Then why not join this SRUC event which will showcase the breadth of their food & drink activities from product development & innovation to industry-focussed research, consultancy and education. From meat, fish & plant-based protein, food security, processing production, emerging technologies, & political drivers, to innovative food & drink product development – food & drink is very much a focus at SRUC. If you’re a food & drink business this event will give you a better understanding of how SRUC / SAC Consulting can help you and will also showcase some examples of products that we have helped to develop.

Opportunity North East will join SRUC at this event and provide an update on the transformational SeedPod project that is currently under construction at SRUC Craibstone. It has been developed with industry and partners and has been set up to grow the food and drink manufacturing sector in the region and nationally. Seedpod’s facilities and support programmes will put businesses at the forefront of innovation, productivity and sustainability, increasing high-value exports and creating new jobs. It will help businesses and the sector deliver low-carbon production and contribute to net-zero goals. SeedPod is due to open in late 2024 and is co-funded by ONE, the Scottish and UK Governments and is a key industry innovation project within the Aberdeen City Region Deal. SRUC is a strategic delivery partner in the project and is providing the site for SeedPod on its Craibstone campus.

SRUC welcomes this development on its Craibstone campus given its alignment to SRUC’s strategic growth strategy and food & drink expertise.

Lunch will be provided between 12:30pm – 1:30pm

The Food and Drink TechHUB Business Support are running a FREE online Workshop on “Green Marketing”. The free 3 hour interactive workshop will Include sessions from four experts on sustainability, marketing and messaging for the food & drink industry. There will be plenty of interactive elements, loads of time for Q&A and some 1on1 virtual time with the experts. The workshop will take place on Wednesday 31st January 2024, 10am – 1pm TechHUB Green Marketing

With Environmental, sustainability and carbon messaging becoming even more important to the consumer, it’s critical that your business gets the right messaging and you make the best possible decisions to be more sustainable.

It’s crucial that in doing so, you avoid green-washing, avoid using banned terminology, avoid fines and that you provide a true and authentic picture of your business’ sustainability. This interactive virtual workshop will help cut through the confusion and help you to get it right.

A“Cane to Cask” rum producer with a commitment to sustainability and a focus on high-quality raw materials, Matugga aims to leave an indelible mark on the international drinks marketplace.


Husband and wife team, Paul and Jacine Rutasikwa, co-founded the Matugga Distillery in 2018, and were one of the first in the UK to produce rum from scratch. Based in Livingston the Matugga Distillery produces a multi-award-winning range of handcrafted spirits with distinctive character and flavours which are distributed across the UK and Europe.

The company is also developing a sugar cane estate on family land in Uganda that will employ and train local agricultural workers. By harvesting cane from its family land and converting it into high quality distilling molasses the company will become a “Cane to Cask” rum producer. With a commitment to sustainability and a focus on high-quality raw materials, Matugga aims to leave an indelible mark on the international drinks marketplace.

Matugga’s initiatives detailed below, supported by Interface’s introductions to academia and various funds, showcase the distillery’s commitment to sustainability, innovation, and social responsibility.

The Challenge – Pot Ale Utilisation

A pressing issue for Matugga is the management of liquid by-products, a challenge since their inception in 2018. Facing escalating disposal costs and a potential surge in liquid volume due to expansion plans, Matugga partnered with Heriot-Watt University. Through the Food & Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund, they explored sustainable alternatives for pot ale, including potential uses in animal feed and biogas, offering additional income streams.

The Solution

Heriot-Watt University’s research looked into characterizing Matugga’s pot ale, proposing solutions that added value while considering the environmental impact. The exploration encompassed biogas, feed/food applications, and new product feedstock potential. The goal was to create a sustainable value chain for pot ale, akin to Scotch whisky distillers.

The research led by Heriot-Watt University provides Matugga with a sustainable solution for pot ale, aligning with their commitment to environmental responsibility. This breakthrough has far-reaching implications for both Matugga and the wider Scottish rum distillery community.

The Benefits

A potential path has been identified which can enable Matugga to return their pot ale into the value chain similar to how Scotch whisky distillers can, ensuring sustainability.

This not only benefits Matugga’s expansion plans but also holds promise for other current and future Scottish rum distilleries.

Overall Impact

Interface have been instrumental in assisting Matugga Distillers with several other research and development opportunities which include:

Matugga’s initiatives, supported by Interface’s introductions to academia and various funds, showcase the distillery’s commitment to sustainability, innovation, and social responsibility.

Matugga Distillery’s journey is a testament to the power of collaboration, innovation, and sustainability in the spirits industry. Through strategic partnerships and leveraging Interface’s support, Matugga has not only overcome challenges but has emerged as a leader, setting new standards for environmentally conscious and socially responsible distilleries in the UK.

The Net Zero Food & Drink Challenge Fund

The Net Zero Food & Drink Challenge Fund was launched in FY2022/23 by Interface and the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership to support businesses to accelerate their journey towards Net Zero utilising the knowledge base across Scottish Academia. It funded 17 projects of up to £10k each.

Projects were carried out between businesses and academia to improve their environmental credentials through the sustainable measures and learnings taken as a result of their projects. Type of impacts have varied from CO2 Capture, CO2 reduction, Energy Reduction and renewable energy benefits, alternative uses and adding value to waste, and sustainable farming techniques.

Aquaculture UK is the UK’s largest meeting place for aquaculture professionals.

Meet the companies driving infrastructure, farming technology and equipment forward. You’ll discover real-time solutions that boost production and profitability. And take away key insights on sustainability, welfare and environmental challenges.

Join your industry on 14-15 May at Macdonald Aviemore, Scotland, and share ideas to define the future.

Find out more and register.

Are you a seafood, farming or food and drink processing business? Is your organisation facing challenges and keen to discover more about how 5G technology can be used to manage records, improve camera video feed, remote monitor equipment and reduce time for machinery maintenance and more?

Opportunity North East (ONE) and The Scotland 5G Centre (S5GC) are hosting ‘5G Unwrapped: For Food, Drink & Agriculture Businesses’ at ONE Tech Hub on Tuesday 30th January from 12pm-3pm.

Hear from ONE and Scotland 5G Centre about the opportunities, facilities and support for businesses like yours. Listen to those who have embarked on a journey to implement 5G into their operations to solve everyday business challenges.

5G could help your organisation and enable:

Gain valuable insights and directly meet the people who can help with your upcoming journey and its challenges. Network with like-minded people in the digital and food and drink sectors and discuss how investment in technology could be implemented in your business.

Do you have an innovative product or service that could transform the dairy sector? Do you have technology that is transferable to dairy but need the right industry partner? Do you have an idea for a new dairy-based food or drink but need support and expertise?

The Digital Dairy Chain can help facilitate and fund all of the above and much more!

Join Digital Dairy Chain on Thursday 7th March in Dumfries for the opportunity to network with industry experts, find collaboration partners and hear directly from the businesses and people helped so far.

Everyone connected to or interested in working within the dairy supply chain is welcome.

A day to be informed, to network and collaborate!

The call for action to address diet related illness has never been stronger. But what can Scottish food and drink manufacturers do to play their part? And how might policy and consumer demand shape that action?

With change on the horizon, we want Scottish SME manufacturers to be ready.

This showcase event at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh, brought to you by the Food and Drink Federation Scotland and Interface is bringing together the industry experts who can answer these questions, and help manufacturers make informed decisions about reformulation. Know what industry support is available, decide which consumer trends and policies will fit with your brand, and learn about the options for reformulation from ingredient experts.

The speaker line-up includes:

You will hear from some of these funded projects as well as the latest consumer trends and policy insights. There will also be time over coffee and lunch to meet exhibitors and network with other companies currently looking at similar opportunities and challenges.

The Reformulation for Health team hosted by FDF Scotland enable and support activity to get healthier, reformulated products on to the dinner table. Interface connect businesses with academia and the two organisations have developed and delivered a range of funds focused on creating healthier products in line with public health targets.

There’s still time to register for next week’s event please contact

The Bioeconomy Cluster Builder and the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership Net Zero Programme are delighted to host this webinar dedicated to exchanging knowledge and building connections between food industry and industrial biotechnology (IB) stakeholders.

Biotechnology uses the metabolic processes of plants, fungi, algae and micro-organisms to create valuable products. Traditional examples include baking, brewing and cheese production. However, recent developments have seen innovative applications of IB across the food value chain.

These applications have resulted in improved agricultural yields, alternative proteins such as mycoprotein and cultured meat, sustainable ingredients like flavourings and colourants, and the creation of high value products from waste and co-products. In this way, IB has helped increase efficiency and environmental performance, making significant contributions to the decarbonisation of food production and processing.

Join the webinar on Tuesday 23rd January to learn how biotechnology is transforming food systems and to discover how the Bioeconomy Cluster Builder can help you connect with the right people and resources to support your ambitions in this area.

The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) is running a dedicated feasibility funding call to complement this event. Grants of up to £10k are available to support industry led collaborations with Scottish academics.

The Food and Drink TechHUB Business Support Service are delivering a second packaging clinic for Highland council area businesses working in the food and drink sector where you will be able to receive bespoke advice from our panel of packaging experts. The virtual clinic offers individual 20-minute, one-to-one sessions with our team of specialist consultants.

You will receive free tailored packaging advice that will benefit your business. We can offer bespoke advice in any of the following areas.

The panel will be hosted by Alistair Trail, Food and Drink TechHUB Project Manager and will consist of:

There are only 6 sessions available so please register early to avoid disappointment. The registration process includes questions about your business and packaging issues so please provide as much information as you can so the panel can carry out research before the meeting.