Key industry figures will gather in Edinburgh this month for a major new networking event facilitated by the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) as part of its ongoing strategy to highlight the growing importance of foodservice to its members and the wider wholesale industry.

This inaugural event, Bridging the Gap, has been organised by the trade association’s high-profile Foodservice Group and will provide a platform for suppliers to meet with SWA members, discuss market opportunities and share information.

Speakers will include James Withers, chief executive of industry leadership organisation Scotland Food & Drink, Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance and David Cochrane, chief executive of HIT Scotland (Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland), the charity which works to help people achieve their potential within the hospitality sector.

The event will be chaired by industry veteran Fergus Chambers, chairman of Ayrshire-based game fine foods wholesaler and game processor Braehead Foods and a director of hospitality industry consultancy The Buell Group.

Kate Salmon, executive director of the Scottish Wholesale Association, said: “Strong links between wholesalers and suppliers are vital to the continued growth and future prosperity of the foodservice market and by bringing together key industry leaders we hope to encourage further dialogue between our members and suppliers.

“Recent figures from the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) reveal that foodservice is driving growth of the grocery wholesale industry in the UK and is on an upwards trajectory – we must respond to this and work with our members and suppliers to help both benefit from what is a significant growth opportunity.

“We have also opened up the event to suppliers who are not currently members of the Scottish Wholesale Association in order to engage with the wider industry.”

Other speakers at the event, taking place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Edinburgh Airport on Tuesday, October 24, include:

  • Julie Dunn, president, Scottish Wholesale Association
  • Jon Mack, general manager, Bidfood Scotland
  • Ants Rixon, director of regional on-trade at Bibendum Wine Ltd              
  • Jim Rowan, managing director, Dunns Food and Drinks
  • Ross Brown, channel controller, Premier Foods