passionate about supporting local food businesses and our customers are the same. We’ve been working with Lees for many years and are delighted to strengthen this relationship through our premium own-label range. These new flavours can only complement our Extra Special lines and demonstrate our commitment to providing customers with innovative products all year round.”


 First Supermarket Listing for Chain Pier Distillery

Edinburgh based, Chain Pier Distillery has secured a contract with Asda to produce the retailer’s Extra Special Scottish gin, which will be available in 50 stores across Scotland.

Developed exclusively for Asda, the new gin draws inspiration from the Scottish landscape and is infused with the flavours of nettle and gorse.

This is the first gin listing for Chain Pier Distillery, which is owned by long established spirits and wine producer Halewood Wines & Spirits. Trading since 1978 and Scotland’s largest independent drinks manufacturer and distributor, Halewood Wines & Spirits opened Chain Pier earlier this year, marking the first in a series of substantial investments into the Scottish artisanal sprits industry.

John Foster, National Account Manager at Halewood International, explained,

“It’s a very exciting time for craft spirits as we’re experiencing a period of sustained growth, which has allowed us to invest £50m back into the artisanal spirits business. We are extremely proud to produce Asda’s Extra Special Scottish Gin using the finest local ingredients to give Asda customers a real taste of Scotland.”

Heather Turnbull, Regional Buying Manager at Asda, added,

“We know just how much our customers value locally soured produce, so we’re delighted to be working with Chain Pier Distillery to capture traditional Scottish flavours and bring it to market as an Extra Special Gin. We’re proud to support Halewood International and its new distillery as the gin market continues to grow.”