Since the credit crunch hit in 2007 (it doesn't seem like 7 years have passed), every company in the UK has had to adapt. One industry that I have seen change and grow is the Scottish food industry.
Scotland's deep routed love of fine food is well known, but the innovation and development over recent years has been truly inspiring,
A small country that has the ability to naturally grow some of the finest strawberries in the world as well as other truly mouthwatering fruits and vegetables. Add to that the natural and succulent fresh meat and fish (from venison and beef to mackerel and smoked salmon) and the new products such as Scottish cold pressed rapeseed oil and Hebridean sea salt, and we know that the ingredients are there.
What has truly inspired me is the vast number of people who have found themselves redundant or unemployed (sometimes leaving a well paid job) and taking the opportunity to create and commercialise their recipes and provide an income for themselves.
Over the last year alone I have met new Scottish food entrepreneurs including a Tanzanian lady who moved to Scotland many years ago who is creating some mouth watering cooking and dipping sauces in Edinburgh using only natural ingredients. When I first heard Maggie talk about her sauces, my mouth literally watered. A truly Scottish twist on an authentic and popular recipe from Africa, I have no doubt that you will see her products everywhere in the near future. To create a cult following in such a short period of time, and still be able to grow to meet demand, I am sure you will all remember MaRoberts sauce.
Another inspiration is someone I met only 3 months ago. Lynne from Supernature oils has created so many incredible flavours in such a short period of time. Using 100% Scottish cold press rapeseed oil (a healthy alternative to sunflower or olive oil, with a cooler boiling point) she has created over 10 flavoured oils that are perfect for cooking or as a dressing on salads.
I was initially attracted by their chilli infused oil, but recent products such as mint, ginger, lemongrass and even black and white truffle infused oils show just how adaptable new suppliers can be.
When you consider the number of great taste awards her company has won it is clear that it is definitely not a case of quantity over quality.
We are delighted to be working with these Scottish food companies in our new 2014 Christmas hamper range and we really look forward to adding more in the coming months. 2015 is the "Scottish year of food and drink" so expect some more amazing developments and products from existing and new producers.