Local produce to be championed in new awards


TOP QUALITY Scottish produce is to be officially recognised as local tourism businesses are to be put forward to be Scottish Food Champions.

The Scottish Food Champions initiative will recognise businesses throughout the Lothians which offer fresh, regional produce and which actively promote where their food comes from.

The initiative is a joint venture between the Scottish Government and Visit Scotland and will cover hotels, B&Bs, food outlets and visitor attractions and they will assess over 2500 business over the course of the next three years with the hope of having around 1000 signed up on the scheme by 2015.

Richard Lochhead, the rural affairs secretary and organiser of the venture, said that the project will hopefully recognise achievements, drive up standards and focus attention on the sheer quality of produce available on our doorstep.

He said: “Scotland is home to some of the world’s finest food and it’s vital that we showcase the best of what we have to offer to our visitors – from overseas and closer to home. This is particularly true in the run up to the next year of Homecoming and the Commonwealth Games in 2014, and I urge every business in the Lothians to get involved.

“The exciting new Scottish food initiative will build on our burgeoning reputation as a land of food and drink by adding on the key elements of seasonality and provenance to VisitScotland’s existing assessments. It will encourage tourism businesses across the country to use fresh seasonal produce, showcasing our nation’s magnificent produce to visitors from home and abroad.

“Scotland’s food sector is one of our greatest success stories. And as we prepare for the eyes of the world to be firmly focused on Scotland, now is the time for all businesses to aspire to the standards of the best. As Scottish Food Champions they will champion fresh seasonal produce, spreading the word about what Scotland has to offer.”