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Asda Supplier Development Academy boosts Scottish food and drink industry

Annual sales worth more than £26.8m, with some participants seeing sales growth of up to 69% year on year

By Clair Hufton

September 9, 2016 01:09pm
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25 Scottish food companies are celebrating after benefiting from more than £26.8million in annual sales with Asda, after participating in the supermarket’s Supplier Development Academy (SDA) delivered in partnership with Scotland Food & Drink.

The eight-month programme was celebrated at a reception at the Scottish Parliament by James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink and Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity. Participating suppliers from across Scotland were on hand to showcase their range and sample their finest products to guests.

Achieving growth and maximising business potential were the key objectives of the SDA, delivered in partnership with Asda and Scotland Food & Drink, and supported by the Scottish Government. 25 food and drink companies from across Scotland a mix of new and established suppliers to Asda took part in the bespoke development and training programme delivered by experts from Asda, Scotland Food & Drink and specialist retail consultants. It is the third time Asda and Scotland Food & Drink have worked together to deliver the Academy.

Several of the suppliers have achieved real innovation and growth by bringing new products to market, including McKechnie Jess who launched their spicy and curry flavoured haggis earlier in the year, Joseph Robertson who developed a new ready meals range with Asda, and Scotty Brand who expanded into the confectionary category with a range of Scottish Fancies and High Tea Favourites. Scottish craft beer and cider continues to perform well, with new suppliers Thistly Cross and Isle of Skye Brewery increasing their range and sales in Asda’s Scottish stores.

Rural Economy and Connectivity Cabinet Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said: “This year we have a seen record turnover in our food and drink sector and Asda are very much a part of that success. The partnership between Scotland Food & Drink and Asda has benefited many Scottish suppliers over the last few years, resulting in new and extended business.
“I welcome Asda’s continuing commitment to Scottish producers and I look forward to working with them further to achieve our common goal of growing the food and drink sector to deliver a sustainable economy for Scotland, helping to make Scotland a Good Food Nation.”

Michael McCallion, Asda’s Head of Local Sourcing for Scotland regards the SDA as the chance to take its already successful partnership with food suppliers and Scotland Food & Drink to the next level:
“Asda is committed to supporting local Scottish suppliers in growing their business, no matter how big or small. Where Asda can take a local product and find it a national or even international market then the benefits are multiple: sales increase, customers get better choice and quality, and suppliers get the confidence and scale to make the move from small to medium to large businesses.

“As we continue to experience a challenging trading environment, programmes such as Asda’s Supplier Development Academy are more important than ever. Providing tailored business support to Scottish suppliers, whether that’s help with innovation and growth or strengthening their understanding of the modern-day retail market, can deliver real results in a competitive market.”

Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive, James Withers added: “The Asda Supplier Development Academy is exactly the kind of initiative that is driving growth in our industry. We have a big customer of our products in Asda, committed to working with ourselves and individual suppliers to grow collectively, supported by Government.

"It is appropriate we toast the success of the Academy during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight. The programme is testament to Asda’s commitment to showcasing and increasing sales of Scottish food and drink while providing a stronger offering to consumers. The wide range of participating companies have developed their capabilities and deepened relationships with both the local sourcing team and their UK wide colleagues to mutual benefit. The tangible successes with listings going national and newly developed products coming onto shelf for the first time are superb to see.

“The Scottish food and drink industry’s record turnover of over £14 billion is on track to achieve the target of £16.5bn by 2017 despite a challenging operating environment. The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership works to support this growth and develop market opportunities in UK and overseas markets. Our long established relationship with Asda is a crucial part of this work.”

With over £1.2bn worth of Scottish produce being sourced annually from more than 120 Scottish based suppliers, including family-run organisations, Asda is keen to extend its support for the sector by creating more opportunities for its suppliers, both in Scotland and the UK-wide market.

The reception event was the perfect toast to Scotland’s thriving food and drink industry as it celebrates Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight (3rd – 18th September) - the annual celebration of Scotland's vibrant, outstanding quality larder.

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