Yesterday marked the launch of Perth Food and Drink Park - a new initiative aiming to provide a new home in Perth for the Scottish food and drink sector.

Food and drink is one of the key sectors of the Perth city region with a number of innovative small to medium enterprises (SMEs), artisan producers and international brands already based in the area.  This experience together with easy access to Scotland's major trunk road networks makes it the ideal location for businesses looking for a central location as well as expansion opportunities for existing and start-up food and drink producers within Perth and Kinross.

Providing fully serviced sites in support of food and drink businesses, Perth Food and Drink will be the only dedicated industrial food and drink park in Scotland. It is being developed on a site at North Muirton, Perth and on completion will comprise 16 acres of serviced development plots.

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Plans are also being developed for the creation of a unique Food and Drink Innovation Hub in the Park which will provide flexible space, touchdown and hot-desking facilities and potentially a demonstrator kitchen.  This hub will aim to host regular food and drink related events, showcasing best practice and the promotion of new product lines.

The launch event was hosted by Councillor John Kellas, Convener of Perth & Kinross Council's Enterprise & Infrastructure Committee.  He was joined by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth, who spoke about what the development means at a national level.

Councillor Kellas said: "Perth Food and Drink Park is a really exciting opportunity to help further improve Perth and Kinross's reputation for quality food and drink production.  We already have many world-renowned producers working within the area who can attest to the advantages of working from within Scotland's heartland with easy transport links to the rest of the country.

"The Council's commitment to this industry is demonstrated by the investment in industrial land to develop a unique food and drink park designed to meet the requirements for producers of all sizes.  Developing the Park could initially support up to 11 businesses and offers opportunities to help support existing local producers who are looking for the right space and facilities to be able to develop their business to its full potential, as well as encouraging organisations from outwith the area to consider investing in Perth and Kinross."

Mr Swinney said: "Perth has strong credentials in the food and drink industry, with around 130 companies based here, providing employment to almost 1900 people showing itself as a city to live, work, invest and visit.

"The launch of Perth Food and Drink Park shows that Scotland's food and drink businesses are booming, latest figures show that the industry turnover is worth £13.1 billion per year to the Scottish economy.

"Food and Drink is one of the key sectors in the Perthshire region and this new food and drink park will support the continued growth of the sector in the local area."