Scotmid Co-op welcomed politicians and food industry representatives to its Broxburn store to celebrate the success of the first Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) Go Local Programme.
Cabinet secretary for rural affairs, Mairi Gougeon MSP joined representatives from the SGF, Scotland Food and Drink and Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) to visit the the store’s butchery. Run by Border Meats, the butchery was launched by Soctmid in May with funding from the programme, set up to help convenience stores provide long-term display space for Scottish produce and boost local economies.
Scotmid’s local sourcing manager Kirsty George said: “Scotmid was delighted to be selected for the grant funding and to work alongside a host of partners in delivering this brilliant project. The Butchery Broxburn is a great example of what can be achieved when industries work together on a common goal.”
Border Meats, which is fully accredited by Quality Meat Scotland, was selected by Scotmid because of its reputation in providing locally sourced Scottish beef, lamb and pork – and its ability to trace all its products direct from farm-to-fork.
Sales on products from the counter, including their dry aged Scottish steak, helped boost the success of the trial, which saw a 40% rise in sales of local produce across the participating stores.
Mairi Gougeon said: “I was delighted to visit the Broxburn store and see first hand how the Go Local project has given consumers a greater choice of locally produced, healthy food.
“Convenience stores play a key role in our communities, and I welcome the success of this project and look forward to seeing the sector build on this work and would urge customers to continue supporting their local shops.”
The success of the Go Local Programme means phase two has been oversubscribed and is advancing with a further 21 retailers, says SGF. It will also continue to develop the original 10 pilot stores, including Scotmid Broxburn.
SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said: “The programme has been an outstanding success to date, and we are delighted that the cabinet secretary has come to visit Scotmid’s Broxburn store to the see an excellent example of type of benefits the programme can bring to the local community through collaborative working.
“More broadly, the programme itself supports Scottish convenience retailers and provides local Scottish producers with a vital route to market while ensuring that customers have access to a wider range of fresh, healthy Scottish products.”
Scotland Food & Drink chief executive James Withers said: “With over 5000 convenience stores across Scotland, we understand that this is just the beginning and, there is a massive opportunity for us to demonstrate the value of stocking local Scottish products to the wider convenience sector.
“As we go into the second phase of the project, it’s important we continue to provide opportunities for our local producers to show the sector the diverse range of high-quality food and drink products available and how these can fit well with their customer base.”