Scotmid teams up with industry body to track down next big thing in Scottish food and drink world

Co-operative retailer Scotmid is on the hunt for the next big thing in the Scottish food and drink world as it underpins its commitment to local sourcing.

The Edinburgh-headquartered group has teamed up with industry body Scotland Food & Drink to give producers the chance to win one of five promotional listings across the convenience store operator’s Scottish sites.

The “local favourites” competition is open to all Scottish food and drink suppliers across different product categories.

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Shortlisted products will be reviewed by an “expert judging panel”, Scotmid added. The five winning products will be rewarded with a promotional slot for a three-week period during 2022 trading.

Jessica Van Tromp, commercial supplier development officer, Scotland Food & Drink and Kirsty George, local sourcing manager at Scotmid.

The announcement comes during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, an annual celebration of indigenous produce embraced by retailers, suppliers and hospitality businesses across the country.

Kirsty George, local sourcing manager at Scotmid, said: “We are committed to supporting Scottish suppliers and developing long and lasting relationships with them. Our customers are very receptive to new Scottish products so it's great to be working with Scotland Food & Drink to bring this opportunity to local producers.

"Each year, Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight provides us with a platform to celebrate the amazing local suppliers we currently work with, so we are delighted that we can give more producers across Scotland the chance to break into the retail market."

Helen Wallace, UK market development manager at Scotland Food & Drink, added: “Scotmid has demonstrated a solid commitment to supporting Scottish suppliers over the years and this competition is a brilliant representation of the importance of developing and nurturing those relationships.

“Access to retail for new and evolving products is critical for the growth of the sector and initiatives like this are important to allow a foot in the door for smaller producers.

“Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight highlights and celebrates the fantastic range of producers we have available here in Scotland. We are thrilled to be working alongside Scotmid to deliver this project and further develop our reputation as a land of food and drink.”

Applications for producers are open now and a closure date for entries has been set as October 4.

Scotmid saw its annual turnover and profits rise as the pandemic led to an increase in local essential shopping.

However, releasing its annual report in April, the group, which runs hundreds of convenience stores, warned of “considerable planning uncertainty” surrounding the coronavirus crisis amid concerns of a fresh spike in cases heading into the winter.

While the core food retailing part of the business has performed well, particularly in local neighbourhoods away from city centres, other aspects of the group have faced challenging trading conditions and costs have risen as bosses implement Covid mitigation measures.

Revealing a £24 million increase in full-year group turnover to £409m, John Brodie, chief executive of Scotmid Co-op, said: “Changes in consumer behaviour during the pandemic resulted in an increase in local essential shopping in Scotmid’s food convenience stores. Customers visited less frequently, spent more each visit but the costs of operation were significantly more than usual.”

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