Over a dozen Orkney businesses are set to showcase their products at a major combined speciality food and trade fair event, which gets underway in Glasgow this weekend.

Scotland’s Speciality Food Show 2014 brings together 130 exhibitors offering the very best of fine food products from Scotland, the UK and overseas. The show, which regularly attracts over a thousand buyers from delicatessens, farm shops, speciality food retailers and food halls, will run concurrently with the Scotland’s Trade Fair event at Glasgow’s SECC, between 19 and 21 January.

Amongst the nine Orkney businesses attending the speciality food show will be traditional beremeal producers, Barony Mills. The event will be a first for the mill, which is operated by the Birsay Heritage Trust. 

Trust chairman, Keith Johnson, said: ”We’ve never been to one of these shows before, so it’s a step into the unknown. If we can get some interest in beremeal and increase the quantities we grow, it’ll be to the advantage of the mill.”

Currently, the majority of the mill’s beremeal – flour made from an ancient, six-row variety of barley – is sold within Orkney, with only a handful of speciality customers outwith the islands.

“At the show we’ll be telling people all the good things about beremeal,” added Mr Johnson, who will attend the Glasgow event with miller, Rae Phillips. “It’s unique, very healthy and part of the heritage of the country.”

Orkney’s crafts sector will also be well represented at the trade fair element of the SECC event. Five local companies are making the trip to Glasgow, including Westray-based knitwear and textile business Hume Sweet Hume

“When you’re coming from a remote location like we are, you have to have some way of making yourself visible to the buying public,” said the firm’s Lizza Hume. “People still want to have that one-to-one, hands on experience and it’s good to be able to discuss your products directly with your trade buyers or customers. You want to form relationships with customers and trade fairs are the best way to do that.”

Attendance at the event is being supported by an Orkney Marketing funding package totalling £15,000.  An initiative between Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), and Orkney Islands Council (OIC), Orkney Marketing funding is available to projects that focus on bringing local companies together in joint promotions, ensuring the islands maintain a strong presence in competitive markets such as food and drink, the creative industries and renewable energy.

Edgar Balfour, development manager for Orkney food, drink and crafts, said: “This exciting event represents the ideal opportunity to showcase a wide range of Orkney products on a national platform and further strengthen the islands’ enviable reputation for high quality food, drink and crafts.

“The diversity of local businesses taking part in the speciality food show and trade fair is tremendous and will give buyers and visitors to the SECC a real taste of what Orkney is all about. Clearly, all the businesses involved will be looking to secure new orders for the coming year, but there’ll also be a positive spin-off in terms of raising Orkney’s profile and boosting visitor numbers.”

The full list of Orkney companies attending the Speciality Food Show is: Argo’s, Barony Mills, Highland Park Distillery, Orkney Brewery, The Island Smokery, Jolly’s of Orkney, the Highland Brewing Company, Orkney Creamery and Stockan’s Oatcakes Ltd.

Attending the Scotland’s Trade Fair element of the event will be: Aurora Jewellery, Castaway Crafts, Fursbreck Pottery, Hume Sweet Hume and Sheila Fleet Jewellery. Tourism representatives from Orkney will also be in attendance.

ENDS

For further information contact:

Edgar Balfour,

Development Manager, Orkney Food, Drink and Crafts.

T: 01856 761430

M: 07762 596983

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