A scheme aimed at encouraging convenience stores to stock local produce has been given another £190,000 of funding to continue the initiative.
The Scottish Government will award at least 21 grants to shop owners to help increase sales of fresh and locally-sourced food items.
The Go Local programme, funded by the Government and administered by the Scottish Grocers Federation, will help develop retail space in shops as well as the appointment of a dedicated specialist to source produce.
It follows a successful trial that resulted in a 34% increase in the number of local products stocked thanks to more space dedicated to them, and a 40% rise in sales of local produce at shops that took part.
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “This funding comes at an important time and will help food and drink producers be part of our sustainable recovery and overcome the challenges presented by Brexit and the pandemic.
“We know that consumers are increasingly interested in where their food comes from and are looking for high welfare and production standards.
“A diverse and successful convenience store sector is ideally placed to give customers the greater choice of locally-produced, healthy produce they are looking for, while at the same time helping to achieve our net-zero targets by reducing food miles.
“These grants and the specialist expertise on offer underlines our commitment to supporting this important sector and I would not only urge store operators to apply for funding, but for customers to continue supporting their local shops.”
Scottish Grocers Federation chief executive Pete Cheema added: “We are delighted the Scottish Government has continued its investment in the Go Local project, enabling convenience retailers to increase their range of local products.
“The sector has punched above its weight during these difficult times and the fact is it local shops who have made the difference.
“The results we have seen already have been impressive with a clear local multiplier effect, which benefits retailers and Scottish manufacturers, while demonstrating that convenience stores can also play a crucial role in the recovery and regrowth of Scotland’s food and drink industry.”