Supermarket Summit held in Scotland

The UK's top retailers gathered in Scotland last week to discuss how they can work with the Scottish government to achieve sustainable growth.

Ateendees at Scotland's first ever Supermarket Summit discussed ways in which retailers can support the Scottish government to help secure a sustainable future for Scotland's primary food producers, as well as sustainable growth for the country as a whole.

First minister Alex Salmond, who chaired the summit, said:"Today's first-ever supermarket summit is a very welcome and positive start to our future work with top retailers.

"At a time when households across Scotland are struggling with soaring fuel bills and the rising cost of living, the Scottish Government is working hard to bridge the gap between the producers and consumers of food.

"That is why we have gathered together Scotland's major food retailers, to look at how we can work together to provide the public with Scotland's freshest finest food. By promoting Scottish produce we can add to Scotland's economic resilience, while supporting a healthier future.

"The Supermarket Summit is an opportunity for the Government to bring together the country's leading retailers and for us to discuss how we can work together to ensure a sustainable and profitable future for Scottish retailers and Scottish farmers."

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment Richard Lochhead said that the summit was an "important first for Scotland" and added that the government was appreciative of the efforts made by retailers to work together.

"Some of the most influential UK figures have gathered round the table today for a frank and constructive discussion, and great inroads have been made in our working relationship," he said.

"There has already been a seismic shift in demand for Scottish produce, with encouraging sales increases across a number of companies represented today. We hope by working closely with retailers over the coming months, we will help meet this growing consumer demand for the freshest, finest Scottish produce."

Fiona Moriarty Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said that the summit confirmed the sector's commitment to Scottish economy and demonstrated the importance that retailers attach to the Scottish market and produce.

"Creating conditions for sustained growth in the Scottish retail market needs the participation of every part of the supply chain so the opportunity for this positive dialogue with Government is very welcome," she said. "We look forward to working in partnership with the Scottish Government to continue to deliver the best for Scotland and Scottish customers."

Specific measures agreed by retailers during the summit included;

? Agreeing to join a retail forum to take forward the national food and drink policy, to achieve the freshest, finest future for Scottish produce

? Continuing to work towards reducing waste, including a new target to reduce carrier bag use by 50 per cent by Spring 2009

? Considering how to support 2009 Year of Homecoming.

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