Scotland business

Richard Lochhead launches 'local produce' drive

beef Image copyright PA

Food retailers are being urged to do some "soul searching" and look at whether they can do more to get Scottish produce on the shelves.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead laid down the challenge in an address to the National Farmers' Union (NFU) Scotland.

He also urged consumers to do their bit to ensure more Scots products are among the top sellers in stores by 2020.

New initiatives are being launched in a bid to boost local produce.

They include a planned meeting between Mr Lochhead and supermarket bosses to discuss local sourcing, and an allocation of £500,000 over three years to help Scottish producers get their products to retailers.

A national marketing campaign is also being launched later this month to promote local and seasonal food.

'Clear challenge'

Mr Lochhead said: "Here in Scotland we produce some of the very best food and drink, with excellent national and local delicacies enjoyed by many. But all too often, they are not stocked in Scotland.

"I will be in talks with retailers to agree steps they will take to transform their approach to local sourcing in 2015.

"But 2015 should just be a start."

He added: "Let me lay down a clear challenge to our retailers today. I want them to do some soul searching and think about whether there is more they should be doing to back the Scottish economy and secure food production in this country.

"My challenge is this: let's set ourselves a target of five years and make sure that by then, for items made in Scotland, Scottish products should dominate our shelves.

"We can do it for red meat - why not for elsewhere?"

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