Food from Argyll is a ground-breaking and award-winning co-operative of food and drink producers based in Argyll, who have been successfully delivering a range of events catering offers at large scale events, such as the World Pipe band Championships, T in the Park and Rockness, since 2008.
The group recently signed up to receive 1-2-1 business support under Scottish Enterprise’s Event Ready Producers project, to provide a ‘health check’ for current events catering activity in readiness for the Year of Homecoming 2014 and beyond.
As a region, Argyll is renowned for its larder of beef, lamb and venison, fresh seafood, cheeses and vegetables, and the group’s events food offer focuses around flavoursome, freshly prepared dishes made from these core ingredients.
The co-operative structure of the group and its excellent partnership approach to delivering and managing events is one of the keys to its success. While many food groups emerge from an existing retail offer, Food from Argyll already has a well-established ‘food to go’ group, with offers including: Loch Fyne Oysters; Bumble Cakes and Puddings; Inverawe Smokehouse; and Fyne Ales.
Additional member products featured at events, which enhance the core ‘food to go’ offer but represent more of a retail range, include: Inverlochy Cheese; Crystals Shortbread; Gigha Halibut; and Home Ground Coffee.
Sandra Reid, Event Ready Producer catering consultant, says: “The group is hugely experienced in comparison with many other producers operating within, or attempting to enter, this marketplace. Nevertheless, there are a number of areas where developments could be made.
“In terms of marketing and promotion, featuring the Food from Argyll ‘food story’ prominently in all marketing and point of sale material, including menus, banners, uniforms and vehicle livery, is certainly something that should be looked at.
“The group’s new website, currently under development, will present a fantastic opportunity to promote the ‘food to go’ offer more proactively to events organisers. Similarly, the site will be an ideal vehicle for promoting individual ‘food heroes’ and ‘hero products’, through features on individual producers as well as food stories.
“A series of short films has been developed and is currently available on YouTube. The films are ideal for social networking media such as Facebook, Pinterest and tumblr and could be instrumental in helping to raise awareness of the brand as well as individual producers, however to generate the maximum promotional benefit, links should be provided to the footage from the main website as well as from individual producers’ sites.
“The group recognises that customer feedback could be used more effectively to generate interest in online retail sales, as well as cross-sell to other suppliers. Electronic capture using an iPad or other tablet format would be one way of handling this. Alternatively customers could be encouraged to provide feedback online, with a competition or vouchers for online purchases being used as an incentive to register.
“A pre-paid postcard given to customers with food, offering options for them to receive information about different products and services, would provide valuable insights into customer trends and provide the group with a ready-made sales database”.
Businesses can find out more about the one-to-one support at http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/services/develop-your-organisation/event-ready-producers/overview, by telephoning 0845 607 8787 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For further Info on making the most of the business opportunities created by Scotland’s growing calendar of events go to www.readyforevents.co.uk