Sutherland Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Market Development Scheme Worth 9.2 Million In Food And Drink Sales

20th May 2007

Highlands and Islands food and drink producers have attributed 9.2 million of new sales to events and exhibitions organised by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), through its UK Market Development programme.

A recent evaluation of the programme commissioned by HIE has demonstrated that bringing together food and drink producers and buyers is an effective way for speciality companies in the Highlands and Islands to do business.

The programme's tailored range of events gives companies the opportunity to meet with buyers from key customers at informal business meetings, events and exhibitions.

Companies get an opportunity to see what type of products the buyer is looking for, gaining a better understanding of the business they are targeting. In some cases an event can even help a company decide not to pursue the lead if they don't fit the buyer's profile.

The evaluation confirmed that orders secured by participating companies were forecast to generate additional sales of up to 9.2 million over the next four years.

Ninety-five per cent of the businesses interviewed felt that participating in the programme was beneficial in other ways, such as networking with other businesses and learning more about the target business.

Ross Higgs of Orkney Food Company said: "The learning journey organised by HIE gave us good insight into Dobbies' and Waitrose's operations. Although we currently trade with both these companies, being able to understand the business first hand has been a great asset. We can now drive our business to meet their requirements and also ensure that we support their business strategy".

The advantage of networking was also highlighted by a number of respondents, particularly smaller, rural and island based food and drink businesses. Jill Clark of Connage Dairy in Ardersier, World Cheese Awards Gold Winner 2007, said: "As a young business, we are now at the stage where we are ready to develop new markets. Going to the buyer briefing with Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh, gave us a great chance to gain insight into what that company was looking for in terms of its suppliers. It allowed us to meet up with like-minded businesses, at different stages of growth, and we now feel more confident to approach key buyers. The networking opportunity was excellent."

Mark Georgeson, HIE's senior food and drink development manager said: "It's fantastic to see such positive outcomes from the programme. The range of marketing opportunities includes meet the buyer events, producer showcases and learning journeys, but most importantly the programme helps small businesses get access to buyers who they would otherwise struggle to meet.

"Businesses taking part in the programme see real benefit in these events, but also in meeting small businesses in similar positions to themselves. As working relationships develop over time, each inspires confidence in the other.

"By participating under the Scottish Food and Drink banner, trade exhibitions provide a great platform for a strong regional identity which is attractive to the buyers. The collective approach is also very attractive to these buyers who are looking to maximise the great marketing potential of the region in their outlets.

"The Highlands and Islands tell a tremendous story and, more significantly, we can back that up with the production of high quality products which are in tune with the environment".

To see the full report click on


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Contract Awarded To Design Sutherland Spaceport
Architects have been appointed to design the spaceport that is being developed to launch small satellites from the Highlands.   Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is leading the £17.5m Space Hub Sutherland project, including a £2.5m grant from the UK Space Agency (UKSA).  
Dornoch Brothers Raise a Glass to New Micro DistilleryThumbnail for article : Dornoch Brothers Raise a Glass to New Micro Distillery
Two brothers are celebrating as the first spirit at their new micro distillery in Dornoch began to flow this month.   Phil and Simon Thompson's dream of opening their own distillery has become a reality as the Dornoch Distillery opened for business producing hand distilled gin, vodka, rum and whisky.  
Fibre broadband for Sutherland village of ArdgayThumbnail for article : Fibre broadband for Sutherland village of Ardgay
High speed fibre broadband is now available to order in Ardgay.   Fibre services are completely different to existing broadband services, and download speeds in the village will see a boost from a previous maximum of 8Mbps, to up to 76Mbps.  
Opening of community-owned sports pavilion celebrated with Shinty Sixes tournament
A new community-owned sports facility is being formally opened in Sutherland later this week.   The Scourie Sports Pavilion will be opened on Saturday 7 June by Lady Jane Grosvenor followed by the annual Far North Shinty Sixes competition.  
Events highlight benefits of Woodland CroftsThumbnail for article : Events highlight benefits of Woodland Crofts
A series of events is underway to provide information and advice to anyone interested in woodland crofts.  The Scottish Crofting Federation, the Community Woodlands Association and the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust have joined forces to form the Woodland Crofts Partnership.  
Calling All Entrepreneurs - Win a Two Day Trip To An Event In Glasgow
Is your business a winner? Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is offering a two-day trip worth 1,000 to a high-profile event in Glasgow for Scotland's leading entrepreneurs.   If your business is based within the HIE geographical area, you've got at least one ready-for-market product or service and are actively seeking ways to expand your sales base beyond local boundaries, you are eligible to win a maximum of two delegate places at this prestigious event taking place on Friday 5th - Saturday 6th October 2007.  
Replica of Helmsdale Memorial 'The Emigrants' Heading For CanadaThumbnail for article : Replica of Helmsdale Memorial 'The Emigrants' Heading For Canada
A replica of the 30 foot bronze statue commemorating the Highland Clearances is being cast and shipped to the Canadian City of Winnipeg.   'The Emigrants' memorial in the Sutherland town of Helmsdale was originally cast by Highland foundry Black Isle Bronze in 2003.  
Challenge gives pupils taste for careers in food industry
Dornoch Academy pupils have been given a taste of running their own business over the past few weeks, by creating a new ice cream.   The pupils have been working with Harry Gow and Highland Fine Cheeses on a Food and Drink School's Challenge, which culminates in a final event on Saturday 15 March for 12 S3 pupils from the school.  
New Apprenticeship For Local Food Growers - A Great Opportunity
Highlands and Islands Local Food Network (HILFN) is to set up a food apprenticeship to train a new generation of food growers in the area - the first course of its kind in Scotland.   More and more consumers in the Highlands and Islands are choosing to eat healthily and shop locally which is leading to a shortage of locally grown fruit and vegetables in many parts of the north.  
A team of 6th year pupils at Golspie High School will find out later this week if they've made the grade as a one-off enterprise programme concludes in a series of business presentations by them.   The programme held over three, one-day workshops which started in September was designed by Dornoch-based management consultant Iain Fraser to expose the senior pupils to theories, processes and checklists in new product generation, strategic business thinking, marketing and entrepreneurship.