Scots food and drink showcased in Middle East

James Withers: ‘we are hugely ambitious’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Scottish food and drink products will be showcased in the lucrative Middle East market following a unique collaboration with a major supermarket group.

Multinational retailer Spinneys will sell and promote products from 19 Scottish companies in its stores across the United Arab Emirates.

The company has agreed the two-week promotion following talks with sector body Scotland Food and Drink and the trade and investment agency Scottish Development International (SDI).

Between 17-30 January, Middle East consumers will be offered products such as Walkers Shortbread, Nairn’s Oatcakes, Baxters soup and chutney and Barrs Irn-Bru.  These products will be on sale in Spinneys’ top performing UAE supermarkets.

As well as raising awareness of Scotland’s premium grocery sector in the UAE, it is hoped the initiative will see the number of Scottish brands exporting to the Middle East increase, providing a timely boost to the economy. 

Ali S Ali, food and drink specialist for SDI in the Middle East, said: “Scotland’s produce is renowned in the Middle East for its quality. 

“This exciting partnership with one of the region’s largest retailers will further highlight our food and drink industry and increase international sales for companies participating on this project.

“COVID-19 and other pressures have undoubtedly caused difficulties for Scotland’s food and drink exporters, however, the appetite for Scottish products remains strong, particularly here in the Middle East.  SDI will continue to work with our partners to find innovative ways to showcase the very best Scotland has to offer in target markets.”

As part of the initiative, approximately 120 tasting and sampling sessions of Scottish products will take place during the two weekends of the campaign.

Warwick Gird, general manager marketing at Spinneys Dubai, said: “We are proud to source a number of great products from Scotland. 

“Spinneys works hard to maintain the highest quality standards for our customers, and the products we source from Scotland are indicative of these standards.”

The Middle East project is part of the Scotland Food & Drink Recovery Plan, a multi-partner initiative, funded by the Scottish Government, to support the sector with a smart recovery from COVID-19 and Brexit. 

James Withers, CEO of Scotland Food & Drink, added: “We are hugely ambitious to drive food and drink export growth from Scotland. 

“Our reputation as a land of food and drink is growing globally and projects like this which form part of a three-year continuous programme of action are designed to help reach that international audience looking for premium and climate-friendly food and drink.”

The food and drink industry is worth around £15bn each year to Scotland’s economy, with more than 17,000 businesses employing approximately 120,000 people. 

Food and drink remains Scotland’s top international export sector, with the latest HMRC statistics showing these exports to be worth £6.7bn in 2019.

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