A new £250,000 capital investment programme to support small independent grocers introduce Food to Go stations within their stores has been announced by Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing.
Food to Go stations offer a range of fresh hot and cold food and drink to customers and the Scottish Government-backed fund will provide small grants covering 50% of the cost of re-fitting the store, new equipment and displays as part of our efforts to support small businesses.
Speaking at the Scottish Grocers Federation Conference, Mr Ewing said:
“Many of our small independent and family run convenience stores are operating in a very competitive trading environment and are having to adapt and innovate to continue to meet changing consumer behaviours. One such way of doing this is through the introduction of Food to Go stations, which entices customers into the store and generates a new income stream.
“Food to Go is fast becoming a growth market for many retailers but introducing the offer comes at an additional cost which can present a challenge to small independent grocers who are already operating on tight margins. This competitive fund will provide some much-needed support to those who want to diversify and expand their offer to consumers. It will also provide a great opportunity to further showcase the best of Scottish produce and encourage a shift towards healthier options”.
Welcoming the news SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said:
“We are delighted by this announcement from Mr Ewing. The Scottish Government is making an unprecedented investment in the independent convenience store sector in Scotland. This will ensure that retailers can respond to the changing needs and expectations of customers by providing a high-quality food-to–go offering with a strong focus on healthy eating options.”
The investment programme will be administered by the Scottish Grocers Federation. The Scottish Government will work with the Scottish Grocers Federation over the next few months to design the criteria for the programme and we will look to open the Programme for applications early in 2018.