Thirteen North East food and drink companies join ambitious ONE growth programme

Thirteen food and drink producers from across the North East of Scotland have been selected for an ambitious business support programme that aims to accelerate growth within the sector.

The businesses in Opportunity North East’s (ONE) 2018 food and drink business growth programme (BGP) have started an intensive five months of expert workshops, best practice visits and mentoring. Led by ONE’s Food, Drink & Agriculture team, the programme will enable the businesses to develop focused growth plans.

The successful companies, whose participation in the programme is being supported by Aberdeenshire Council and Aberdeen City Council, range from microbreweries, to gin and liquor distillers, an ice cream producer and a traditional with modern twist Scottish smoked salmon.

North East Scotland has an excellent base for growth in food, drink, agriculture and seafood with its wide range of primary produce, sustainable production systems, new businesses, big name brands, international connections and a fifth of Scottish food and drink sector employment already anchored in the region. As a significant part of North East Scotland’s economy, growth in productivity, national and international market development, and product innovation are priorities for ONE within the wider context of a long term economic renaissance.

BGP companies

L-R Back Row:

Laurel Foreman, Wark Farm; Richard Pierce, Lost Loch Distillery; Susan Yule, Hungry Squirrel; Nicky Bradford, Kincardine Kitchen; Cameron Bowden, Brewtoon; Grant Henderson, Six Degrees North; Neil Sime, Blackford Craft Distillery

L-R Front Row:

Angus Willis, Forest Farm Organic Dairy; Emma Smalley, The Teasmith Spirit Company; Alex Murray, Portsoy Ice Cream; Angela Wiseman, Granny Bakes; Becky Groat, Devenick Dairy; Katie Sime, Blackford Craft Distillery

Not pictured Mark Simpson, Alexander Smokery.

The 2018 programme aims to catalyse growth in the sector by equipping businesses with the skills and knowledge to accelerate their development through the creation of new products, entering new markets and securing new retail and food service listings to increase turnover and create new jobs. It is designed specifically for owners and managers of small food and drink businesses with growth potential.

Patrick Machray OBE, Chair of ONE’s Food, Drink & Agriculture Board, said: “Achieving growth in our food, drink and agriculture sector is fundamental to strengthening and diversifying the regional economy long term. ONE aims to accelerate growth and productivity in food and drink businesses and capitalise on the region’s sector strengths across the quality of our land, primary production, processing and manufacturing, and, most importantly, our enterprising farmers and businesspeople.

“ONE is working with the 2018 Business Growth Programme companies to support their ambitions, define and implement ambitious growth plans, and emulate the success of last year’s participants in pursuit of significant growth across the sector.”

Participants in the 2017 BGP secured new customers for their products, increased turnover and number of employees, and made subsequent investment in new product development, premises and equipment as they scaled up production.

Ellie Sinclair, founder of Aberdeenshire-based producer of tomatoes and chilies, and a range of jams, hot sauces and dried chili products, Veg Co, and 2017 BGP participant said: “As a young business, I learned a lot in the 2017 programme. ONE encouraged the development of our rebrand and created opportunities to access new customers and suppliers that have led to a huge increase in sales and our customer base. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

BBQ, hot chilli sauce and rub brand Angus & Oink has developed a legion of global fans since being launched in 2014, as well as selling to more than 25 locations in Scotland. Founder Scott Fraser also took part in the 2017 BGP. He said: “The Business Growth Programme’s focus on major retailers was eye opening. From the best practice visit, we secured distribution with one of the UK’s leading food wholesalers which has given us access to a new range of customers and supports our expansion journey.”

You can follow updates on this year’s Business Growth Programme on Twitter using the hashtag #BGP2018.

The full 2018 BGP line-up is:

Devenick Dairy

Lost Loch Distillery


Kincardine Kitchen


Blackford Craft Distillery

Alexander Smokery

Hungry Squirrel

Forest Farm Organic Dairy

Six Degrees North

Granny Bakes

Portsoy Ice Cream

Wark Farm


Opportunity North East and Scottish Enterprise target growth of Oil & Gas supply chain SMEs
Investment in Opportunity North East to be doubled to £62 million over 10 years

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