New Food Forum chair moo-ves in

Keith Whyte has been appointed Steering Group Chairman for the Grampian Food Forum.

Mr Whyte, a partner in the local dairy business Mitchell’s based in Inverurie and has been involved in the Forum’s activities for over fourteen years.

He has held various roles during this time, most recently vice-chairman, and takes over from Mac Mackie from Mackie’s of Scotland.

Mr Whyte said: “I am delighted to take on the position as I see the food and drink industry as a valuable contributor to the local economy.

“The Grampian Food Forum, which was established in 1993, has a great story to tell and I am keen to encourage food and drink businesses to get involved and benefit from the well established network of contacts that has been built up.”

Claire Rennie, founder of Berry Scrumptious, an innovative local business producing berry flavoured confectionery using their own fruit from the farm near Fraserburgh and now a new range of Summerhouse Drinks, will be supporting Keith in the role of vice-chair.

According to the North-east Food and Drink Sector Survey 2014 the industry continues to deliver premium products and services and supports around 22,000 jobs in the area. The region accounts for a fifth of Scotland’s food and drink economic activity and this is also predicted to grow and expand in the next two years.

As well as planning for this year, the Grampian Food Forum is gearing up for a busy 2015, which has been designated the Year of Food and Drink. Various key events, including VisitScotland Expo and Roots Europe Conference will see many visitors both from the UK and international visit the area and sample the quality produce that is readily available.

Successful Grampian Food Forum initiatives include the Innovation Awards, which recognise Grampian’s most creative and forward thinking companies, and the acclaimed Dining Club, which helps strengthen the links between producers and the hospitality sector locally.

The Forum is also a partner in the Taste of Grampian one-day food and drink festival, which takes place on Saturday 7 June and is now one of the local highlights of the year.

The Grampian Food Forum Steering Group comprises members of local food and drink companies and representatives from Aberdeenshire Council, Aberdeen City Council, The Moray Council, Scottish Enterprise, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Representatives from all food and drink companies in Grampian are encouraged to participate. For further information or to join free of charge, please email grampianfoodforum@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.