The fund is supporting 15 groups throughout Scotland, with each benefitting from investment from industry body Scotland Food & Drink and other local authorities.
Of the 15 regional groups, three are based within the Angus, Fife and Perthshire area, and will be able to take advantage of part of the £250K which is being invested in the projects.
The fund will resource coordinator posts and will include match-funding from partners including local authorities, as well as the Scottish Government.
It also aims to create an active network of regional ambassadors who work in conjunction with local authorities to promote regional food and drink and tourism strategies.
Local food groups who have been selected include Great Perthshire, Appetite for Angus and Food from Fife who plan and deliver projects such as increasing consumption and supply of local produce; upskilling food and drink businesses; hosting events; improving digital developments and e-commerce with local companies and, crucially, developing food and drink tourism.
Great Perthshire, which focuses on promoting food and drink in the Perth and Kinross area aims to increase awareness and champion local suppliers and producers through a strategic marketing campaign over the next 12 months.
The group would like to increase membership across the region, offer an accessible training programme, provide networking and promotional opportunities, and run a successful food and drink event in 2021.
Mark Bush, chair of Great Perthshire, said: “Perthshire is the heart of Scottish food and drink. Our region offers the finest examples of grown, reared, made and brewed produce alongside world-class dining and hospitality providers. It is so important, now more than ever, to support our incredibly diverse and hardworking producers to ensure that our unique local character continues.
“Buying, consuming and using local produce enables us to feel a part of our community and place, keeps the planet happy and supports economic growth and employment.
“The funding from Scotland Food & Drink will help us drive our food story as part of the wider building demand for sustainable food tourism.”
Food from Fife
With shopping local more popular than ever due to the impact the pandemic has had on customer purchasing habits, Martha Bryce, co-ordinator at Food from Fife says the group must continue to advocate local producers to ensure customers continue to shop local.
She said: “The diversity of Fife’s food and drink sector supports jobs and communities across the region and with this funding support from Scotland Food & Drink, we can continue to build on its success.
“The appetite for local produce has been more important than ever over the past few months and those food and drink producers with a short, local supply chain have been best able to serve the needs of those living locally. For those living in Fife, food and drink should be a real source of pride too – the quality and range of produce is outstanding and there are a world-class cafes, restaurants and hotels right on our doorstep.
“Food from Fife has been sustained by membership fees and the generous support of Fife Council over the last few years. With the continued support of Fife Council and this new funding from Scotland Food & Drink, we can continue to champion our outstanding local food and drink heroes.”
Appetite for Angus
Also home to a range of outstanding produce, the team at Appetite for Angus have been working hard to put the region on Scotland’s food map, and showcase a wide range of businesses on their website, too.
“Supporting local food and drink business is important on many levels. Businesses need local support, both economically and from a community perspective, to give them a sense of place that helps form the story they can use in the broader market,” said Daniel Muir, project co-ordinator at Appetite for Angus.
“And for consumers, feeling connected to local food and drink businesses gives pride in their community and sense of place, as well as supporting jobs and prosperity
“The funding from Scotland Food & Drink is critical to the ability of Appetite for Angus to meet its goals and work towards delivering its vision.”
Long term goal
Supporting regional food groups is a key pillar in Scotland Food & Drink’s UK Market Development ‘Home Advantage’ Strategy, which aims to achieve £17bn turnover from food and drink sales within the UK by 2030.
Fiona Richmond, head of regional food at Scotland Food & Drink, added: “Regional food groups like Great Perthshire, Food from Fife and Appetite for Angus have a pivotal role to play in the successful growth and development of our country’s food, drink and food tourism sectors, especially in the recovery from Covid-19.
“With a combination of both long-established groups, those which are more recently formed, and some which are brand new, Scotland’s diverse mix of regional food groups all have energy, ambition and a commitment to championing their areas. With this new funding, our aim is to build a strong network of groups and give them the recognition and backing they deserve.”