FOOD and drink suppliers received a boost yesterday after convenience store chain Scotmid unveiled plans to sell more Scottish brands in its shops.
The Edinburgh-based group has signed a deal with wholesaler Fife Creamery to increase the number of products on its shelves from brands including Highland Fine Cheeses, Stoats porridge oats and Swords Soups.
Connage Highland Dairy, Mackie’s LoSalt Crisps and Indian cuisine maker PK Foods will also feature in Scotmid aisles for the first time.
Fife Creamery has already created 12 jobs across its administration, deliveries and tele-sales departments following the deal.
Scotmid’s push to bring more Scottish brands into its shops is being driven by Stephen Brown, its bakery and local sourcing manager, who held a similar role with Kinross-based convenience store chain David Sands, which was taken over by The Co-operative Group last year.
Brown said: “We see a clear gap in the convenience market for premium-quality products made right here in Scotland. These products have an amazing story behind them and have been created by hard-working producers who are extremely passionate and committed.
“Our flexible distribution network means we can be selective … introducing new products in just a handful of stores in specific parts of the country.”
Scotmid is already rolling out in-store bakery counters, which will be run by chains including Ashers of Nairn, Goodfellow & Steven of Dundee and Stephens of Dunfermline.
Colin McLean, chief operating officer at Scotmid, said: “We want to be known as the convenience store that offers more Scottish products than any other. Consumer interest in the provenance of the food is at an all-time high.”
McLean added that the wholesaler would be able to supply “specific geographical locations with certain brands”.
Fife Creamery, which was launched in 1957 and now turns over £22 million a year, specialises in chilled foods. It recently invested £2m to upgrade its distribution depot at Kirkcaldy.
Steve Appolinari, the creamery’s sales and marketing director, said: “This is one of the most forward-thinking collaborations the convenience sector in Scotland has ever seen – it’s really bringing innovative food and drink manufacturers to life and helping them gain exposure for their brands that they might not otherwise achieve.”
Scotmid’s move echoes recent supply contracts with the big supermarket chains, with Asda last week hailing a £7m sales boost 34 Scottish food producers through its “supplier development academy”.
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead last month hailed the success of the “Food & Drink Hub” in Cumbernauld, which in its first 18 months in business has been used by more than 90 firms to distribute more than £2m of produce in the UK. The hub is now also working with Dobbies Garden Centres’ food halls to stock products.