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Interim evaluation of Scotland Food and Drink


Scottish Food and Drink (SF&D) was established as an industry-led membership organisation which aimed to bring together the whole supply chain involved in the food and drink industry in Scotland under a common strategy and purpose to support industry growth. This interim evaluation aimed to assess the efficacy of public sector investment in SF&D over the past three years, identify what has been achieved to date, and make recommendations to inform future public sector investment.


The methodology consisted of: a review of existing information and data for SF&D; 21 semi-structured consultations with SF&D staff, Board, Executive Group and public sector funders; a telephone survey of 40 businesses that have directly engaged with SF&D; a wider online survey of members and non-members that have also engaged with SF&D (only two responses); and the development of monitoring and evaluation framework to capture progress towards objectives.


The report finds that through SF&D momentum has been built which will drive future improvements. SF&D has become a credible body for the industry. Progress made includes: the establishment of a coherent joint leadership body; the initiation and development of some larger projects; successful influence with the Scottish Government; the development of a single strategy for the industry; the successful establishment of a common identity and brand for the industry; and the broadening of the range and type of partner and member organisations. Membership build-up of SF&D was slower than expected, but has now grown consistently over the last couple of years, with renewals on target. Partnership working has progressed, but risks stalling if deeper levels of collaboration are not reached. A major success has been building the reputation of Scottish food and drink, especially internationally. A key success in the role of SF&D has been the relationship it has built with public sector agencies. Issues such as fragmentation, and the lack of industry wide social capital, still exist in the industry.


The report recommends that: clarity is needed on the roles and responsibilities of SF&D's Board and the Executive Group, in particular where the decisions are made on prioritising activity and investment; the full implications and the resources required of pursuing a membership business model should be considered; and clarity is also needed on the long term vision for the organisation and structure. To move from strategy development to action in delivery, committment and co-operation from Executive Group partners is required. Work to engender a move towards collaborative sharing of resources and joint working with SF&D's partners would be beneficial and should be taken forward by the Executive Group. The good work that has been done to build the reputation of Scottish food and drink should be continued. SF&D's strong influence and support should continue to be nurtured to ensure that food and drink issues in Scotland are coherently and strongly represented. There is still a need for public sector support to help address market failures and the public sector needs to identify the role it wishes to play in future: the report outlines various options, highlighting the key risks and challenges of each. Understanding all stakeholders' plans is essential to move effectively to the next stage of delivery for SF&D, which should drive commitments and joint planning to provide the resources to adequately deliver the strategy.

Author EKOS Ltd
Published Year 2011
Report Type Evaluation
  • Business infrastructure
    Supporting key sectors
  • Sectors
    Food and drink