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Success Stories

Taste of Arran

Taste of Arran was created in 2001, when a number of small producers on the island grouped together in order to “export” their produce to mainland Scotland. It currently comprises 10 premier food and drink producers and acts as a single point for sales, marketing and distribution. The partnership has proved to be phenomenally successful for the artisan food and drink products produced on the island: direct sales through Taste of Arran have now reached £750,000, with total sales of the participating companies reaching £12 million.

Each of the Taste of Arran brands has a long history and these are just some of their fantastic stories of success:

Isle of Arran Dairies has its beginnings in the 1930s, when a family of dairy farmers began selling their milk. The revenue generated was used to invest in equipment to make ice cream and the dairies continue to produce high-quality ice cream under the Isle of Arran Dairies name. Isle of Arran Dairies ice cream is crafted using exclusively the milk of the island’s three dairy herds and is produced in small 200 litre batches in order to ensure the highest quality is sustained.

The Bellevue Creamery produces traditional cheeses with a twist. Their blue cheese, camembert and brie premium cheeses have won awards across the globe, including the World Cheese Awards gold medal in 2011 for the Arran Blue. Similar to Arran Dairies, the Creamery only use milk sourced from the three dairy herds on the island.

The Island Cheese Company has been producing a hugely popular range of flavoured cheddar for over 15 years. They create a popular range of traditional and deluxe cheeses that are hand waxed for added authenticity. The deluxe range is specially crafted in order to fit on top of the famous Arran Oatie, another brand within the Taste of Arran group.

Some 70% of sales are concentrated in Scotland, and Taste of Arran has enjoyed considerable success developing the “Arran Brand”. The food and drink produced on the island is recognised worldwide for its outstanding quality and care of production. Taste of Arran has also won two Food Tourism awards, and has been shortlisted for more. They also regularly win international and national product awards.

The Isle of Arran benefits immensely from having excellent transport links to mainland Scotland and Taste of Arran have already established exporting procedures for transporting their products throughout the UK.  When asked about their local area, Taste of Arran expressed a passion for North Ayrshire’s ultimate geographical mix of urban, rural and coastal areas, which no other place in Scotland can boast. This gives their group excellent potential for primary production, secondary manufacturing, distribution and sales. The short commute from Arran to the rest of North Ayrshire also allows Taste of Arran to take advantage of the extensive business networks the area has to offer.

Taste of Arran also have a strong relationship with North Ayrshire Council, who are always available to offer support on ecommerce, website, social media, international strategy, overseas trade shows and employability material.

They have ambitious, but achievable, plans for the future. The group wish to devise a strategy to increase their products’ presence in the retail sector and another to increase international exports. Scottish products are in demand internationally and Taste of Arran wants to take them there. In order to commercialise into exports, the group need help to expand and assistance with the supply chain. This will give the opportunity to invest in enhanced production facilities, further enabling Taste of Arran to spread a strong Scottish message worldwide.

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“I honestly have the best job in the world, whether it’s working with the food and drink or out and about selling to customers. And it’s all based in North Ayrshire.

“There’s nothing I enjoy more at the end of a high-paced week than sitting with my family, with brilliant Arran food and drink, and just taking in the fantastic island views. I’m also partial to a round of golf at the weekends!  Alastair Dobson, Managing Director, Taste of Arran