Bakery companies were out in force at the first Tesco ‘Enjoy the Taste of Scotland’ event, held in Edinburgh in April.

The pioneering event brought together 68 Scottish food and drink producers, exhibiting the “best” from Scotland’s larder in one place. Tesco’s chairman David Reid opened the event, along with Minister for Agriculture & Rural Affairs Ross Finnie, in the prestigious surroundings of The Hub festival centre in Edinburgh.

Throughout the three-day event, over 9,500 visitors discovered, tasted and bought a mouth-watering array of food, available in Scottish Tesco stores.

The event encompassed various themed areas, including bakery, dairy, meat, healthy-eating, fresh produce, confectionery, ice creams, beers and whiskies. There were hundreds of products to sample, some of which are only available in three or four stores where they are produced locally, and others that are available nationally. Visitors looking for inspirational culinary creations whet their appetites at the Tesco Celebrity Kitchen, manned by chefs including Scotland’s Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart.

Highlighting local provenance

Sarah Mackie, the retailer’s senior Scottish buyer, orchestrated the event. She said: “The main purpose of the event was to raise awareness of Scottish food and drink. The diversity and the quality produced in Scotland is impressive and something we should all be proud of. It was an excellent opportunity for suppliers to meet the media and the Scottish public and share some of their individual stories with them, highlighting the provenance of many lines.”

The exhibitor list read like a culinary tour of Scotland. A number of bakery companies attended, including Macphie of Glenbervie, JG Ross Bakers, Robertson’s of Stonehaven, Allied Bakeries, Jackie Lunn, Bell Baker, UCB/California Cake Company and Morton’s Rolls.

Visitors to the Macphie stand got a taste of delicious bakery products, including hot cross buns, crumpets, scones, pancakes, shortbread, flapjacks, loaf cakes and muffins, all made using Macphie ingredients. And they also got to meet the reigning Miss Scotland, Aisling Friel, to mark the opening day.

Said Friel: “I believe the ‘Enjoy the Taste of Scotland’ showcase was an important event as it celebrated the best of Scottish food. I was particularly delighted to be supporting Macphie, as I know visitors loved the delicious food on offer at the stand.”

According to Macphie, all Tesco in-store bakery pancakes, crumpets, teacakes and hot cross buns nationwide use ingredients produced by the Scottish company.

Celebrating quality

Macphie has two Scottish manufacturing sites: Glenbervie, in the north, and Tannochside, in central Scotland. The company has nearly 80 years’ experience in identifying consumer trends and developing innovative ingredients for the baking industry. Its range of products include cake and bread mixes and concentrates, icings and fillings, cream alternatives, glazes, sweet and savoury sauces, desserts, flavoured butters, stuffings and soups.

Macphie chief executive, Alastair Macphie, said: “I believe nothing matches the quality and variety of Scottish food and the event was very busy and successful. We hope to see it repeated next year! It allowed visitors to discover an array of delicious food being produced on their doorstep and provided an excellent platform, as a supplier to Tesco, to promote our bakery ingredients to a wider audience and chat with end consumers of our products.”

He added: “The star of the show for us was the Lemon Melts, made using our Lemon Sensations Mix. Visitors were queuing up to get a taste; it was just superb.”

Raising awareness

Other local companies included family-owned bakers, Robertson’s of Stonehaven, which supplies Tesco with a range of oatcakes and butter biscuits. Owner John O’Dowd said of the event: “It was a fantastic experience for a small business such as ours, to raise awareness of our products to a wide audience. We talked to a broad range of people from the media as well as other suppliers and numerous consumers. As a result, we hope to increase the number of products that we supply to Tesco as well as increase sales of existing products.”

JG Ross, a second-generation craft baker, with 17 retail outlets in the north-east of Scotland, manufactures a wide range of products, including bread, cakes and biscuits. One JG Ross delicacy is the ‘buttery’ or ‘rowie’ as it is affectionately known in Aberdeen. The company produces over 60,000 handmade butteries every week.

Working together

Marketing manager, Suzi Coutts said: “It was great to see the Scottish food and drink industry getting the opportunity to work so closely together. To hear Ross Finnie, Scottish Minister for the Environment and Rural Development, suggest that our butteries should be available throughout all Tesco stores in Scotland is high praise indeed.

“It was not only a great opportunity for customers to sample the products but also exhibitors to sample other companies’ products and become supporters of ‘brand Scotland’.”

Bakery company Allied Bakeries’ range of Kingsmill bread and bakery snacks is available in Tesco stores nationwide. Spokesperson Millie Harasymiuk said: “Over the three days Allied Bakeries was able to showcase and sample a number of bakery products available to Scottish consumers. From our bakery in Glasgow we supply Tesco Scottish stores with a range of Kingsmill, Burgen and Tesco own-label products as well as bakery snacks.”