Opportunities for Scotland’s post-Brexit powerhouse food and drink sector will be debated later this evening (July 16) to look at ways to offload ‘a fair share of the success’ onto everyone in the supply chain.
The question – which will also cover any potential threats – will be discussed at the United Auctions Agricultural Centre in Stirling, chaired by BBC Out of Doors presenter Mark Stephen.
It hopes to overhaul current framework to ensure all appropriate members in the food and drink industry are recognised for their efforts.
Event host Jim Fairlie said since the launch of the National Food and Drink Policy for Scotland in 2009, the growth in the country’s food and drink sector had been ‘phenomenal’.
It now accounts for an annual injection of £14 billion to the Scottish economy, he said.
“The momentum in growth has been unrelenting, and we want to see it continue,” Mr Fairlie said.
“Scotland Food and Drink’s Ambition 2030 provides a template outlining how we can continue to grow the industry, working in partnership, and collaborating across all sectors in ways that benefit everyone.
“While recognising the achievements of the movement thus far, we have to be mindful that not everyone in the supply chain is getting a fair share of the success, or being recognised for their efforts.
“I do not just mean primary producers either. I also mean the people who work in the front line; preparing and delivering the food we produce, particularly in the service sector.”
He gave the example of a waiter. In France, Mr Fairlie said, somebody of this job title would be regarded as a ‘professional person’, whereas a waiter in Scotland was ‘assumed to be a student or someone who cannot get a better job’.
“We need to look at changing that attitude, as well as how primary producers are can capture a greater share of the success,” Mr Fairlie said.
“Ambition 2030 will not work without investment from everyone and to ensure that happens we need to build consumer understanding and loyalty.
“We need a motivated and passionate workforce who see the industry as a solid career choice and we need government and industry collaboration to make sure the ambition is one we are driving towards together”.
Panellists include managing director of Grahams Family Dairies Robert Graham, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink James Withers and NFU Scotland president Andrew McCornick.
Those interested in the event are urged to sign up and book tickets through Eventbrite.