With a welcome spring in visitors’ steps, the mood at the expanded Scotland’s Speciality Food Show was warm and pleasantly positive despite lashing rain outdoors.
As it closed on Tuesday after three days, there was an 8.4% growth in overall attendance figures and a huge 21% growth in exhibitors, making it one of the most successful and biggest Shows in recent times. Throughout the Hall, which encompasses Scotland’s Trade Fair, there was a general buzz as orders were placed, new suppliers found, innovative ranges launched and a general positive feeling abounded.
Scotland is renowned for the quality of its food and drink offerings, and coupled with a great input from the rest of the UK and beyond, there was a huge range of products on offer for farm shops, delis, restaurants, hotels and fine food retailers.
There was a marked increase and interest from the food service sector this year with many Scottish restaurants and hotels sourcing some genuinely superb products.
Sue Montgomery from Ardardan Farm Shop said: “The quality and abundance of food and drink on offer at the Show was fantastic and it is encouraging to see so many new products and expanded ranges that we know will appeal to our customers. It’s hard to choose what to stock!”
The Best Product Awards, judged by three leading Scottish food retailers, and a chef, were equally successful. The winners showed how they had combined great taste with attractive, appealing packaging combined with value for money.
Judge Tom Lewis Owner of Monachyle Mhor restaurants and Mhor shops said: “It is so good to see existing products continually evolving to offer customers something new. We were all so impressed by the quality of the food and drinks entered and found it genuinely hard to pick winners.”
A big attraction at the Show was the interesting line up of seminars and workshops. With record numbers attending, they learnt the benefit of Google, social media, merchandising, PR and trends to improve their business.
Mark Saunders, Director of Scotland’s Trade Fairs, said: “We have been pleasantly surprised by the success of this Show in what are still turbulent economic times. It is encouraging to see so many successful fine food shops expanding and doing well, principally because they are marketing savvy, price conscious and are keeping ahead of the market in how they do business and what the offer. Equally the highly successful exhibitors are the ones doing exactly the same thing and who aren’t afraid of change.”
Anya Baak from Great Glen Charcuterie and a winner of Best Product Awards said: “The Award attracted many new customers to our stand and we are especially pleased to get enquiries from restaurants.”