SCOTTISH FOOD AND DRINK PROVIDE RECIPE FOR
VisitScotland launches new food and drink
quality assurance scheme to drive change in use and promotion of
A new joint initiative between
VisitScotland and the Scottish Government has the potential to
increase revenue for food and drink businesses by up to 20%.*
The Taste Our Best Food and Drink
Scheme was launched today (Thursday 12 September) at
Craigie’s Farm Deli and Café near Edinburgh by Rural Affairs
Secretary, Richard Lochhead.
Mr Lochhead was joined by Riddell Graham of
VisitScotland and key players in Scottish tourism’s food and drink
sector including award-winning chef and Three Chimneys’ owner
Shirley Spear and owners of the five star Dulaig B&B, Carol and
Funded by the Scottish Government (£450K
over three years) and VisitScotland (£470K in kind) with support
from Scotland Food and Drink, the Taste Our Best initiative brings
together the tourism and food and drink industries.
It is designed to recognise businesses
including hotels, restaurants, cafes, takeaways, visitor
attractions and B&Bs that not only offer a quality food and
drink experience, but include and promote Scottish produce on their
menus to give consumers choice.
Research has shown that visitors are
willing to pay up to 15% more for food that is of Scottish or
regional origin and businesses that provide local food can
typically enjoy higher level sales of up to 20% per
year. Visitors currently spend around £800 million per year
on food and drink in Scotland and more than 70% of potential
visitors to Scotland want to taste traditional dishes, regional
specialities and fresh local produce.
The Taste Our Best scheme is the latest
addition to VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance (QA) Schemes, which
aim to drive up quality in tourism products across the country.
Taste Our Best will provide businesses with an assessment of their
food provision and their menu by qualified assessors, with those
meeting the necessary criteria gaining the award.
For accommodation providers and visitor
attractions, the assessment will take place at the same time as the
main VisitScotland Quality Assurance grading, meaning that many
tourism businesses that already participate in the QA Scheme will
no longer have to apply and pay for a separate food and drink
Taste Our Best has been shaped to take
account of consumer preferences and has been developed by
representatives from the public and private sectors with particular
experience in the tourism and food sectors. A pilot programme has
been in operation and the main scheme will be rolled out to tourism
businesses over the coming months.
Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard
“Scotland’s food and drink is just one
of a number of things that attract tourists to our country and we
have a wonderful story to tell about its provenance and journey. We
produce top quality products from our array of amazing raw
materials and the industry can capitalise by using this as a unique
selling point to visitors from far and wide.
“We are in the middle of a fortnight
celebrating Scotland’s Food and Drink and it is clear that there is
a strong sense of pride and support for all the fantastic work
going on in the sector. It is an industry which already provides so
much to the Scottish economy, but one that still has much more to
give. And as we open our doors to the world in 2014 for Homecoming,
the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, it is the perfect time
for the tourism sector to source locally and tell the great story
of this Land of Food and Drink.”
Riddell Graham, Director of
Partnerships at VisitScotland said:
“We know that visitors love authentic,
quality Scottish food and drink and Taste Our Best is all about
taking this knowledge to the next level and really encouraging the
tourism industry to recognise the real benefits of sourcing, using
and promoting local produce. We have such a rich natural
larder here in Scotland with some of the best products in the world
right on our doorstep.
“As Scotland prepares to welcome the
world in 2014, there is no better time to launch this scheme to
ensure the many visitors that come to our shores for Homecoming,
the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup next year all leave with full,
happy stomachs and memorable eating experiences!”
To support the project and to provide food
and drink businesses with the information they need, Scotland Food
and Drink have redeveloped their supplier and producer database and
have produced a Seasonal Calendar, both of which will be launched
as part of the scheme.
James Withers, Chief Executive of
Scotland Food and Drink said:
“The Taste Our Best Food and Drink
Scheme is a great initiative. Appropriately enough, its launch
falls during this year’s Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight which
highlights the quality of Scotland’s natural larder.
“Provenance is important to visitors
and the producer Showcase and Seasonality Calendar will help
businesses improve their food offering, strengthening their menus
with premium Scottish produce. It is an important push to continue
building Scotland’s reputation as a Land of Food and Drink ahead of
an important year in 2014 when Scotland will be placed on a world
stage and continuing this into the Year of Food & Drink in
A private and public sector multi
agency Project Steering Group was formed to shape the project with
representation including British Hospitality Association,
Scotland’s Best B&Bs, Scottish License Trade Association and
the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions.
Taste Our Best will have a strong advisory
element, including advice on best practice and signposting to
producers and suppliers to encourage change.
Beppo Buchanan-Smith, Chair of the
Taste Our Best Steering Group and owner of the Isle of Eriska Hotel
“Scotland is increasingly being seen as
a land of food and drink and now more than ever our customers are
asking about the source and provenence of our ingredients.
We hope the Taste our Best initiative
encourages more businesses throughout Scotland to link up with
Scottish producers to give the customers a truly authentic
Taste Our Best will replace the current
EatScotland food and drink QA scheme which will be phased
out. The new initiative builds on the strengths of the
existing scheme and responds to consumer insights, in particular
growing consumer demand and interest in sampling Scottish
*Based on the
knowledge that visitors prefer to buy food with local provenance.
Their perception is that food ‘with a story behind it’ is of better
quality and visitors are willing to pay 3 - 15% more for food that
they know is of Scottish or regional origin. Businesses and events
providing local food enhance the visitor experience and typically
enjoy higher level sales - on average 20% more per year. (Scottish
For more information or interview
requests, please contact:
Kate Turnbull, Corporate Press
Manager 0131 472 2324 / 07854 401040
Notes to Editors
- Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
- VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism
organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit
of tourism to Scotland.
- VisitScotland works together with tourism
businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the
industry continues to grow.
- The organisation employs 700 people and has
offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
- 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland,
inspiring our people and our visitors to celebrate Scotland’s
outstanding natural beauty, landscapes and biodiversity as Scotland
prepares to welcome the world in 2014 and beyond.
Find out how you can promote and capitalise on the opportunities
offered by the Year of Natural Scotland at
Find out more about Scotland’s outstanding natural beauty at
- The VisitScotland Information Centre network
is a unique face to face channel engaging with around five million
visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland
Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating
over £24 million for Scotland’s economy.
- According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism
employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses.
The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion
annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and
supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16
million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
- For VisitScotland’s press releases go to
tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.htm
- For holiday information on Scotland go to
- For information about business tourism in
Scotland go to http://www.conventionscotland.com/
- For more information on VisitScotland’s
annual review please go to www.visitscotlandannualreview.com