Scottish Food and Drink celebrates innovation at parliament reception

David Thomson, CEO of SFDF

Over 100 people gathered at the Scottish Food and Drink Federation’s (SFDF) reception at the Scottish Parliament last night to celebrate the thriving food and drink manufacturing industry.

The event, held during Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, was sponsored by John Scott MSP and highlighted the innovative ways food and drink companies are finding to grow their businesses.

Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, delivered the keynote speech to an audience of politicians, food and drink companies, academia and partners from across the food chain. He highlighted the importance of this vital industry to the economy and Scotland’s people - between 2008 and 2014, Scotland’s food manufacturing sector turnover increased by 43%, which is more than twice the rate of the UK average. Mr Ewing emphasised that this is testament to the hard working and talented individuals that make up the industry.

The Cabinet Secretary made it clear that in order to have a flourishing business environment in Scotland there should be no unnecessary regulations or burdens inflicted upon companies. He called on businesses to get in touch if they feel there are any proposals or practices in place that are overly onerous, time consuming and unnecessary.

James Macsween, Managing Director, Macsween of Edinburgh, who talked about Macsween’s innovative product development, said:

“We are on a mission to make Macsween products more versatile. Through innovative packaging which facilitates easier cooking or by putting our award winning recipes into other meal solutions like sausage and burger. Haggis, it's not just about neeps and tatties.”

In the ‘marketplace’ SFDF members showcased examples of how their businesses have innovated and the benefits gained as a result. This included3 Ivan Wood & Sons, a wholesale merchant and processor of fruit and vegetables based in Fife, who have found innovative ways to become more sustainable and save money at the same time; and iconic Scottish brand Tunnock’s who have announced an expansion of their Uddingston factory in Lanarkshire to increase production to meet increased worldwide demand for their products.

Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, said:

“I was delighted to join SFDF to celebrate the breadth of innovation in the Scottish food and drink manufacturing sector. Innovation is vital to the continued growth to a sector which plays an increasingly significant role in our national economy. I want to do all I can in my Cabinet Secretary role to support the creation of conditions which enable all aspects of the rural economy to flourish and grow. Food and drink manufacturing is, of course, a core part of that and will continue to be a key priority for the Scottish Government.”

David Thomson, CEO of SFDF, said:

“We are delighted that the Scottish Government continues to recognise the importance of the food and drink manufacturing to Scotland.

“I welcome Mr Ewing’s commitment to these economically vital companies. We will continue to work with Scottish Government to ensure food and drink manufacturers have the best business environment possible to continue to grow successfully into the future.”