Research highlighted by VisitScotland shows that Scottish beef appeals to consumers more than traditional porridge oats, haggis and Scottish salmon.
A topic paper published by the national tourism organisation – which pulls together recent food and drink research from a variety of sources to explore the role of food and drink in the visitor experience - shows that Scottish Beef tops a list of Scottish food for its appeal, with 60% of consumers surveyed preferring beef over Scottish salmon (51%), porridge oats (40%), haggis (27%) and berries (27%).*
The research also reveals that almost 6 in 10 consumers (57%) most look forward to having tea at a local café, while 56% said that eating fish and chips outside particularly appealed to them during a holiday. **
And whilst German visitors love a dram while visiting a whisky distillery as part of their trip (50%), Scots are most likely to prefer a good old British picnic (33%) in the great outdoors, whereas Australians favour a good night out (61%) while on holiday in the country.***
The latest topic paper from VisitScotland’s Insight Team has been welcomed by industry leaders, including Scotland Food & Drink. Published on www.visitscotland.org the paper uses information from a range of sources to explore the role of food and drink in the visitor experience.
Almost all – 92% of visitors – dine out during a holiday to Scotland and VisitScotland is encouraging tourism businesses to consider food and drink offerings as a way to significantly enhance the visitor experience and make Scotland a destination of choice for quality food and drink.
Other insights include:
• 87% of UK holiday-goers think that that their food and drink experience is important while on holiday.
• When on holiday in Scotland, 43% of visitors speak to locals to guide and influence their choice of places to eat out.
• Visitors believe that trying local food is an integral part of the visitor experience with 78% agreeing that they like to find out about local food and dishes unique to the destination when on holiday.
• 55% of visitors to Scotland try local food, while 46% try local drink.
• 86% of visitors from the US try local food.
With the range of food and drink opportunities available in Scotland, from dining out to visiting a whisky distillery, participating in a local food trail or attending a food and drink event, satisfaction with food and drink is also high amongst visitors, especially among international visitors.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland Chief Executive, said, “The latest insights from VisitScotland are taken from a range of sources and show, without a doubt, the importance of food and drink to Scottish tourism. Visitors spend around £995million on eating and drinking when they’re on holiday in Scotland.
“Scotland is ideally positioned with its rich natural larder and world famous products like Scottish beef, Scottish salmon, haggis, whisky and gin, cheese and porridge oats, to continue to rise to the challenge and give visitors food and drink experiences to remember.'
Roughead continued, “Our research shows that our visitors’ experience of food and drink consistently outweighs their expectation but there is a real opportunity for hoteliers, restaurants, cafés and other food operators to provide and clearly promote Scottish food and drink on their menus. This can directly benefit the businesses, as well as pushing our food and drink offering further up the visitor agenda to make Scotland a destination of choice for quality food and drink experiences.
“Food and Drink is an integral part of the visitor experience and, by working together, we can promote the rich and seasonally variable larder and show that Scotland is well placed to excel in the provision of locally sourced, high quality food and drink products for visitors from near and far.”
James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said, “Food and drink is a real jewel in Scotland’s crown and this research highlights the growing importance of food and drink to our tourism offer and experience.
“Scottish food and drink is increasingly showcased around the world, from top bars in New York to high-end restaurants in Hong Kong. Yet, despite great progress over recent years, more can still be done to embrace Scottish produce at home and celebrate what is produced on our doorstep. We want visitors, no matter what part of Scotland they visit or where they come from, to get the opportunity to enjoy our amazing local produce.'
Withers added, “We are working closely with VisitScotland and the Scottish Tourism Alliance to develop a National Food Tourism Plan for Scotland, to cement Scotland’s place on the global culinary map. Doing that will boost the fortunes of both our food & drink and tourism industries, whose futures are more closely linked than ever.”
The VisitScotland Taste Our Best accreditation scheme recognises and celebrates businesses who provide locally sourced, quality food and drink. More than 1,000 accommodation providers, visitor attractions as well as restaurants, cafés and takeaways across Scotland already belong to the programme across Scotland.
Launched in September 2013, Taste Our Best is a joint initiative between the national tourism organisation and the Scottish Government. Assessors rate the overall eating experience, the extent to which Scottish produce is used and promoted, and staff knowledge of the produce on the menu and its provenance.
* YouGov UK omnibus for VisitScotland, 2014
** YouGov UK omnibus for VisitScotland, 2014
*** Scotland Visitor Survey 2015/2016
(image credit: Kenny Lam)