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.

Improving efficiencies in Food and Drink manufacturing.

With the recent impacts of Covid-19, Brexit, increasing price of energy and the cost-of-living crisis, it is more important than ever that food and drink manufacturers reduce production and manufacturing costs.

The Food and Drink TechHUB Business Support Service, in partnership with the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) are running this webinar to offer helpful and practical advice in how you can improve efficiencies in your food and drink manufacturing process to reduce costs and save money.

This 1-hour webinar will provide advice on Lean for profitability and growth and will include:

• Understand what Lean is, in the context of operations & business improvement.

• Understand how Lean can be deployed to increase productivity and reduce costs.

• Understand how Lean can be deployed to improve service levels and open new revenue streams.

The workshop will also include a case study from a business that has recently gone through the Lean process which has resulted in several improvements to their manufacturing process and significant cost savings.

The Food and Drink TechHUB is a Northern Innovation Hub programme funded through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal – a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands.


Family-owned Arbikie Distilling Ltd is aiming to be one of the world’s most sustainable distillers.

The Arbikie Highland Estate distillery is a genuine field-to-bottle operation – the ingredients for all their spirits are planted, sown, grown and harvested on the farm within a stone’s throw of the distillery. Records show distilling on this site dating back to 1794 – it is the field-to-bottle culture used by these ancient distillers that inspired Arbikie’s distilling ethos. Premium spirits can only come from the highest quality ingredients and drawing from decades of farming experience, they grow all the raw materials to make their award-winning range of whisky, vodka and gin.

The Arbikie Highland Estate has always been farmed with absolute respect for the land. The addition of a distillery has not changed their commitment to minimising any environmental impact.

The soon-to-be hydrogen-powered distillery at their Angus farm has always had a focus on sustainability. Production began in 2014 with the goal to add value to the potatoes which were deemed to be too ‘wonky’ for the farm’s bigger customers. Tattie Bogle Potato Vodka was born and from there they have gone on to release a range of award-winning gins, vodka and whisky including their climate positive Nàdar spirits made from peas.

The Challenge

The Scotch Whisky Association has set an ambitious target for the Scotch Whisky industry to reach carbon neutrality by 2040.  In order for the industry to reach this goal it is vital that sustainability is improved across the supply chain, including both agricultural practices and malting.

To reach these sustainability goals Arbikie needed to look beyond the distilleries four walls and consider both upstream and downstream emission sources. A major contributor to the carbon footprint of barley-based alcoholic beverages such as Scotch Whisky is tied within agricultural practices (e.g., the use of nitrogen-based fertilisers) and in the processing of raw barley into malt. Conservation barley varieties have been introduced into the farm rotation as they are known to have the potential to reduce emissions, whilst utilising low input agricultural regimes. The challenge addressed here was to look further down the production chain and producing malt from these varieties in a more sustainable way.

The Solution

Funding through The Scottish Food & Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund, from Scotland Food and Drink, administered by Interface allowed the collaboration between Arbikie Distilling Ltd and Heriot-Watt University’s International Centre for Brewing and Distilling (ICBD), to take place.  

The project focused on characterising the behaviour of conservation barleys upon exposure to industry-typical malting regimes and sought to exploit some of the known resilience present in such barley to reduce water and energy input into malt production.  Within its scope, the project successfully identified conservation barley varieties that could be used to produce malt of favourable quality.  Further, the results indicated that malt quality was similar between the typical and low input regime, highlighting potential for reduced input malt production.

Bringing together Arbikie’s knowledge of agriculture with Heriot-Watt’s malting expertise has resulted in the inherent qualities of older barley varieties being applied to the malting process to successfully develop lower input regimes.


The Scottish Food and Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund

This project benefitted from The Scottish Food & Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund, a key initiative of the Scottish Government’s Industry Recovery Plan, first launched by Scotland Food & Drink Partnership and Interface in October 2021, with the aim of encouraging businesses to take action on their environmental impacts through collaborative projects with Scottish universities in order to accelerate their journey to net zero. The fund supported 17 projects across a range of sustainability themes and companies.

The Food and Drink TechHUB Business Support Service would like to invite you to attend on online workshop on “Food Trends and New Product Development”. The free event will take place via Microsoft Teams on Tuesday 4th July 2023 at 10am-12pm. Food Trends + NPD

Recent events have caused a fundamental reset in human behaviour, and we may be in one of the biggest changes in consumer food habits for a generation. With the impact of Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic, new governmental policy and the general awareness of the consumer on the environmental impact of the food and drink supply chain, several new food trends are coming to the forefront for the industry.

Keeping ahead of new consumer trends is always difficult when you’re busy with the day-to-day running of your business. This workshop will offer attendees the opportunity to hear about upcoming Food trends and what consumers are looking for from new products on the market. The event will include 2 case studies from businesses that are using food trend information to develop new products. This will include an overview on how businesses come up with the ideas for new products, the development process, how they gather consumer feedback and then how they bring the product to market. We will also hear from Queen Margaret University on the Science of Food which will include an overview of the food science element of New Product Development and reformulation for health and the practical aspects business should consider when developing new products.

With digital increasingly driving transformative new national and international opportunities for the creative and heritage sectors across the Highlands and Islands, Shared Perspectives offers a thought-provoking one day conference exploring what this could mean for your business, project, organisation or network.

Delivered by XpoNorth Digital, this free event will take a practical look at how digital technologies are unlocking ambitious new areas for regional businesses. It will also offer a platform for creative and heritage networks to meet with other sectors, make new connections and discuss collaborative approaches to shared challenges and opportunities.

Hear from a range of inspirational speakers and take part in workshop sessions on how digital storytelling can drive key parts of your business, regional impact and opportunities around the use of AI, crowdsourcing for the heritage sector and how creativity can power rural economies. There will also be an opportunity to meet 1-2-1 with XpoNorth Digital’s specialist advisors, HIE’s Creative Industries team and members of local development networks.

One-to-one sessions are now available to book on the day with our XpoNorth Digital Sector Specialists:

-Jessica Fox, Screen and Broadcast Specialist Advisor

-Nicola Henderson, Heritage Specialist Advisor

-Tim Wright, Digital Specialist Advisor

Email to secure your space!

Produced as a hybrid event, attendees can connect with the programme in-person or online.

‘Net Zero’ means the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we put into the atmosphere and the amount we’re able to take out will add up to zero. The Scottish Government have ambitious targets to reach net zero by 2045, with interim targets of 75% by 2030 and 90% by 2040. Our first step in becoming net zero is to reduce our emissions by changing our actions and processes.

This one hour long technical webinar will give you an overview of what support is available from the Scotland Food and Drink Partnership to help food and drink businesses implement a net zero strategy. The session will also include case studies outlining some of the practical processes and procedures food and drink businesses can implement to move towards net zero. This will include a presentation from Windswept Brewing who are implementing sustainable energy and waste management innovations that will improve energy efficiencies, conserve resources and reduce waste and wastewater generation.


16.00 Welcome and Introduction to TechHUB – Alistair Trail, SAC Consulting.

16.05 Introduction to net zero and net zero response programme – Ian Clunie, Net Zero Programme Director – Scotland Food and Drink Partnership.

16.25 The Benefits of carbon audits to support Net Zero, Sarah Erbanova, SAC Consulting.

16.40 Net Zero Case Study – Nigel Tiddy, Windswept Brewing.

16.55 Q + A

17.00 End

The Food and Drink TechHUB is a Northern Innovation Hub programme funded through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal – a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands.

With the world being in constant change over the last few years with the pandemic, geopolitical events and climate change is it time to take stock and build some resilience into your business? See what challenges can be turned into opportunities, and allow you to grow and prosper?

Join this event to hear about where the Dairy industry is at currently and heading, what the Digital Dairy Chain can do to support you, where technology is taking us and what expertise and funding is available.

Everyone connected to the Dairy supply chain is welcome; from farmers, to milk processors, cheesemakers, ice-cream manufacturers, agricultural suppliers, hauliers and technology businesses.

A day to be informed, to network and collaborate.

Subsea Expo is the world’s leading annual subsea exhibition and conference, held annually at P&J Live in Aberdeen, and also includes the industry’s prestigious awards ceremony, the Subsea Expo Awards.

The exhibition and conference are completely free to attend.

The exhibition is a quality-focused event showcasing the capabilities, innovations and cutting-edge technologies of the underwater sectors, with over 185 exhibitors and 6,500 delegates attending the latest show.

The conference runs multiple parallel sessions and attracts a broad range of experts to discuss the challenges facing the industry, new and transformational technologies, digitalisation, clean energy and the path to net zero, among other topics.

The Subsea Expo Awards dinner is an opportunity to join friends, colleagues and peers in celebrating the accomplishments of the industry’s standout individuals and companies and is held at P&J Live in Aberdeen.

Subsea Expo is organised by the Global Underwater Hub.

Reformulating means looking at changes to your manufacturing process in order to respond to changing market conditions.  This could be with the aim of keeping your costs down or reduce the process, or it could be about repositioning in a new, more profitable market segment.

Earlier in February Allene Bruce from New Nutrition Business, the world’s number one provider of strategic and market insights into the business of food nutrition and health led a webinar, which explored ways to remain competitively priced during the cost of living crisis.

This follow-up webinar on 23 February, will focus on the support available from HIE and partners Interface, SAC Consulting and the Food and Drink Federation Scotland (FDFS). Hear from Carol-Ann Adams from Interface, Alastair Trail from SAC Consulting and Joanne Burns from FDFS about the help on hand.