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Scotland’s Speciality Food Show took place this week (22-24 January), with exhibitors and buyers establishing new contacts and re-connected networks.

SRFDA Director Antony Begley hosted a Nessie’s Den session where four producers – D!P Club, Three Robins, Hemp It Up, and Angels Dare Cocktails – presented their products to a panel of judges including Antony Begley (Chair), Angus Bell (Morrisons), Adam Hardie (Johnston Carmichael) and Emma Niven (Loch Leven’s Larder).

Another highlight of the show was Best Product awards judged by retail experts, with winners including Stewart Tower Dairy, which won gold in the Chilled and Frozen category.

“Winning this award made a huge difference to interest in our ice cream. We had many potential buyers come right from the awards cabinets to us – when this translates into orders it will prove an incredible Show for us,” Neil Butler, from Stewart Tower Dairy, said.

In addition, the Talking Shop Seminar Theatre hosted a series of well-attended informative and relevant talks on all aspects of retailing, including masterclasses on social media and online content, panel discussions on the controversial Deposit Return Scheme.

Show Director Mark Saunders added: “Whilst there are clearly big challenges still for all businesses, it will be considerably easier to navigate these as footfall in shops continues to build.

“The last three years have not been easy ones for exhibitions and in that time, new routes to market and subtle changes in buying patterns have emerged. However, over and over again, the overriding benefits of trade shows were evident. Face-to-face communication will not go away and the ability to see, feel, touch, taste and smell are a vitally important part of the buying process.”