With a larder full of high quality ingredients, rich in oats, iron-rich vegetables and oily fish, Scotland is well placed to play a leading role in the health food revolution. With the health food market expected to be worth an additional £685 million to Scotland in 2017, Scotland's food industry is leading the way to a healthier tomorrow.
Innovation is what keeps Scotland at the forefront of consumer trends. We have specialist colleges, universities and world-class research facilities, where scientists and food producers work together to find new and innovative products for today's discerning consumer.
Scotland's pristine environment and strong research knowledge
Health, nutrition and wellbeing are the cornerstones for a long and happy life. They are also the key selling points many domestic and global food and drink companies use to satisfy world demand. Globally, the health enhancing food market is estimated to be worth 39 billion USD. With its pristine environment, abundance of natural resources, and strong research knowledge, Scotland is ideally placed to play a leading role in this global food revolution.
Health benefits of kale and seaweed
Scotland's larder is an abundant source of kale and seaweed. Kale, once a Scottish staple, is now a 'cool' food, appearing on high-end and healthy menus all over the world. High in fibre, vitamins and nutrients, it has already been hailed the 'queen of greens'.
Scottish companies such as Mara Seaweed are experts in Scotland's native seaweeds, their flavours and how to cook them. Known as 'the superfood of the sea', seaweed is packed with nutrients. It's the most highly mineralised vegetable on earth, containing 56 essential vitamins and minerals, and has become a firm favourite with chefs across the globe.
Think global, eat local
Scotland's strength in the health-enhancing foods sector allows for the development of products which can back up their claims with peer-reviewed research:
- Our raw materials are rich in healthy oils and natural, health-boosting compounds such as Omega 3, antioxidants and lycopene
- We have a track record of excellence in crop development for soft fruits and cereals at the Scottish Crop Research Institute
- World-class expertise in human nutrition, gut health and obesity management at the Rowett Institute of Health and Nutrition in Aberdeen
- A strong involvement in the academic sector, facilitation and a highly-skilled workforce in nutrition, food and medical science
- A great track record of life science research across a number of different areas, including heart disease, bone disease and diabetes
Lower sugar, lower salt
At every stage of the production chain, Scottish food scientists are trying to improve and enhance on nature’s bounty. From natural, Stevia-sweetened soft drinks, to low-fat, low-salt and gluten-free products, the way we eat is changing.
While some consumers look to food supplements to maintain good health, other diners are looking to ‘raw’ and Nordic diets to help them lead longer, happier and healthier lives.
A taste of Scotland
Scotland’s larder, long-famed for the quality and freshness of its products, could hold the key to life-long health. Venison, once the preserve of the wealthy, is now being hailed as a superfood. Low in fat, rich in flavour and high in iron, vitamins B6 and B12, potassium, phosphorus, riboflavin and niacin, it is finding new fans.
The humble oat, one of Scotland’s oldest cereals, is also being hailed as a health food, with high street supermarkets and cafes each trying to outdo each other to make sure we eat our porridge.
Oily fish, high in health-boosting Omega 3 long-chain fatty acids, is also making a comeback, with mackerel and herring reappearing on some of the best menus.
Life is sweet
When it comes to soft fruits, Scotland is a market leader. Thanks to years of innovation and invention, our naturally sweet raspberries and strawberries command a premium price in the marketplace.
Grown in Scotland’s ‘fruit-bowl’ - the fields of Angus and Highland Perthshire - the crops, featuring many exclusive Scottish fruit varieties, are already shipped to a range of markets. High in vitamins and fibre and eaten either fresh from the punnet, frozen, or processed into deserts, yogurts or fruit-based drinks, they provide a blast of fruit flavour that is hard to beat.
With its fresh water, lush pastures and pristine seas, Scotland has long been at the forefront of the organic industry. Far-sighted farmers and suppliers, with a focus on quality and traceability, are already producing premium organic products.
Across almost every sector - red meat, pork, game, dairy, fish, seafood, cereals - Scotland can supply certifiably organic produce. At the end of the day, you can even wash down your healthy meal with a choice from a variety of organic Scotch whiskies.
A second oil boom
It’s not only the food we eat, but the way we cook it that is changing. While all eyes were trained on the North Sea, a second ‘yellow’ oil boom was taking place in Scotland.
Christened ‘liquid gold’ by its producers, Scottish cold-pressed rapeseed oil is tasty and versatile - ideal for roasting, frying, baking and drizzling. When the crop’s distinctive yellow flowers give up their blue-black seeds, the resulting oil is one of the healthiest in the world.
Rapeseed oil has less unhealthy saturated fat than all other cooking oils and fats. It's also high in naturally occurring antioxidants and is a great source of plant-based Omega 3. It's also a rich source of vitamin E.
A gluten-free future
Scotland is also leading the world when it comes to dealing with coeliac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis. The Scottish Government recently launched the Gluten-Free Food Service, allowing sufferers to access and manage their gluten-free food prescription through their local pharmacist.
Food producers and retailers have been quick to adapt, with many now offering gluten-free versions of old favourites. Even Scotland’s traditional fish and chip shops have got in on the act, with many now offering a gluten-free take on the traditional teatime treat.
The bakery trade is also adapting, with Scottish companies such as Nairn’s Supernature, Genius Foods and Angelic Gluten-Free all offering healthy, gluten-free alternatives. High street chain restaurants are changing and adapting their menus too, to offer gluten-free, lower fat and lower salt versions of their dishes.
How we can help your business
Whether you’re a wholesaler, retailer, foodservice operator, importer or an agent - and wherever you are in the world - if you're interested in trying, testing or buying the healthiest Scottish ingredients or products, our team is here to help you.
We have an extensive network of offices around the world. Our international staff live and work within their office locale, have a comprehensive understanding of your market-specific business needs and can help link you to Scottish producers and suppliers.
Find out more about Scottish food and drink