2 JULY 2021



East Lothian Food & Drink, the leadership organisation for the county’s food and drink businesses, has secured a second five-year term as a Business Improvement District (BID) following a resoundingly positive vote by members. This ground-breaking second term for the only food and drink BID in Scotland underlines the important role it will play at a critical time in the post-COVID recovery of the sector.

First created following a positive vote in 2016, East Lothian Food & Drink Business Improvement District in partnership with East Lothian Council and Queen Margaret University, has worked to promote East Lothian food and drink businesses. This successful renewal vote will allow East Lothian Food & Drink to continue to build on the solid foundation and promote the high quality and sustainable food and drink of the county.  

Business Improvement Districts must hold a ballot after five years to ask members if they agree to its continuation and to contribute to it through a compulsory levy. The renewal ballot for East Lothian Food & Drink closed on 1st July with almost 90% of members who voted agreeing to its continuation.

Chris Luca, Chair of East Lothian Food & Drink said:

“I am delighted that members have voted emphatically for the continuation of the Scotland’s only food and drink Business Improvement District and that they clearly see the value of working together.

As a local food and drink producer, the East Lothian Food & Drink BID has provided us with a great opportunity to work together. Following the turbulence we have experienced since March 2020, I am excited by the vital role East Lothian Food & Drink will play in the rebuilding of the sector and putting East Lothian Food & Drink on the map.”

East Lothian Provost, Councillor John McMillan, said:

“I am thrilled that our businesses have voted to continue the collaborative and vital work of the East Lothian Food & Drink Business Improvement District. As we move into the second half of 2021 and the easing of restrictions, the emphasis on working together and promoting our fantastic food and drink to a wider marketplace has never been more important.

Now my challenge is which East Lothian tipple to choose to put in my glass and what to eat with it to celebrate another five years of Scotland’s Food and Drink County!

East Lothian Council and partner Queen Margaret University have committed to support the BID over the next five years.



20 May 2021 – East Lothian Food & Drink eyes second term 


Ballot papers are being issued today (20th May) to all eligible food and drink businesses in East Lothian to decide (by 1st July) to renew their ground -breaking Business Improvement District for a further five year term, as the sector faces the challenge of recovery following the pandemic lockdowns. 


First created following a positive vote in 2016, East Lothian Food & Drink Business Improvement District in partnership with East Lothian Council and Queen Margaret University, has worked to promote East Lothian food and drink businesses. By creating a unifying voice and marketing East Lothian as a quality provider of outstanding produce, the sector has benefited from a range of initiatives from direct selling to attendance at events and the creation of a digital marketing platform. 


Now, eligible businesses now have the opportunity to vote on a second term and to continue to work together and to drive the rebuilding of the food and drink sector in East Lothian following the impacts of recent lockdowns, stay at home orders and physical distancing.


East Lothian offers some of the finest food in Scotland from award-winning organic fruit and vegetables, to choice cuts of beef and game.   Home to one of Scotland’s finest malt whisky distilleries, the region also produces first class gin, beer and cider.  As well as rich farmland, the county’s forty miles of coastline provides a plentiful supply of freshly landed fish and seafood and has seen success with less traditional produce including spices, oils, ice-cream and chocolate.  In addition, East Lothian has a great array of visitor experiences in food and drink, building and enhancing the reputation of Scotland’s Food & Drink County.


BIDs in Scotland have traditionally been focused on urban high streets, encompassing a number of different businesses.  The East Lothian Food & Drink BID pioneered a new type of BID involving a single sector with a wider geographical area and remains the only food and drink sector BID in Scotland.  


East Lothian Provost, Councillor John McMillan, said:


“The initial five years of East Lothian’s Food & Drink BID has seen many highlights and Scotland’s Food & Drink County is fast becoming a highly visible brand. From member feedback, we know that working in this collaborative way is bringing real benefits. There’s no doubt that the past year has seen many difficulties but it has also seen more innovative ways of working and our businesses working together to get their products to consumers. Demand for high quality food and drink has not waned during the COVID-19 pandemic.


I would urge all eligible local businesses to vote to continue this fantastic collaboration for another five years. As restrictions will ease as 2021 progresses, we will see far more benefits of working together and promoting East Lothian food & drink to a much wider marketplace. In the aftermath of Brexit too, supportive working and sharing of knowledge and expertise has never been more important. The levy businesses pay is not a tax but a direct investment that stays in East Lothian. I hope to be able to raise a glass of something local to celebrate another five years of Scotland’s Food and Drink County!”


East Lothian Council has committed to continued financial support of the BID if the vote to continue for a further five years is successful. It will also continue to provide expertise through membership of the board and the support of the Economic Development team.


Chris Lair of East Lothian Food & Drink said:


“As a local food and drink producer, the East Lothian Food & Drink BID has provided us with a great opportunity to work together and make the changes we as a sector want. We now have the opportunity to renew this and allow us to focus on developing the opportunities food tourism presents to East Lothian food and drink businesses.  I believe voting YES will release the huge potential to grow and develop our food and drink sector both within and beyond the county.”




7 April 2021 East Lothian takeaway batters competition to be crowned one of UK’s top 50




One of East Lothian’s most popular family fish and chip shops has been crowned one of the UK’s 50 Best Fish & Chip Takeaways of the year for the second year running and the only chippy in Edinburgh and the Lothians to make the prestigious list.


The accolade follows an extensive search by leading trade publication Fry Magazine to find those chippies serving up the finest fish suppers amidst a tough and challenging Covid year.


To make the 50 Best, East Coast on Musselburgh’s North high street had to impress a mystery diner who visited unannounced and marked the chippy on over 40 aspects of their business, from the quality of the food and customer service to their social media presence and their Covid safe practices. East Coast scored an impressive 97% with the mystery diner particularly praising the freshness and crispness of the batter and the flakiness of North East Atlantic haddock, as well as the environmentally friendly packaging, the smart and professional staff, and covid safe measures.


Just a short walk from Fisherrow Harbour and Musselburgh beach, East Coast is the ideal foodie venue for families to enjoy award-winning Scottish fish and seafood in the fresh sea air.  The upmarket East Coast takeaway also runs specials such as East Coast lobster with garlic butter and twice cooked chips, prawn loaded fries and monkfish scampi. They offer a kids menu and gluten free options are also available.


Fry Magazine’s 50 Best Fish & Chip Takeaways is in its ninth year and sponsors include Goldensheaf, Frymax, Friars Pride, VA Whitley, Henry Colbecks, Middleton Foods, KFE, Brakes, Profry, BD Signs, NFFF, Nortech Foods, Sarson’s and Acumen.


East Coast is also home to a popular Seafood & Grill restaurant, which is due to reopen at the end of April 2021 as soon as lockdown restrictions have been lifted.


For more information on East Coast, visit https://eastcoastrestaurant.co.uk and follow on social media, including Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EastCoastMusselburgh and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eastcoastmusselburgh


30 March 2021: Top tips for coming out of lockdown


Top Tip 1: Engage with your staff and review your risk assessments together:


  • Ensure everyone is clear on their role and the procedures
  • Set up steps to monitor that your controls are followed every day. Record what you have done to monitor.
  • Think about the need for work cohorts(bubbles).
  • Make sure everyone can get to work and return home safely.




Top Tip 2 – Utility Services


Ensure utility services (e.g. gas, electricity or water supplies) are safe for re-opening. Water stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing risk of Legionnaires disease.  Review risk assessment and manage Legionella risks before you re-start using:


  • the water system
  • air conditioning units


Top Tip 3 – Ventilation


There must be an adequate supply of fresh air (ventilation) in enclosed areas of your workplace. Identify poorly ventilated areas and maximise ventilation by:


  • Natural ventilation – open windows, doors (excluding fire doors), and air vents
  • Mechanical ventilation – use fans and ducts to bring in air from outside
  • A combination of both


Top Tip 4 – Hand hygiene and Cleaning








Provide enough alcohol-based hand gel stations throughout the business for employees and customers to maintain cleans hands. Important to maintain clean hands throughout the working day.








Design a cleaning schedule and train staff on its implementation. Include:








  • Work areas
  • Staff rooms
  • Canteens
  • Toilets
  • Equipment
  • Frequent touch points (door handles, trollies, baskets, handheld devices etc)








Ensure these areas are cleaned and disinfected during the workday.








Top Tip 5 – Prepare for Physical Distancing








You are required to keep a 2-metre physical distance between all persons to minimise COVID-19 transmission. Remember to identify pinch points and busy areas.








Consider how you will:








  • Limit customer numbers into shop at one time
  • Manage queues inside and outdoors e.g. 2m interval floor markings
  • Mark 2m intervals on the floor inside
  • Introduce safe routes i.e. One-way systems
  • Remind customers of physical distancing i.e. tannoy announcements or taped messages
  • Highlight pinch points and busy areas with signs to remind about physical distancing
  • Screen at service counters
  • Stagger start times, finish times and breaks















19 March 2021
















East Lothian Food and Drink, the leadership organisation for the county’s food and drink businesses, has appointed two new directors to its Board as it prepares to work to rebuild the sector after COVID.








The collaboration of local food and drink businesses, formed into a Business Improvement District in 2016, is preparing to launch a renewal ballot to seek a second five year term and the new Boar members add new skills and leadership at a critical time for local businesses as they prepare for the post-COVID recovery.








Ian Smith, Head of Corporate Relations at Diageo Scotland, which owns Glenkinchie Distillery at Pencaitland, and David Albers, Commercial Director at Purely Scottish Water, based at Oldhamstocks, bring strong communications and business experience to the Board.








Chris Luca, Chair of East Lothian Food and Drink said








“We are delighted to welcome Ian and David to our Board at this exciting time as we plan to ask our members to vote yes to a second term for the BID. This strengthened Board will allow East Lothian Food and Drink to play an important role in supporting the recovery of our industry from the crisis of the last year”.








Ian Smith, Head of Corporate Relations and Diageo Scotland, who lives in North Berwick, said:








“There has never been an more important time for collaboration amongst businesses than now, as we all face the challenge of rebuilding in the wake of the COVID pandemic, and I’m pleased to be able to do my bit by joining the Board of this brilliant organisation. The Business Improvement District renewal gives us a pivotal opportunity to work together to and to make East Lothian synonymous with quality food and drink produce and visitor experiences”.








David Albers, Commercial Director at Purely Scottish Water added








“As Scotland’s first and only sector-based Business Improvement District, East Lothian Food and Drink is clearly an ambitious organisation and I’m looking forward to helping shape the organisation as we reset our priorities and help our sector recover in 2021 and beyond.”








The five-year initial Business Improvement District term comes to an end in July 2021 and East Lothian Food and Drink members will be asked to vote on renewing the term which would allow the BID to operate until 2026.








The Board of Directors is comprised of five members of the representative companies as well as members of East Lothian Council.








For more information contact
Karen Galloway
Business Manager = East Lothian Food and Drink
+44 7377 721459

Ian Smith, Head of Corporate Relations, Diageo Scotland

David Albers, Commercial Director, Purely Scottish Water (Well Water Company)

2 March 2021








‘Scotland’s Dairy Sector – Rising to the Top 2030’ Launched








The refreshed strategy for the Scottish Dairy sector was launched online today. ‘Scotland’s Dairy Sector – Rising to the Top 2030’, sets out a new vision for the sector and five key priority areas for sustainable growth. The work led and championed by the Scottish Dairy Growth Board has built on the lessons and the success of the previous activity ‘Ambition 2025’ which commenced in 2014.








Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment Ben Macpherson said:








“We can be rightly proud of Scotland’s dairy industry which has some of the best milk fields in the world thanks to our ideal climate, good farming practices, investment in on-farm technology adoption and innovation. The launch of the refreshed dairy strategy marks an exciting new chapter of Scotland’s food and drink success story and will help us build on the already proven demand for added-value Scottish products, particularly in cheese.








“We are looking to the future across farming and food production and last year we set up the Dairy Climate Group, chaired by Jackie McCreery. This group is focussing on how the dairy industry can become more sustainable, to reduce emissions and tackle climate change. We know there are particular challenges here for dairy farmers and the wider industry, but with a collective will to adapt and change, dairy farming can play its part in helping to reach our ambitious targets.”








The vision for the refreshed strategy highlights that Scotland has the perfect natural environment for global dairy production, producing milk to meet the needs of the market. Driving sustainable productivity and efficiency on farms will be critical as will ensuring minimal environmental impact and seeking a better return for farmers and those in the supply chain.








The key priority recommendations focus on driving international and UK market growth underpinned with strong assured and authentic credentials of sustainable and conscientious production; encouraging new investment; realigning farming support and advice to sector needs; managing the sector’s response to climate change; and developing market-responsive supply chains. These are all characteristics that not only deliver a competitive quality milk product but respond to demand by consumers for provenance and transparency in the supply chain.








Commenting on the new strategy, Paul Grant Chairman of the Scottish Dairy Growth Board said,








“In 2014, the Scottish dairy sector became the first sector in the Scottish food and drink industry to launch its own plan setting out its ambition for growth. Since then the world has changed and if there is one common dominator in our future it will be that constant state of flux, which will be driven by climate change, technology, data, insights, world demographics, global trading and how consumers shop. Our new strategy will help steer the sector towards those opportunities and create real sustainable growth for the future”.








He added,








“We know that bespoke, dedicated sector championing works and is critical to future success. We believe that through our co-ordinated efforts the dairy sector could be worth £1.4 billion to the Scottish food and drink industry by 2030 (up from £800 million in 2018). Most of this growth will be achieved through export activities and developing new product streams not currently offered by Scotland for growing global markets. Continued and upweighted focus is also needed in the home market where we know that demand is increasing for local produce”.








The new strategy is available at www.scottishdairy.com/brochure






























1 March 2021
The Great British Bake-Off winner serves up new campaign to support Scottish food and drink








A new campaign celebrating the wide range of produce grown and made in Scotland has been launched with the help of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ winner, Peter Sawkins.








‘Scotland brings so much to the table’, a joint campaign by the Scottish Government and the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership, encourages shoppers to explore Scotland’s vast natural larder and try more of the world renowned produce available on our doorstep.








The campaign, which has a dedicated website onthetable.scot for people to find out how they can get involved, forms part of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Recovery Plan to support the industry to recover from coronavirus (COVID-19) and Brexit.








With fewer opportunities to eat out over the past year, more people have been cooking meals at home from scratch – but many aren’t actually aware of how our shopping habits can directly benefit the Scottish food and drink industry.








Lots of supermarkets, local retailers, farmers’ markets and online delivery sites stock a huge range and selection of affordable, health, locally grown, made and sourced Scottish produce that the campaign encourages people to try more of.








A recent survey carried out by the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership[i], revealed that there has been an increase in people who have bought more locally sourced foods since the start of the pandemic. The survey revealed that of those adults in Scotland who are red meat buyers, 14% started to buy local or bought more local red meat since the start of COVID-19 pandemic and 17% of adults started to buy or bought more locally grown and sourced vegetables.








The research also showed that people who were buying more locally sourced products did so to show support to local farmers and producers, knowing that they were helping the local economy. They also felt the products would be fresher and of greater quality.








Peter Sawkins uses and champions Scottish products in his cooking and baking every day and is encouraging us all to follow suit.








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