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Evaluation of


The initiative known as ( was launched in March 2003 as the industry information service for the Scottish food and drink industry. A first interim evaluation was conducted in 2004. This evaluation seeks to build on the 2004 version, and uses a similar methodology so that comparisons can be made. It aims to assess progress against targets and to measure the impact of the service on users.


The methodology consisted of separate online surveys which were sent out to three stakeholder groups: companies, partners and Scottish Enterprise/Highlands and Islands Enterprise (SE/HIE) Network staff (split into Account Managers and Non-account managers).


The evaluation finds that awareness and usage of the service has significantly increased since the 2004 survey. Amongst companies, 70% have heard of it and used it, compared to 58% in the previous year. It is thought that this increase is at least partly due to the new ‘e-zine’ service launched in September 2005, whereby news bulletins are sent to all registered users. Users were found to be very keen on seeing enhancement of website functionality, in particular through an email alert service which would prompt them to use the site more often. Despite this, no one acknowledged the new e-zine service. In relation to direct questions about productivity gains as a result of, respondents tended to reply in the negative with only one ‘strongly agreeing’ that had helped to improve productivity. More indirect questions however, such as whether had saved them time in finding information, produced a unanimously positive response, suggesting that productivity gains are happening as a result of but are not being recognised. There was a high proportion of ‘don’t knows’ and skipped responses which has made it impossible to effectively analyse the service’s impact on costs, income and productivity.


It is recommended that the service be further enhanced by creating an email alert service and users of the website be encouraged to think on a more regular basis about the impact (if any) of on their business. It is suggested that the following measures be taken to enhance the survey process: users should be alerted in advance to the fact that they will be surveyed; the survey should be designed in such a way that respondents cannot skip questions; and particular questions should be redesigned to ensure the optimum response. Recommends that Scottish Food and Drink user groups be used to discuss and pilot new survey questions relating in particular to the impact of on organisations’ productivity and costs.

Author SQW Limited
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Sector-level support
  • Sectors
    Food and drink