The inaugural Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards has announced SPAR Scotland as sponsor of the vital Small Producer of the Year category.
Scotland has long enjoyed an enviable reputation worldwide for the outstanding quality of its natural larder and its thriving £14bn food and drink industry is testament to the passion and commitment that almost 19,000 Scottish food and drink businesses bring to this vital sector.
The Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards will celebrate some of the finest branded and own label food and drink products available in Scottish retail outlets and has one simple goal: to ensure that more of Scotland’s fantastic products make their way onto more Scottish retail shelves.
Having the leading symbol group in Scotland on board as a key Partner marks a huge step towards turning that goal into a reality.
SPAR Scotland is operated by CJ Lang & Son Ltd, a Dundee-based family-owned company established in 1919 that distributes to over 300 SPAR stores in Scotland and employs 2,100 staff.
The company has a long and admirable commitment to supporting smaller local producers and currently works with over 150 local suppliers across Scotland.
Colin McLean, CEO of CJ Lang & Son Ltd, (pictured), commented, “As a family-owned business with more than 100 years of history in serving hundreds of communities across Scotland, we understand just how important it is to support the country’s many fantastic small local producers. That’s why we are absolutely thrilled to sponsor the Small Producer of the Year category at the first ever Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards.
'We view this as a fantastic celebration of Scottish food and drink but with a clear commercial aim: to grow sales for both small producers and the retailers who stock their products.
“We have always actively supported small producers and have long helped get more Scottish products onto more Scottish retail shelves and we currently work with more than 150 local suppliers in Scotland. During the current Coronavirus pandemic we have only seen shopper interest in local products grow and we are keen to play our part in helping add momentum to that trend.
“There are so many benefits to local sourcing that have, perhaps, become more apparent than ever under Coronavirus. Supporting small, local producers helps sustain local economies across Scotland, it helps safeguard jobs and it helps minimise our impact on the planet thanks to significantly reduced ‘road miles’. This is a great opportunity to help Scotland’s local suppliers grow and thrive.”
Originally scheduled to be held in March this year, The Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards have been postponed until March 2021.
Antony Begley, Director of The Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards and publisher of Scottish convenience retailing trade magazine Scottish Local Retailer, said, “Just as it did for most businesses, Coronavirus has forced us to become more flexible after it put paid to our plans to host the inaugural Awards at The Sheraton in Edinburgh in March, but we are really excited about our virtual event planned for March next year.
“If anything, the Covid-19 pandemic has served to strengthen our belief that there is a greater need than ever for these Awards. We have seen only too clearly how fragile many local communities are in Scotland over the last seven or eight months and how important local, regional and national sourcing has become in helping protect local economies.
“We are so pleased that Scotland’s leading convenience retailing group has come on board to help us support more small producers and to get more Scottish products onto more Scottish shelves. SPAR Scotland is the perfect Partner to help us meet our objectives.
Fellow Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards Director, Helen Lyons added, “The Awards respond directly to increasing consumer demand for local products and will be to the benefit of everyone involved from producers and suppliers to wholesalers, retailers and, ultimately, to consumers themselves.”
Entries will be welcomed from all companies that produce and market products in Scotland for the Scottish retail marketplace, from discounters to supermarkets, from convenience stores to farm shops and everyone in between.
The Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards is supported by a panel of distinguished judges which will be led by internationally-renowned food expert Jane Milton and a large team of highly respected independent food and drink experts. Official ambassador for the awards will be Bruce Langlands, a highly esteemed figure and former Director of Foods at Harrods and Director of Food & Hospitality at Selfridges.
The Awards also benefit from the support of Scotland’s largest circulation newspapers with The Scottish Sun, The Times in Scotland and The Sunday Times in Scotland confirmed as official Consumer Media Partners.