One of the barriers to growth for Scottish food and drink is that many of the companies involved are small - the SFD estimates that 77% employ fewer than 10 people.

The SFD and the Scottish Food and Drink Federation (SFDF) are therefore encouraging companies to collaborate to take advantage of opportunities not normally available to smaller companies.

Taste of Arran is one such collaboration. The Arran region has more artisan food producers per postcode than any other part of Scotland, claims Taste of Arran development manager Maureen McKenna, but due to its remote location getting produce to the mainland is a problem.

So 11 local producers, making products such as whisky, cheeses and preserves, joined forces in 2001 to cut supply chain costs to great effect.

"Through shared distribution, customer bases and sales forces we were able to open up the market in mainland Scotland," says McKenna. "We've grown from a company doing a small amount of sales in Glasgow to a group doing a quarter of million pounds throughout the UK."

Members of Taste of Arran vary in size so there is no one-size-fits-all membership agreement, says McKenna. "For some companies we do exclusive sales, for others we're just a single channel. They contribute to varying degrees to marketing costs and some buy a share of the time of a quality manager."

Given the success of Taste of Arran, the SFD and SFDF will be encouraging more to follow their example.

Focus On Scotland