Food and drink companies from Scotland travelled to Stockholm last week for the Scandinavian launch of the ‘Access 6’ export programme in a bid to access Sweden, Norway and Denmark’s combined £84 billion (€102 billion) retail and foodservice market. The five companies from Scotland – A. D. Rattray Ltd (Kirkoswald, Ayrshire), Ayr Brewing Company Ltd (Ayr, Ayrshire), Fyne Ales (Cairndow, Argyll), The Isle of Skye Brewing Company (Uig, Isle of Skye) and Uncle Roy's Limited (Moffat, Dumfriesshire) – will join another 10 companies from the border regions of Ireland and Northern Ireland participating in the Scandinavian cluster group. The launch raises awareness of the Access 6 programme in Scandinavia. While remaining a traditional market with a focus on frozen and convenience foods, the last decade has seen Scandinavia opening up to imported food influences and products. Total Scottish exports to Norway and Denmark were worth an estimated total £1.5 million in 2012 – a figure that Access 6 Scottish SMEs hope to build upon (source: Global Connections Survey 2012, Scottish Government). To mark the launch of the Scandinavian cluster, an evening reception was held at the Irish Embassy in Stockholm and attended by industry figures and potential buyers. The event acted as a showcase for the participating companies and their produce. In conjunction with the launch, Access 6 SMEs also participated in a ‘study tour’ which has given them an insight into the market enabling them to groom their own products to meet consumer tastes in Sweden, Denmark and Norway. This tour was delivered by food marketing and business development solutions company ‘Export Works’, and supported by Denmark based in-market specialist ‘Food Is More’. Both will is act as official Scandinavian mentors to the participating companies. Speaking from the launch in Stockholm, Scotland Food & Drink Access 6 Project Manager Will Shaw commented: “This week’s launch marks the start of an intensive programme to assist Access 6 companies to expand their sales into Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The array of exceptional food and drink producers involved in the cluster offer products that should appeal to the Scandinavian consumer and longer term help forge export ties with this region. “We were also delighted to be able to deliver a study tour as part of this launch which aims to increase the SME’s knowledge of the competitive landscape in Scandinavia and grow relationships with potential trading partners. Our primary aim is to ensure that participants are equipped with all the tools needed to successfully enter the Scandinavian market. “The Nordic region has been identified as one of the top target markets as we seek to grow Scotland’s food and drink exports to £7.1bn by 2017; an ambitious target but one we are committed to reaching.‘’ Access 6 is an EU INTERREG IVA-funded programme delivered by Scotland Food & Drink (SFD), the Irish Exporters Association (IEA) and Northern Ireland Food & Drink (NIFDA). The initiative aims to provide ninety SMEs across the three border regions with training and mentorship to successfully supply and trade in a number of foreign markets including UK, France, Germany, North America, Benelux and Scandinavia.