Scottish Food Champions
24 May 2012 02:38 PM
Scottish tourism businesses – from B&Bs to visitor attractions – are to be signed up as Scottish Food Champions.
The Scottish Food Champions initiative, announced today by Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead, will recognise businesses which offer quality, fresh seasonal produce as well as promoting where their food comes from.
The scheme is a joint venture between the Scottish Government and VisitScotland and will cover hotels, B&Bs, food outlets and visitor attractions and will assess 2,500 businesses over the next three years, with the ambition of getting at least 1,000 signed up by 2015.
In a speech at tonight’s Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards, Mr Lochhead will say that the accreditation scheme will celebrate achievements, drive up standards and increase awareness of the provenance of food.
Mr Lochhead said:
“Scotland is home to some of the world’s finest food and it’s vital that we showcase the best of what we have to offer to our visitors – from overseas and closer to home. This is particularly true in the run up to the next year of Homecoming and the Commonwealth Games in 2014, and I urge every business to get involved.
“The exciting new Scottish food initiative will build on our burgeoning reputation as a land of food and drink by adding on the key elements of seasonality and provenance to VisitScotland’s existing assessments. It will encourage tourism businesses across the country to use fresh seasonal produce, showcasing our nation’s magnificent produce to visitors from home and abroad.
“Scotland’s food sector is one of our greatest success stories. And as we prepare for the eyes of the world to be firmly focussed on Scotland, now is the time for all businesses to aspire to the standards of the best. As Scottish Food Champions they will champion fresh seasonal produce, spreading the word about what Scotland has to offer.”
Riddell Graham, Director of Partnerships at VisitScotland, said:
“As Scotland prepares to welcome the world in the run up to Homecoming 2014 and as we embrace all the opportunities that the Winning Years afford, Scotland needs to be as ‘polished’ as it can be. That’s why quality is more important than ever and our Quality Assurance scheme, which will encompass Scottish Food Champions, is helping make sure Scottish tourism businesses are best placed to shine in the international spotlight and not only meet, but exceed, the expectations of millions of visitors from all over the world.”
James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food and Drink, said:
"When visitors come to Scotland, they expect and deserve to enjoy the very best food and drink. And that's exactly what we want to be able to offer them. Food and drink businesses which understand the importance of serving up the very best local, seasonal produce, deserve to be showcased and will form the bedrock of a tourism industry that will help us to develop our international reputation as A Land of Food and Drink."
Beppo Buchanan-Smith, who runs the Isle of Eriska Hotel, and chairs VisitScotland’s Quality Advisory Committee with responsibility for food and drink, said:
“The promotion and use of fresh food in season has long been a cornerstone of what we do at Eriska, something that has been helped greatly by the improved quality and range of fresh local produce now available through Scottish suppliers. So I am delighted to support the ambitions of this exciting project, aimed at ensuring that this great message is spread to the widest possible audience.”
A steering group is being established to take forward the project, set the criteria and the scheme is expected to be operational within six months.
Scottish Food Champions will be incorporated into the existing VisitScotland Quality Assurance schemes for serviced accommodation (hotels and B&Bs); stand alone food outlets and visitor attractions, including tourist shops. Businesses that meet the set criteria, they will be awarded a Scottish Food Champions symbol for display and use on promotional materials.
Scotland Food and Drink