The work carried out by the Grampian Food Forum in 2012 is estimated to have boosted the Scottish economy by more than £2 million, according to its annual report.
The report, which details the Forum’s activity over the past year and measures its effectiveness, estimates that £2.587 million has been added to the Scottish General Value Added (GVA) and more than £6 million to the turnover of the beneficiary companies due to the work of the group.
The Grampian Food Forum is a partnership comprising senior members of the food and drink industry in the north-east of Scotland and the main development agencies in the area.
The group regularly holds workshops, awareness visits, dining clubs and skills workshops, in addition to the flagship Innovation Awards which has run for the past 23 years.
Of the 17 stakeholders and 52 businesses surveyed for the report, 90% said they would be financially worse off if the Forum stopped its activities, while 88% said they had made new industry contacts, 69% improved business relationships and 67% an increased knowledge of key industry issues.
The recommendations in the report include opening the Forum’s membership to businesses from the entire food and drink supply chain, contributing to a ‘farm to plate’ approach.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, said: “I very much welcome this report, which serves to highlight the fantastic work carried out by the Grampian Food Forum.
“Despite increasingly difficult trading conditions, the Grampian food and drink industry remains in good health and continues to make up a vital part of the north-east’s economy, so it is important that we support it in whichever way we can.”
Grampian Food Forum Co-ordinator, Elizabeth Mathie, said: “The participation and enthusiasm of the 200 plus businesses and organisations who engage and support the work of the Forum is absolutely key to its success, so a huge thank you to those who have been part of making 2012 so positive and I hope to see some new faces joining us in 2013.”
Maggie McGinlay, Food and Drink director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “The Grampian Food Forum is a great example of how companies throughout the supply chain can work together at a regional level to create an even stronger, more innovative and globally ambitious Scottish food and drink industry.
“The Forum has clearly provided some excellent opportunities for companies to come together, make new contacts, explore new market opportunities and learn new skills – all of which will help to create an even more competitive Scottish food and drink sector.
“We will continue to support the Grampian Food Forum and the opportunities that it provides for Scottish companies to grow and become more competitive.”
This year’s Grampian Food Forum will see companies go head-to-head at the event with several awards up for grabs.
The winners are scheduled to be announced at a presentation dinner at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa in Aberdeen on March 21.
Companies looking to take part should advise organisers by Thursday, January 31.
The full Grampian Food Forum report can be found at: www.bit.ly/GFFannualreport2012.