Scottish consumers are being encouraged to ‘Go Local’ as part of a new funding initiative.

Through the scheme £100,000 will be invested in ten local shops to increase the space given to Scottish products, broaden the range of Scottish products offered and enhance consumer engagement with Scottish products.

The Go Local programme will be delivered by the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF), with Scotland Food & Drink supporting on the local sourcing elements of the project.

Grants will be awarded for the installation of new equipment dedicated to locally sourced Scottish products on a 50% match-funding basis, capped at £10,000 (i.e. 50% paid by the retailer, 50% paid by the fund).

Ten pilot stores throughout Scotland will be selected by SGF’s key symbol group members as being the stores which best fit the program criteria. An evaluation of the pilot phase is expected to be completed by June 2021.

Announcing the scheme, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP said: “Convenience stores have played a vital role supporting their local communities through the pandemic – this initiative offers the chance to enhance their offering by stocking more Scottish produce. It will also make a difference for Scottish producers – with many struggling with other markets closed off to them, reaching more customers here at home could make a big difference to their businesses.

“Most importantly, it will give more people the opportunity to buy and enjoy locally sourced Scottish products, including fresh and healthy produce.

“This initiative is a useful addition to the Healthy Living Programme, which already supports Scottish independent retailers to offer healthy food choices, increase sales and assist in the goal of achieving a healthy nation. It all forms part of our commitment to be a Good Food Nation, helping everyone to take pride and pleasure in, and benefit from, the food they produce, buy, cook, serve, and eat each day.”

SGF chief executive Dr Pete Cheema OBE added: “At a time when the food and drink industry in Scotland faces unprecedented challenges, we are delighted that the Scottish government is providing funding for the Go Local programme. The programme supports not only Scottish retailers but also Scottish manufacturers and will strengthen the entire supply chain. Consumers have embraced shopping locally and conveniences stores can now ensure that customers have access to a wider range of Scottish products.”

One of the pilot stores is Watson’s Grocers in Moniaive, Dumfries and Galloway. Owner Graham Watson said: “I believe that the Go Local programme will be an invaluable tool for retailers to effectively promote Scottish products and will give a much needed boost to the Scottish Food and Drink Industry. We as a trade have punched way above our weight over the last few months of the pandemic and it invariably has been the local shop that has made the difference to our communities. This new programme will enable me to meet the increased demand from customers for quality Scottish products and to support local producers.”

Earlier this year, the SGF’s Scottish Local Shops Report found that investment in stores during 2020 had reduced to £62m from £64m in the previous year. Meanwhile recent research by Lumina Intelligence found that consumers are more likely to buy local or British brands in the run-up to the Brexit transition deadline.