'A Taste Of Shetland' On The Move

by Alastair Hamilton -

Shetland produces a wide range of food, ranging from lamb, beef and fish and shellfish to chocolates, cheese, pickles, jam, honey and more. Beer comes from two breweries and there’s a distillery that produces gin, too.

A great deal of the islands’ produce is exported and some producers have worked hard to ensure that the final customer is aware of its origin, knowing that he or she is interested in the provenance and quality of what’s on offer.

However, it’s probably fair to say that a substantial amount of Shetland’s produce reaches customers without any kind of acknowledgement of origin. It will take time to change that, but a new initiative will certainly help raise awareness of Shetland food and drink.

A recently-formed group – called simply Shetland Food and Drink – has been established by local people interested in promoting the best that Shetland has to offer. They already organise the successful and expanding annual Shetland Food Fair and have plans to do a great deal more in the months and years ahead.

Under a new licensing agreement with Shetland Islands Council, Shetland Food and Drink will use the brand known as A Taste of Shetland in all its public work, including the Food Fair.

Marian Armitage, Chair of Shetland Food and Drink, says that the group recognised early on that they needed a brand to help them promote the islands’ products. "It's a fantastic brand - high quality, striking and perfect for our needs.” It would, she added, really make a difference to how events were perceived and promoted.

The Council’s Douglas Irvine stressed that it was very much the intention to work with industry bodies. “It's clear to see what a difference Shetland Food And Drink is starting to make in the sector, not only through the growing success of the Food Fair, but through their industry-facing activities and plans. We are delighted to be working with Shetland Food And Drink in this way."

Misa Hay, from Promote Shetland, also welcomed the new arrangement. "It's been fantastic to see the growth of activity in the food and drink sector over the past few years, from the work of individual producers to the difference which Shetland Food And Drink is making. Now is exactly the right time for the industry to have use of the brand."

The A Taste of Shetland brand, created in 2014, has been licensed for a nominal fee of £1. As part of the deal, Shetland Food And Drink will also take ownership of the web address www.tasteofshetland.com.

The brand will be used for this year's Food Fair (15-17 September), which will become the Taste of Shetland Festival, booking for which opens later this month.

Posted in: Events