THE Scots winner of the Great British Bake Off is spearheading a new campaign aimed at getting more shoppers to buy Scottish produce.
Peter Sawkins is heading the “Scotland brings so much to the table” initiative to encourage shoppers to explore the country’s natural larder and try more home-grown produce.
The joint campaign by the Scottish Government and Scotland Food & Drink forms part of the Scottish Food and Drink Recovery Plan to support the industry to recover from coronavirus and Brexit.
The initiative has a dedicated website onthetable.scot for people to find out how they can get involved.
More people have been cooking meals at home from scratch due to lockdown but many are unaware of how their shopping habits can benefit the Scottish food and drink industry.
Many supermarkets, local retailers, farmers’ markets and online delivery sites stock a huge range and selection of affordable, health, locally grown, made and sourced Scottish produce that the campaign encourages people to try more of.
A recent survey carried out by the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership revealed there has been an increase in people who have bought more locally sourced foods since the start of the pandemic.
It revealed that of those adults in Scotland who are red meat buyers, 14 per cent started to buy local or bought more local red meat since the start of Covid-19 pandemic and 17% of adults started to buy more locally grown and sourced vegetables.
The research also showed that people who were buying more locally sourced products did so to show support to local farmers and producers, knowing that they were helping the local economy.
They also felt the products would be fresher and of better quality.
Helping to launch the campaign, Peter, 20, from Edinburgh, said: “Scotland has so many products that go beyond the classic haggis and salmon, from everyday staples such as eggs, milk and vegetables to the more unusual celeriac, nori and scallops.
“When I’m cooking at home I try to cook with seasonal local Scottish products as much as possible. Although most foods are available in the shops all year round, it’s important to buy locally sourced food when they are in season as they are never beaten on taste.”
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is renowned globally for our amazing natural larder and we must do all we can to protect and promote our successful food and drink sector.
“From farm to fork, from pier to plate, there is something for everyone to try. And much of our seasonal produce is affordable and readily available.
“We know the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit have both had a huge impact on the way people shop, eat and drink and it is more important than ever to show support for our local producers and everyone working in our food and drink industry.
“The Scottish Government is committed to doing just that and I am pleased to launch this campaign, which can help the sector recover from recent challenges.
“Whether you are a self-confessed foodie or a busy parent looking to make a budget-friendly family dinner, there is a wide range of Scottish ingredients for every taste, budget and diet.
“I encourage everyone to explore what Scotland brings to the table.”
James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “Scotland’s food and drink sector is underpinned by farmers, fishermen, food and drink producers with a passion for what they are producing matched by their talent and ambition.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for them to have their hard work and passion seen by consumers.
“Our industry has an amazing story to tell and this our chance to tell it.
“We have always had the ingredients for success but after a tough 12 months, our food and drink businesses need the support of the Scottish public now more than ever.
“From our award-winning meat and seafood to innovative bakeries and dairies, it is great to showcase the breadth of fantastic local producers and encourage Scots to appreciate the unrivalled larder that we are so lucky to have on our doorstep.”