New Year boost for Scottish food and drink – and possibly pigmeat

Scots producers are gearing up for the launch of Scotland’s 2015 Year of Food and Drink, with the enthusiastic backing of the country’s food and farm minister, Richard Lochhead, and with the potential of a growth in market share for home-sourced pigmeat products.

“Our Year of Food and Drink 2015 is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our nation’s outstanding produce,” said Mr Lochhead (pictured), who has written to the companies behind the country’s airports, railway stations and ports, urging them to “do more” to showcase the nation’s food and drink, as a first point of contact with visitors to Scotland.

Both of Scotland’s rail franchises, ScotRail and Caledonian Sleeper, have already committed to using locally sourced produce from April 2015 and Mr Lochhead is putting pressure on other operators to follow their “good example”.

“A staggering 120m people pass through Scottish ports, stations and airports every year,” he said. “That’s 120m opportunities to showcase our food and drink to overseas visitors and local consumers alike.”

The minister was speaking during a visit to a Tesco store in Edinburgh which is “kicking off 2015 by promoting iconic Scottish products in 200 Scottish stores”.

For Scottish pig producers, the involvement of Tesco in the year of food launch, will inevitably focus attention to the supermarket’s willingness to stock an increased percentage of home-produced pigmeat products in 2015.  According to the most recent Porkwatch rating, covering November 2014, Tesco’s pork range was 69% British-sourced, with bacon on 45%, ham on 57% and sausages on 78%.

Tesco’s head of local sourcing, Sarah Mackie, commenting on the overall year of food message, said: “We are committed to bringing our customers the very best of Scottish food and drink. With more than 180 suppliers from all across Scotland, we are pleased to have a longstanding commitment to sourcing and selling Scottish produce.

“We are delighted that through our Hogmanay event we can help raise awareness of the Year of Food and Drink and we look forward to continuing to champion the fantastic variety of products that are grown and produced across Scotland and available in Tesco stores in Scotland and beyond.”

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