Asda searches for new produce in Highlands and Islands

Food and drink producers in the Highlands and Island interested in pitching to secure a place on the shelves of the national supermarket chain are being invited to a ‘Meet the Buyer’ event in Inverness.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is hosting an exclusive visit next week from ASDA aimed at food and drink businesses across the region which gives businesses the opportunity to showcase their products.

The event at Cowan House on Thursday 7 June will provide producers with an opportunity to see their products on sale at the UK’s second largest supermarket chain. ASDA has announced plans for three new retail stores in Scotland, the first of which is to open in Inverness in July 2012.

A similar Meet the Buyer event last year for Sainsbury’s was a great success for Maclean’s Highland Bakery with eight of their products going on sale at Sainsbury’s new supermarket in Nairn.

Neil Owen, sales manager at Maclean’s Highland Bakery, said: “It is a very effective route to meeting buyers that you would not normally get to see due to their busy schedules. The event went very well with a nice relaxed atmosphere. We are now hoping that our relationship at a local level will develop into a Scotland wide opportunity for our biscuit range.”

HIE has recently awarded £236,000 To Scotland Food & Drink to support the Access to Markets programme across Scotland during 2011 and 2012. This includes holding Meet the Buyer events, workshops, exhibitions and producing supporting information to help businesses prepare for and get the most out of these events.

Iain Sutherland, senior development manager at HIE, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for food and drink producers in the Highlands and Islands to have their products on sale at a national supermarket chain. We are delighted to be able to host the ASDA buyers here in Inverness and look forward to them being suitably impressed by the quality of the produce on offer.”

Stephanie Pritchard, Access to Markets programme manager at Scotland Food & Drink, added: “The Access to Markets programme is designed to help food and drink businesses access commercial opportunities with potential customers, as well as with building capabilities to enable them to develop and sustain lasting trade relationships. The ASDA Meet the Buyer initiative is typical of the support we offer companies and we are delighted to be able to help so many food and drinks businesses in the Highlands and Islands connect with one of their key customer targets.”

For more information on this and other Meet the Buyer events, please visit the Scotland Food & Drink website at

Anyone interested in attending the Meet the Buyer event next week should contact Stephanie Pritchard on 0131 335 0948 or email