What's in a name - prospects for place-based food and drink producers in Scotland

A review of food and drink enterprises and clusters in Scotland's Highlands and Islands highlights the potential value of 'place' and opportunities for engagement with countries in the Arctic Region.

Scotland’s closer engagement with the Arctic region over the last few years has highlighted shared opportunities and challenges in terms of culture, demography, connectivity, economy and sustainability. 

The review was led by Dr David Watts from the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute. It aimed to identify potential opportunities for Scotland’s, and particularly the Highlands and Islands’, food and drink sector to engage with partners in the Arctic region. 

The report draws out contrasts and similarities between the Highlands and Islands and the Arctic Region, examines evidence of food and drink clusters and innovation in the Highlands and Islands, explores aspects of the values and behaviour of food and drink entrepreneurs, and suggests avenues for further work and engagement. 

David said: “The evidence suggests that Highland and Island food and drink enterprises which use local place name branding for their products are more optimistic about future prosperity than those who don’t. This emphasis on the importance of place in food and drink marketing chimes with economic development proposals being developed in the Arctic Region. The report, therefore, provides a basis for dialogue: between policymakers and the communities and food and drink enterprises of the Highlands and Islands; and with potential partners in the Arctic Region.”  

The report was co-authored by Sarah Jones, formerly of Scotland’s Rural College, and is a resource for thinking about and constructing social and economic development policies that work with and for communities and enterprises in the Highlands and Islands. It advocates development of, rather than just development in, the region in order to complement traditional economic development policies that seek to promote technologically innovative and high-growth industries. 

The review was funded by the Scottish Government as part of a fellowship scheme from the Scottish Environment, Food and Agriculture Research Institutes (SEFARI) Gateway.  

For more information visit this case study 

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