Record Number of Delegates for Conference
Brexit dominated the agenda at our annual Food and Drink Conference in Edinburgh
Over 400 delegates gathered for our biggest and best event so far with our partners The Scotsman and Royal Bank of Scotland.
Created to address some of the big challenges facing the sector and provide thought leadership, this year focussed on building growth beyond boundaries.
Scotland Food and Drink Chief Executive James Withers started the day by setting out the scale of the challenges produced by Brexit and some of the ways businesses can adapt to continue to grow and develop.
One of the problems we face is labour supply and Louise Gibson, founder of recruitment search specialists the New Town Partnership talked about what needs to be done to attract the 23,000 extra workers required to meet targets in an age of falling net migration
We then heard from a range of firms at the sharp end, weathering the waves of Brexit and still planning to grow and develop. John Fordyce from the Borders Distillery talked about reviving a distillery in Hawick and the strategy in place to take their product and tell their story to the world.
From the meat sector Gordon Allan of Malcolm Allan Butchers spoke passionately about the madness of selling produce at less than cost of production and the need to ensure Scottish beef is seen as a prime rather than a value product.
Scottish Salmon already occupies that higher space but it is constantly under attack in overseas markets and Hamish Macdonell from producers organisation the SSPO outlined about the work underway to protect the brand and to grow and develop demand in more overseas markets.
Further speakers talked about developing technology and growing demands for more environmentally sustainable products before we broke for a late lunch and some industry networking.
Launched 8 years ago, the conference is now a firm fixture on the annual food and drink calendar and continues to go from strength to strength.