UKMD Regional: Common Interest Groups

Arbroath Smokies Association of Producers


Launched in 2014, Arbroath Smokies Association of Producers (ASAP) is a small select group of local fish merchants who still produce hot smoked haddock using traditional methods.  They have joined together with a view to promoting and exporting this unique delicacy around the world under the ASAP label.

In 2004, the European Commission registered the designation “Arbroath Smokies” as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) under the EU’s Protected Food Name Scheme, acknowledging its unique status.

The group continues to jointly invest in innovation, product integrity and raising the profile of the inimitable Arbroath Smokies product and brand in the home and export markets.

Fine Cheesemakers of Scotland

Fine Cheesemakers of Scotland was launched in March 2016 and currently represents around 33 of the country’s best cheesemakers.  It aims to strengthen existing and develop new markets for quality Scottish cheese both in the UK and abroad and to do this through collaborative learning, marketing and innovation.

The group runs a series of learning journeys and technical workshops for its members, working with academia on areas such as product innovation, quality, food safety and improving routes to market.


Food From Argyll


To get into the event market providing quality food, a most effective approach is the one taken by a group of 12 Argyll food producers.  They created a ‘pavilion’, which became a visitor attraction at events, rather than just a place to pick up something to eat.  The marquee offered them the opportunity to create the foundations of a brand which highlights the quality and origins of the products on offer. The individual producers had to learn new catering skills and adapt their retail products into “ready to eat” offerings.  They also had to find a way to work together collaboratively.  All of this they did, with support from the Argyll and Bute Agricultural Forum, SAOS, HIE, SE and SAC. The resultant Argyll Food Producers was formed in 2008 following successful joint marketing at events, including the Connect Music Festival, T in the Park and the Wickerman Festival.  It is a consortium of nine food producers from across Argyll and the Islands, selling its produce at events under the Food from Argyll banner.    

North East Scotland Fisheries Development Partnership (NESFDP)

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The North East Scotland Fisheries Development Partnership (NESFDP) is a cross party, cross-sectoral group hosted by Aberdeenshire Council which seeks to provide a communication channel between the wider industry and its political representatives at all levels. More information can be found here on previous reports commissioned by the partnership. The groups meets quarterly and any stakeholders wishing to attend are free to do so. Held at Aberdeenshire Council, Woodhill House, if you or your company wish to join a meeting, please contact Derek McDonald via e-mail  

North East White Fish Forum (NEWFF)
The North East White Fish Forum is an open group of wide ranging stakeholders who join regularly for meetings every couple of months to discuss the whitefish industry in the North East of Scotland. The group range from sales agents, processors, fishermen, counsellors, associations and support bodies to discuss any key issues, challenges or opportunities that face the industry regionally. Meetings focus on most recent landing figures, prices and trends in the market, particular challenges and changes to the current industry and are held at the Buchan Braes Hotel, Peterhead. Any individual or business is free to attend, and can note their interest and find out the next meeting date with forum secretary Jeremy Sparks.
Scottish Apple Producers

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Scottish Apple Producers is a newly formed group of producers wishing to help re-establish orchards in Scotland and grow commercial apple production.  The organisation will operate as a network group sharing best practice and information to the benefit of all members. Producer membership of SAP is open to any business that grows apples for commercial purposes in Scotland.  Amenity growers are also eligible to be considered for membership where this can be shown to be in the wider interests of the group.    

Scottish Artisan Tea Producers

A group of 10 farms and businesses interested in growing tea in Scotland and located throughout Angus, Fife and Perthshire, came together in 2016 to form the Scottish Artisan Tea Producers’ Network.  The Community Food fund awarded the group a grant to conduct a feasibility study for tea growing in Scotland. The study was conducted by tea consultants Teacraft Ltd. and is now freely available to anyone wishing to grow tea.    The group imported, and successfully propagated, ~40,000 cold-hardy tea seedlings in 2016.  

Scottish Chocolatiers’ Network


The Scottish Chocolatiers’ Network, formed in 2014, is a network of 70 small-scale, artisan chocolatiers from across Scotland.  The majority of the chocolatiers in the network create their products entirely by hand, and go to great lengths to use the finest cocoa beans and locally sourced ingredients.  They have developed a Scotland-wide chocolate tourism trail to provide visitors with unique leisure and learning experiences at top chocolatiers across the country.  The Group encourages collaborative thinking on how to promote greater awareness of Scottish chocolate, attract new customers and assist wider development of the sector.  A series of workshops are organised for members and the group collaborates to attend key trade fairs, shows and events.    

Scottish Craft Distillers’ Association (SCDA)


Scotch whisky exports are currently valued at over £4.5billion per annum, with demand for craft distilled products continuing to grow, as demonstrated by the strong interest in specialist malt, luxury blended whiskies and new gins around the world.  In line with this growing demand, there is a corresponding growth in the number of craft distilleries being established across Scotland.  It is estimated that the economic value of the sector will be approximately £30m in the next three years, with the potential to reach £50m in 5 years, once whisky producers start selling their matured product. The SCDA was set up to encourage the development and growth of the sector, to network, provide mutual support and to encourage innovation.  It is supported by organisations such as Heriot Watt International Centre for Brewing and Distilling, Interface Food and Drink, SAOS and Scottish Enterprise.  

Scottish Farm Venison

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The UK venison market is growing at a rapid pace and Scotland cannot produce enough to keep pace with demand.  Scotland produces in the region of 3500 tonnes of venison per annum, of which just 50 tonnes come from farmed deer. A group of deer farmers and processor have come together to establish the Scottish Farm Venison Group.  It is in the very early stages of formation, but so far its aims are to shape the strategic development of the sector, increase the supply of Scottish farm venison, raise the profile and awareness of the Scottish farm venison industry, undertake collaborative research and identify new UK and export markets for farm venison products.  

Scottish Honeyberries Ltd

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Scottish Honeyberries Ltd is a newly formed co-op of Scottish honeyberry producers.  The co-op will produce and sell premium, naturally grown, Scottish honeyberries and honeyberry products and aims to position Scottish Honeyberries as the world’s premier honeyberry brand. Producers interested in finding out how they could become a member of the co-op, should contact Stewart Arbuckle at the email address below.      

Scottish Rapeseed Oil Group


This is a collaborative group of six Scottish cold-pressed rapeseed oil producers who are farming, producing and bottling in Scotland and are working together to raise awareness of this oil category.  The group was founded on two main principals – to work collectively to raise awareness of cold pressed rapeseed oil and to undertake research projects to demonstrate the health benefits of the oil and its versatility. The group is currently applying for European Protected Food Name Status for their products.    

The Brewers’ Association of Scotland (TBAS)


The Scottish Craft Brewing Industry is worth in excess of £100m and is growing at 20% per year.  The share of overall beer consumption enjoyed by Scottish Beer is 7.5%, which over-indexes the UK overall.  At the latest estimate, there are 130 craft brewers in Scotland, more per head of population than anywhere else in the UK, producing a wide variety of specialist beers. The Scottish craft brewing industry felt there was a strong opportunity to collaborate to align and drive product quality, heritage, provenance and Scottish craft beer’s unique selling proposition.  It also recognised the potential to develop supply chain initiatives enabling brewers to collaborate on, for example, logistic solutions to supply new markets. The Brewers’ Association of Scotland (TBAS) was therefore established to act as a development body for the sector, to drive the profile of Scottish craft beer and collaboratively market and promote members’ products within UK and international markets.  It was formally launched at the Scottish Parliament on 22nd January 2015.