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Wholesale chief predicts big festive period for Scotland’s hospitality sector as hundreds of brands prepare to descend on Glasgow 

Jim Rowan at Dunns

ONE of Scotland’s largest wholesalers expects the country’s hospitality industry to enjoy a bumper period this Christmas – despite economic challenges including the cost-of-living crisis and rising interest rates putting the squeeze on consumers. 

Jim Rowan, managing director of Dunns Food and Drinks, believes demand for dining and drinking out during the festive season will remain steady year-on-year, with industry data suggesting consumer behaviour will at least match Christmas 2022, which was bolstered by the one-off winter football World Cup and a ‘post-lockdown bounce’. 

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The wholesaler’s comments follow the publication of a study by trade publication Pub & Bar, which indicated at least 80% of consumers plan to eat or dine out with friends this festive period, with more than half saying they will do so on multiple occasions. 

There were more encouraging signs with work parties on the rise, as around six-in-ten (57%) of respondents say they plan to eat out with colleagues this festive period – slightly up on the same period last year. 

Rowan was speaking as representatives of hundreds of the biggest name brands in Scottish food and drink are set to attend the Dunns Food and Drinks annual trade show at the Platform venue in Glasgow city centre on November 7.

He said: “Challenging economic conditions and the cost-of-living crisis have had an impact on household budgets. However, early indications suggest consumers still plan to enjoy the festive season, which is great news for the industry. 

“All the signs point to a busy Christmas 2023 in Scotland’s hospitality sector, and our suppliers and customers are already preparing for it. We know our customers are pulling out all the stops to ensure this festive period is a bumper one, with impressive menus, cocktail lists, and offers to encourage the public to make the most of the season.

“The data is always helpful, but I think sometimes there’s also a lot to be learned from the energy of people within the trade. Everyone I speak to is really excited about the Christmas season, as the hangover of Covid appears to be over.” 

Major brands and producers including Unilever, Remy Cointreau, and Innis & Gunn, will be in attendance at this year’s event – which has a Christmas Market theme – as well as Scottish producers such as Brewgooder, Mackies, Loch Lomond Group, and Vault City.  

Exhibitors in the hospitality and on-trade industries at the event are looking ahead to the 2023 Christmas season with optimism amid encouraging signs from consumers. 

Rowan added: “The interest in this year’s festive themed trade show has been very strong and provides a clear indication that Scotland’s food, drink, and hospitality industries expect to do great business this Christmas. 

“We have hundreds of representatives from major national international brands to local suppliers – all of whom contribute to the success of the industry. This year’s event will provide insight into what will be big this festive season and into the new year, as well as showcasing all the incredible produce that comes from Scotland’s rich network of suppliers and producers.” 

Dunns Christmas Market Trade Show takes place at Platform, 253 Argyle Street, Glasgow on Tuesday, November 7, from 2pm to 6pm.

The event is FREE to attend, however as capacity is limited, attendees are encouraged to register here.

For more information on Dunns Food and Drinks, visit the website.

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