ButeKitchen is a collaboration of food and drink businesses on the Isle of Bute and is one of Scotland’s Regional Food Groups. A growing membership scheme with 30+ members established in 2020. The brand aims to bring together the fantastic food and drink products grown and created on the island, creating opportunities for Bute's farmers and growers, bakers, smokers and butchers, distillers, brewers and ice cream makers.

You were awarded funding from Scotland Food & Drink in 2020. What have you used this funding for so far and how has it helped the development of the region’s food and drink?

The funding has been used to part fund two part-time coordinator posts; one on island looking after our members and the other a marketing coordinator looking after social media and all things digital marketing. We have been working on our website and e-commerce platform, due to launch shortly. Our social media platforms have been promoting food and drink activity on island and raising awareness of ButeKitchen as well as the array of products available on island.

Who has benefited from these initiatives and are there any stand-out success stories?

Our biggest success to date has been the Christmas hamper initiative. We were worried about being late to market with this and launched our marketing campaign late October 2020 with a target of 100 hampers to sell. Amazingly we sold 170 altogether, reaching homes across the UK, mainly as Christmas gifts. Ten of our members contributed to these hampers, offering a selection from cheeses to chutney and tablet to gin.

What are your goals and plans for 2021?

Due to the pandemic, we were unable to capitalise on the expertise and creativity of island businesses to promote and sell island food and drink products to locals, visitors and off-island customers during 2020. After consulting with members earlier this year, we understand their needs are:

  • Support with digital marketing
  • Routes to market, simply put a place to sell their products.

This year we are planning with a focus on collaborative and digital activity encouraging and growing sales of island product. We hope to deliver:

  • a series of markets and pop-up shops on and off island selling Bute made food and drink
  • a series of events showcasing island food and drink experiences - chef demonstrations, farm experiences and producer demonstrations - based at producer premises or at the ButeYard food and drink hub Bute Yard – these will be delivered with the aim of delivering quality food tourism products to visitors
  • building on the success of our Christmas hamper product we have partnered with VisitBute to issue hampers and information on ButeKitchen and VisitBute to identified social media bloggers and other influencers
  • a series of short videos with local chefs and foodies demonstrating simple recipes for using island product
  • maximising impact of our e-commerce platform launching this year, effectively creating a digital marketplace

How can others support what you do, and ensure the local region continues to thrive?

One of the biggest challenges we see on island is that there are amazing producers and a really high standard of product but there is a lack of venues on Bute selling those products. While we can promote the benefits of using and promoting island beef, lamb, dairy etc., it would be great to be able to monetise this for producer businesses and ensure that there is a more joined up approach taken to the visitor experience on the island.

Find out more about ButeKitchen by visiting their Facebook here.