Food Forum praised for economic boost

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 study 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.

The Food Forum is a partnership comprising senior members of the food and drink industry in the North-east and the main development agencies in the area. The group regularly holds workshops, awareness visits and dining clubs, in addition to the Innovation Awards which has run for 23 years.

Of the 17 stakeholders and 52 businesses surveyed, 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 the entire food and drink supply chain, contributing to a ‘farm to plate’ approach.

Aberdeenshire’s infrastructure services committee chair, Cllr Peter Argyle, praised the Forum’s work.

He said: “Despite 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.” 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 such a good year for the industry.”