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Seafood Scotland and VisitScotland’s mentoring programme to inspire and cultivate the growth of seafood tourism in Scotland has proven to be a success with a host of seafood businesses from across the country taking part.

 

The series of webinars, created as part of the ‘Beyond the Boat’ initiative launched by Seafood Scotland earlier this year, comprised six weeks of informative sessions, alongside additional mentoring from experts in areas such as funding, compliance, tourism insights, digital marketing and events, to help businesses diversify into tourism.

 

 

Seafood Scotland partnered with VisitScotland on the project, with the national tourism organisation providing mentors and speakers, and contacts for already successful tourism businesses. The aim of each session was to provide advice and expertise to help seafood businesses create memorable and authentic food tourism experiences to attract visitors from the UK and internationally.

 

Over 20 businesses across Scotland signed up to the pilot programme, with many able to get bespoke advice from the mentors during the webinar programme. For those that weren’t able to attend, and others that may be interested in finding out more, Seafood Scotland has made the presentations available on its website xxx (link).

 

Karen Galloway, Head of Industry Engagement for Seafood Scotland, said: “It has been fantastic to see so many businesses get involved with this programme over the last few weeks and hear about their ideas to diversify into food tourism ventures. We’re incredibly grateful to VisitScotland and the rest of our mentors for their advice on how to deal with the different aspects of tourism from quality assurance, to how to get your story across, to how to maximise your digital presence online.

“The feedback we’ve received from the seafood businesses attending has been extremely positive. Quite a few of them are already in touch directly with the mentors and working up plans for the next stage of their business.

“This is just the start, we’ll be bringing the mentors and seafood businesses together in the autumn for an in-person session to help inform, inspire and engage businesses further and, we hope, help build a community of seafood tourism offerings around the country.”

 

More than 20 businesses have participated in the programme to date, with a number of businesses rethinking how to market their seafood tourism business by considering using intermediaries to gain customers rather than target potential consumers directly.

 

One of the businesses which learned a lot from the experience is John Farley from Sutherland’s of Portsoy who said: “‘As the company is situated in what can only be classed as an idyllic coastal setting, it seemed logical we looked to tourism as another channel for generating sales and brand awareness. Whilst the traditional two day boat festival held in Portsoy brings in  an estimated 20,000 visitors, we want to attract visitors from further afield, and saw ‘Beyond the Boat’ as the perfect mentoring programme to help with this vision.

 

“The programme was beautifully balanced with both informative content and a degree of mentoring covering the entire tourism concept. The organisers are to be congratulated with the careful choice of supporting speakers who added so much value to an already excellent well presented and delivered programme.’

 

Launched in January this year, the Beyond the Boat innovation programme is aimed at stimulating seafood initiatives and spreading risk for businesses by diversifying into new and emerging sectors. The programme is provided to businesses free of charge and it is hoped those taking part will provide real life exemplars of businesses embarking on a seafood tourism journey for the wider seafood community in Scotland.

 

The businesses involved in the Beyond the Boat programme stretch the length and breadth of the country, from Tarbert to Dunbar and Plockton to Shetland with a variety of water based, land based and food sale offerings. Seafood Scotland has put the programme of sessions together based on feedback from these companies on what would be the most useful information for them to have to move forward with their business.

 

To find out more about the programme and watch the webinar series: https://www.seafoodscotland.org/support-available/btb/


Earlier this month, we shared the exciting news that acclaimed chef Monica Galetti has been appointed as the first ever ambassador for Scottish seafood as part of our new Sea the People campaign. Monica will be raising awareness around Scottish seafood and helping buyers, restaurateurs and chefs in the UK connect with suppliers. Monica has already visited Scotland to develop a series of videos about the industry; on meeting some of the exceptional people who dedicate their lives to Scottish seafood, she noted: “I am in awe of their knowledge and skills, and their commitment to provenance at every stage of the supply chain.”

Over the next nine months, we’ll be working with Monica to promote Scottish seafood within the media and industry. She has already sat for interviews with The Scotsman and Chef & Restaurant Magazine, with more media outreach to come, and developed three exclusive recipes featuring Scottish seafood to be shared throughout the campaign. In October, Monica will host a private dinner at her restaurant in London, Mere, introducing chefs, buyers and trade media to Scottish suppliers and cooking their products herself.

The campaign officially launched on 4 July, with videos of Monica and the first recipe now available on our new Sea the People information hub here


Responding to the UK Government Foreign Secretary’s position on the Northern Ireland Protocol, Donna Fordyce, Chief Executive of Seafood Scotland:

 

“Any action that has the potential to upset the still precarious trade movements between the UK and the EU will be most unwelcome for Scotland’s seafood sector and on behalf of the fishing communities, processors, fishing families and the hundreds of other people who depend on the seafood trade for a living, we urge the UK Government to proceed with caution and to keep talking, in the hope of finding an amicable solution to the challenges arising from the Protocol.

 

“The EU’s rhetoric of ‘consequences’ is ominous, and there is so much to be lost in the trade off.  From impact on costs, duty, ease of movement to tying our exporters up in even more red tape, this latest news will be a blow to Scottish companies who have been working around the clock to get back on track, maintaining sales and securing jobs in coastal communities throughout Scotland. The system for moving goods to the EU is far from perfect, but we have reached a point where movement is at least possible.  A step back to the hold ups that hit us immediately after Brexit will cost Scotland dearly, once again.”

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“The Marine Conservation Society’s recent advice, to avoid Scottish crab and lobster on the basis that whales may become entangled in fishing gear, has been released without clear scientific evidence to support it, and worryingly, the consultation with experts in the sector seems patchy.  It is our understanding that these instances are very rare, and that significant work has already gone into avoidance of entanglement, therefore the MCS response seems disproportionate.

“In terms of monkfish, experts within the industry have noted that the drop in population is within the context of an all-time high – so the drop actually signifies a return to ‘normal’ levels.  With stringent management measures in place and the full Fishery Improvement Programme expected in 2022, stock levels should be entirely manageable.

“As an industry that has navigated two seismic crises over the last two years, coming through a global pandemic which saw the food service sector all but close down, followed swiftly by a painful Brexit process, this new advice deals a further blow to a centuries-old industry trying to get back on its feet.  Fishing families and communities are already battling the odds.

“Scottish fishers are respectful of the environment from which they take their living.  It is in their interest to look after it for this, and future, generations.  For that reason, we disagree with the Marine Conservation Society’s advice to consumers and urge them to work more closely with the sector in future, speaking to fishers and fostering a collaborative approach to any emerging issues.  The absence of data should not lead to a blanket ‘avoid’ directive; rather it highlights an opportunity to seek further information around which sound advice can be crafted.

“We would still highly recommend Scottish lobster, crab and monkfish, which is some of the finest in the world.”

 

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During March 2022, Seafood Scotland hosted four masterclass sessions covering everything from how to add value through creating seafood butters with CJ Jackson to a Social Media Masterclass with Clark Communications and finally a whistlestop tour of the Exporting Process and Opportunities for businesses in this area.

All these Masterclass sessions are available for the industry to watch and enjoy at their leisure and can be found here.

For more information or to suggest a topic for the next round of Masterclasses later in the year, please let us know by dropping an email to enquiries@seafoodscotland.org


A Focus on Foodservice from The Knowledge Bank – live and streamed conference

A deep dive into the UK foodservice sector: Click here for more details and to register

A second short day conference will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Wednesday 23 March (with livestreaming for those that want to tune in online) looking at the UK foodservice sector and the opportunities on offer to Scottish food and drink businesses.

We’ll take a look at the sector and its make-up, the key channels, the trends and the innovations before turning our intentions to how consumers interact with the out of home market, what occasions drive them to eat out and how important is time of the day. We’ll also share insight from chefs and operators in the sector as to what are opportunities for those who want to develop their offering in this diverse, exciting and innovative market place.

The only conditions of registration are that you must be based in Scotland and priority will be given to producers. Professional Services suppliers who support the sector may be offered a live stream ticket if an in-person ticket is not available.

You can register for free tickets here.


From labour to logistics to sustainability. Where to focus and things to consider.

Join us on 16 March at 1400hrs GMT for the second of our knowledge webinar series, in collaboration with IGD.

At this session, IGD experts Kathleen McLaughlin and James Walton will face into the challenges that Scottish food and drink companies are tackling, from labour to pricing to sustainability. And while there are no silver bullet solutions, Kathleen and James will signpost just some of the responses which our industry is actioning in order to thrive.  

The session is free to attend, but to secure your place please register here.

After registering you’ll receive a confirmation email with information about joining on the day.


Learn with us in 2022

Following the success of our webinar series in 2020 and 2021,  Seafood Scotland will once again host a series of expert webinars this spring.

 

 

These free online events are suitable for fishmongers or chefs looking to build their knowledge of seafood from Scotland.

Each event will start at 4pm with the opportunity to put your questions to our experts.

Wednesday 2nd March – Giving your customers confidence with Coley, Hake and Blue Ling with CJ Jackson

Wednesday 9th March  – Giving your customers confidence with Witch and Megrim with CJ Jackson

Wednesday 16th March – Social media hints and tips with Clark Communications

Wednesday 23 March – Adding value with butters, cakes and pies with CJ  Jackson

These sessions will be held via Zoom and you can register for either one session or the full series. You can register online. 

This programme is brought to you in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and the National Transition Training Fund. Attendees will be required to complete a registration form in order to attend.

 


The Brexit Working Group was set up in summer 2020 by Seafood Scotland to help industry preparations ahead of the UK leaving the Transition Period, with businesses then preparing to trade and operate outside the Single Market and Customs Union. Subsequently, it acted as a forum for response to the implications of having left the Transition Period at the end of 2020.

As things settled over summer 2021, the working group broadened its membership to include more industry representatives, more businesses and a wider range of Government officials. We also started inviting guest speakers to its meetings on a regular basis.

Meetings started to cover a wider range of topics than Brexit although the implications of Brexit were still the core focus of the group’s discussions.

In Autumn 2021, it was agreed that the widened scope and remit should be formalised and that it would be sensible to drop the word “Brexit” from the group’s title to reflect the fact things had moved on somewhat. It was also agreed that group membership should be extended, with small and medium sized organisations and business interests particularly in mind.

The new name for the group is “PISCES” – or the the PISCES forum.

This is an acronym signifying “Policy Issues, Sector Cooperation, Engagement (and) Support” which reflects our broad aims for the group’s purpose and scope.

While a new name and scope has been agreed, the format of the new group will be similar in many ways to the Brexit Working Group unless circumstances necessitate any changes.

There will be a plan to invite more guest speakers in due course and to dovetail announcements of future topics and reflection on previous meetings with Seafood Scotland newsletter publication so that the wider industry is kept abreast of PISCES meetings/discussions/activities.

These meetings will commence on Thursday 20th January 3-4pm and will be held every 2 weeks. If you would like to attend this forum please email enquiries@seafoodscotland.org


Scotland Food & Drink is pleased to share details of a ‘Meet the Convenience Retailer’ event, providing producers and wholesalers with opportunities to secure national and local listings.

Representatives from a variety of multiple and independent convenience retailers will be at the event, with attendance already confirmed from Scotmid and One O One Convenience Stores. We expect representatives with buying responsibility for over 350 stores to take part.

This virtual opportunity is open to producers and wholesalers interested in supplying independent convenience retailers across Scotland or in a particular area of Scotland.

Qualification criteria

  • Scottish Food or Drink producer
  • Salsa or BRC accreditation preferred but not essential
  • All categories considered

Additional Info

  • Food to Go is a growing market in this sector.
  • Seasonal producers are encouraged to apply speculatively, even if their product is not in season at the time of the event.
  • Convenience retailers are increasingly seeing the benefits of local sourcing. Their customers are open to new and interesting products. Accessible pricing is often a key consideration for them.

Event details

Date: Thursday 3 March, 9am-12pm

Platform: This event will be virtual and take place online with details given once companies are shortlisted.

How to register

To register your interest, please complete the application form by 5pm on Thursday 20th January. Shortlisted companies will be notified at least seven days in advance of the event with further info provided. Any questions on this event or the criteria, please email showcasing@luxevents.co.uk

Places are limited and, there is no fee to attend this event. Applicants who have ranges best suited to the needs of the retailers attending will receive priority.

Details of how to apply can be found on the Scotland Food and Drink website here.