With turnover in Scotland’s food and drink industry set to hit the £30bn mark by 2030, a business adviser has stressed the importance of a strong online presence for businesses seeking to expand.
Speaking in the Press and Journal, Jamie Hutcheon, Business Gateway’s Aberdeen city and shire manager, said the Covid-19 pandemic forced companies to change how they did business, with online stores, deliveries and virtual communications becoming “second nature”.
He said the digital opportunity opens companies up to the rest of Scotland, the UK and overseas.
“Where Business Gateway supports this is by ensuring firms looking to expand their digital offering have all the necessary tools in place to cope with demand should they need it,” Hutcheon explained.
“Business-first is our approach to working with firms so, in the food and drink sector, if we have advisers who have a background in catering, or hospitality, or have previously been involved in food production, we always look to match them with companies in these areas, encouraging in-person meetings to understand the challenges the business is facing.”
Hutcheon’s advice comes as Business Gateway sees strong demand for its services from food and drink operators, with more than 200 inquiries in the past year.
A large number of these have come from Aberdeenshire, where the food and drink industry is “flourishing,” according to Hutcheon, with a broad spectrum of businesses – from Doric-themed chocolates to tequila chutney – entering the market.
“I’m proud to say there is a very nurturing environment for food and drink companies, due to the region’s long-standing heritage of fine produce and commitment to provenance,” he added.
“We have quality suppliers in this area, with some of the finest fish, beef, lamb, shortbread and whisky in the country – making for a very encouraging place to set up.”