Food and drink producers in Scotland have attracted a potential £77m of sales from domestic and international buyers at the Showcasing Scotland event in Edinburgh.

Organised by Scotland Food and Drink with support from the Scottish Government, the three-day event welcomed some of the world’s most influential food and drink buyers to conduct 1822 official meetings with more than 100 Scottish exporting or export ready food and drink businesses.

The Scottish Farmer: Finlay Hay of Scottish Honeyberries with Minister Richard LochheadFinlay Hay of Scottish Honeyberries with Minister Richard Lochhead

Pete Mitchell of Fife-based The Farmer’s Son whose range includes black pudding, haggis and lorne sausage said the event offers invaluable opportunities for small producers. He said: “ It opens doors to new connections, collaborations and growth avenues that can transform our business journey on a global scale.

“As a business that contributes towards Scotland's exceptional produce, it’s exciting to know that platforms like this exist and allow us to showcase our products to a wider audience."

Scottish Government minister Richard Lochead was in attendance and told The Scottish Farmer: “This is a tremendously successful event and it’s also heartening to hear about the response from overseas companies full of praise for Scottish food and drink and the quality and excellence that characterises this sector. It’s also heartening to hear about the new orders companies are getting from this special event.”

Turning to the budget, Mr Lochhead said: “The budget was very tough for Scotland and has been seen as a damp squib by the business community and the UK government chose to put tax cuts before investment into the economy.”

The Scottish Farmer: The team from Duncan's Eggs reported strong interest from buyersThe team from Duncan's Eggs reported strong interest from buyers

The event format includes sector tours and two days of pre-scheduled business meetings using a ‘speed dating’ format.

Rachael Duncan of egg producer and packer Duncan Farms in Aberdeenshire said the firm was focussed on the UK market but the event is a good opportunity to meet buyers and other suppliers with the ability to meet face-to-face rated ‘very highly’.

The firm is expanding and doubling the size of the packing centre. It currently has around 750,000 free range hens, with more than one million eggs being graded per day at its packing centre and it is currently recruiting contract producers to satisfy demand.

Food and drink is one of Scotland’s largest global exports, worth £8.1bn annually to the Scottish economy, and has been highlighted as a key area for driving the £4bn growth target of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s national industry strategy, ‘Sustaining Scotland. Supplying the World’.

Castleton Farm from Aberdeenshire reported strong interest from buyers for their soft fruit. Megan Dorward said: “We have had meetings all day and I feel a good number of those have been really positive and I definitely see something coming from it. We have also had a number of international buyers speak to us.”

Iain Stirling of farm to bottle distillery Arbikie in Angus praised the organisation of the event. He said: “It’s been an amazing few days at a global event and as a supplier you can’t get any better than an event to meet international buyers from across the world. I’d say it’s the most important event for the food and drink industry in Scotland – you’re probably doing months, if not years of work in just a couple days.”

A number of service providers were also in attendance. Export health certification firm Mistev said post-Brexit, exports to Ireland and Europe made up the majority of their work and the firm had attracted a lot of interest at the event.

Iain Baxter, Chief Executive at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “Adding £77m to the pipeline of Scottish food and drink producers is an incredible result by any measure. We have a global reputation for the quality and variety of our food and drink, demonstrated by the buyers’ desire to buy more from us.

“We welcomed so many inspirational people from across the world, fostering new commercial links, and friendships that should pay dividends for some of Scotland’s best and most innovative producers.”