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VIRTUAL FOOD FAIR BRINGS OPTIMISM TO FIFE BUSINESSES

Several Fife-based businesses, which signed up to participate in Scotland’s Speciality Food Show, hosted virtually over the course of 2021, have reported favourable enquiries, with one business confirming a new supply contract, bringing a feeling of optimism to Fife’s food and drink sector.

Of the five Fife businesses participating in the online show, Rumburra, Pittenween Preserves, BplasticFree and Feragaia, have all had positive experiences of exhibiting virtually, which has included video presentations, live Q&As and online appointments.

Rumburra has secured a supply contract for an outlet on the Isle of Arran, whilst Pittenweem Preserves was contacted by three new businesses in just one week. BplasticFree also reported positive news, having received four enquiries since the virtual exhibition started in January. Of those enquiries one was from South Korea, and the other three from the UK.

Whilst all these enquiries are dependent on the retail sector reopening at the end of April, this is positive news for Fife’s food and drink sector.

Fiona Audsley of Pittenweem Preserves, which makes and sells a wide range of marmalades, jams and jellies, said:

“All in all, I’m very impressed with the virtual Scotland’s Speciality Food Show, and the interactions I’ve had. I’m feeling optimistic as business is nice and steady and there is an extremely positive vibe, with the anticipation that when the economy reopens in April, that we are going to be extremely busy. On top of that we have been contacted by three new businesses this week alone via the virtual event, so it’s refreshing to see people are still willing to open new shops and cafes even in these difficult times.”

It’s a similar story for BplasticFree, having secured four enquiries in the past few weeks, with the three in the UK hoping to place orders once non-essential retail is back open. Catriona Mann, who set up BplasticFree, which sells Waxyz, its reusable food wraps, as well as offering a white label service, is in the process of creating a sales video having sought guidance from a range of training workshops led by Fife Council’s delivery partners.

Catriona Mann of BplasticFree commented:

“I have had four enquiries, including one from South Korea, and I’ve sent samples to them all. Like other participants, there is demand for our products, once non-essential retail reopens.

“My next task is to commission a sales video, which will enable me to reach more businesses over the course of the year. I’m certainly hopeful there are more opportunities to explore via this virtual event.”

Feragaia (/fe-ra-guy-a/), Scotland’s first alcohol-free spirit made from land and sea botanicals, has also been presenting to buyers online, as new sales leads are sought. It was last year (2020), that the business met a key buyer from Harrods at Scotland’s Speciality Food Show, which lead to a supply deal in time for Christmas.

Christopher Trotter Cook Books is also exhibiting virtually, thanks to support from Fife Council’s Economic Development Team as part of its Trade Development Programme.

Ann Camus, Enterprise and Business Development Manager at Fife Council, said:

“This is extremely positive initial feedback from Fife businesses participating in Scotland’s Speciality Food Show. Our businesses have adapted well to being online and showcasing their products virtually, using a range of promotional tools.

“These businesses are being proactive, in terms of lining up new orders, ready for when the retail and food and drink sectors reopen fully. It’s welcoming to hear their positive experiences to date, and we wish them well, as they continue to create new opportunities via the event, as well as boost their knowledge from training events offered by our delivery partners, over the course of this year.”

Five Fife-based food and drink businesses are exhibiting at Scotland’s Speciality Food Show, with support from Fife Council Economic Development’s Trade Development Programme. In addition, they have all benefited from digital and social media training delivered by Business Gateway Fife, to help them become digitally ready for the online series of events. This has included workshops on creating videos for social media and how to use that content effectively. Food from Fife has also been supporting these businesses with free membership, as well as networking sessions, which included a session on ways to improve a business’ digital presence.

Figures collated by Scotland’s Speciality Food Show highlight the increasing popularity of the online event. Between the event’s launch in January 2021 and early March 2021, 1,620 buyers were registered for the event, and 310 enquiries have been generated. In addition, the live sessions have generated a further 56 Live Appointments, and the Live Presentations attracted 480 viewings. More buyers are expected to join the event in the next few months, so this trend is expected to continue.

For more information about how to get involved and access support to exhibit at Scotland’s Speciality Food Show Virtual Event this year, through Fife Council’s Trade Development Programme, please email: fifemeansbusiness@fife.gov.uk.

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