Food and drink

Food and drink experts offer global insights to local businesses targeting international markets

Food and drink companies from across the Highlands and Islands got a taste of global markets when they met with international experts about how to reach consumers around the world.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) organised the two day event in Inverness to offer businesses from the region an opportunity to speak to Scottish Development International (SDI) in-market food and drink specialists from countries including Japan, China, Canada, US and Germany. 

Held over 7-8 June, the meetings provided an opportunity for businesses to expand their understanding of international markets and to gain invaluable knowledge about overseas opportunities.

Experts from 13 countries were in attendance, representing a diverse range of opportunities, looking to support Scotland’s growing export market.

HIE’s head of food and drink Elaine Jamieson, said: “We had experts from both developed and emerging markets in Asia, Europe, Middle East and the Americas. I am delighted so many ambitious businesses got the chance to meet our overseas food and drink specialists to discuss how best to launch or expand their products into diverse and competitive markets. 

“The visit to our region also builds our overseas colleagues’ knowledge and understanding of our businesses and products. This will be very informative for their discussions with importers and buyers looking to source high quality food and drink products”

Callum McInnes, owner of the Island Smokery in Orkney, attended the event and found it useful as his artisan cheese business looks to expand its international offering.

He said: “It was a very positive session that gave us a real understanding of what it takes to get our products into new markets. For example, we hadn’t thought of targeting the Spanish cheese sector but it turns out that there is a real appetite for high-quality Scottish produce. Our grass fed cattle and genuine Orkney milk allows us to deliver the kind of products that can be a real success at trade shows in the Iberian peninsula.

“SDI experts provide eyes and ears on the ground and a wealth of local knowledge. They are a tremendous asset for local producers looking to establish themselves overseas.”

SDI is the international arm of Scotland’s enterprise agencies and has a network of offices in over 20 countries around the world.

Experts from the following countries attended the event, held at HIE’s Inverness Campus:

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