Project launched to promote local produce in stores

The Scottish Government aims to increase local produce in convenience stores.

Project launched to promote local produce in stores Pixabay

A new initiative launched by the Scottish Government aims to increase local produce in convenience stores.

The Go Local project is currently funding 10 shops across the country to become marketplaces selling more local produce.

An initial £100,000 investment has been made in the first phase of the project, although it is not clear if or how it will be expanded in the future.

Grants will be awarded on a 50% match funded basis, with the government and retailer evenly splitting the expense of installing new equipment, to a maximum of £10,000.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Convenience stores have played a vital role supporting their local communities through the pandemic – this initiative offers the chance to enhance their offering by stocking more Scottish produce.

“It will also make a difference for Scottish producers – with many struggling with other markets closed off to them, reaching more customers here at home could make a big difference to their businesses.

“Most importantly, it will give more people the opportunity to buy and enjoy locally sourced Scottish products, including fresh and healthy produce.

“This initiative is a useful addition to the Healthy Living Programme, which already supports Scottish independent retailers to offer healthy food choices, increase sales and assist in the goal of achieving a healthy nation.

“It all forms part of our commitment to be a Good Food Nation, helping everyone to take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they produce, buy, cook, serve, and eat each day.”

The Scottish Government has also decided that unhealthy options such as sweets, crisps and pastries will not be part of the programme.

Dr Pete Cheema, chief executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), welcomed the new initiative.

He said: “At a time when the food and drink industry in Scotland faces unprecedented challenges, we are delighted that the Scottish Government is providing funding for the Go Local programme.

“The programme supports not only Scottish retailers but also Scottish manufacturers and will strengthen the entire supply chain.

“Consumers have embraced shopping locally and convenience stores can now ensure that customers have access to a wider range of Scottish products.”

As well as financial assistance, Go Local will hire a specialist with experience in the retail sector to oversee the initiative and ensure value for money in the Scottish Government’s investment.