SWA brings wholesalers and local producers together at cross-sector event

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The SWA were one the organisers of a recent cross-sector event between Scottish wholesalers and food and drink producers to help build stronger relationships between the sectors.

The event, which is part of the ‘Delivering Growth Through Wholesale’ programme facilitated by the Scottish Wholesale Association, Scotland Food & Drink, and Scottish Agricultural Society Scotland (SAOS) saw over 50 suppliers meet with over 30 wholesale buyers to showcase their products and spark new business opportunities.

Wholesalers from across Scotland, including regional SMEs to large nationals, from foodservice to retail met with brands including Blackthorn Salt, Duncan Farms and Lussa Gin in person at Dunblane Hydro last week for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

The Delivering Growth Through Wholesale programme is an ambitious programme designed to provide businesses with the tools and information they need to help them maximise opportunities within the wholesale industry which is currently worth £1.7 billion (GVA) to the Scottish economy and increase the amount of local sourcing amongst Scottish Wholesalers.

The programme is being delivered through the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Recovery Plan which is supported by Scottish Government.

Read more: UWS and Filshill the big winners as SWA awards return after two years

Colin Smith, chief executive at the Scottish Wholesale Association, said: “We have developed this programme with our partners to strengthen engagement with wholesalers and local producers and help them access new markets. Driving more Scottish products into the 5,000 convenience stores and 30,000 hospitality, tourism and leisure venues that our members supply.

“This Meet The Wholesaler event has been the peak of the programme after a series of workshops designed to educate our wholesalers and suppliers on how to work more collaboratively together, by providing them with practical tips, solutions and support. We are delighted by the positive feedback received for the programme and event and look forward to building on this success in the future.”

In a follow-up survey of the event, all respondents saw benefit in attending with the vast majority seeing it as “extremely useful”. Nearly 50% of the respondents made at least five new business contacts for driving their business forward, while 12% made nine, or more, potential new listing opportunities.

John Davidson, deputy chief executive and strategy director at Scotland Food & Drink, added: “Scotland has a fantastic reputation for producing quality products by amazing people and, so it’s great to work with the Scottish Wholesale Association and SAOS to create more routes to market.

“It’s a critical time for both wholesalers and suppliers, so this is when we need to be working together to identify and create opportunities to help grow the industry. We envisage that this event will be the catalyst for further programmes that will build future engagement and business opportunities.

Currently, Scotland Food & Drink is working towards Ambition 2030, which aims to double the size of the food and drink industry in Scotland to £30 billion in turnover by 2030.

– Food & drink is one of the largest industry sectors in Scotland, with a £14.0 billion turnover (an increase of 36% since 2007) and employing 119,000 people.

– Overseas food and drink exports from Scotland are worth £6 billion, a rise of £570 million (11%) compared to 2016 and up £2.5 billion (70%) from 2007.
Retail sales of Scottish food and drink brands across the UK are almost £2bn, over £500m more than in 2007.

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Paul Hill is the Editor of Better Wholesaling. He can be found on Twitter at @BW_PaulHill, or contacted via paul.hill@newtrade.co.uk and 07960935659.

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