Size doesn't matter in a country where quality counts The food and drink industry contributes £7.3bn a year to the Scottish economy and employs 17% of all people working in Scottish manufacturing. The Scottish pavilion, with its distinctive blue branding and atmospheric images, has been one of the centrepieces at IFE for the last 12 years. This year, the pavilion will house more than 45 Scottish companies in a combined initiative between Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Scottish Trade International, the three agencies charged with developing the Scottish economy and increasing exports. "Even though sales of Scottish food and drink are mostly to the UK and Europe, we are operating in a global market," says Scottish Enterprise project executive Dawn Lamarra. "We need to collaborate to achieve scale." One of the best known Scottish products and brands is Walkers shortbread, which will be the largest exhibitor in the Scottish pavilion. Joint md James Walker says: "We seek to capitalise on the Scottish heritage of our products and our company, and to use Scottish-ness to maximum effect." Walkers will exhibit its full product range, including an innovative liqueur fruit cake. Scottish Enterprise says success is not dependent on size and points to Simmers of Edinburgh, an independent company which was the subject of a management buyout from United Biscuits five years ago. Simmers' biscuit range includes several Scottish favourites. Among them, Nairn's brand oatcakes and organic biscuits hold both Scottish and British awards for best bakery products. The Mathers Group of Companies supplies a comprehensive range of beef, game and meat products for all food industry sectors. The company says quality is a constantly evolving concept and all its products are supported by EU recognised farm and quality assurance schemes. Kevin Gruer, senior development manager at High-lands and Islands Enterprise -­ the regional development agency for the north and western half of Scotland ­ says many companies have demonstrated that a rural location is not a detriment to market success. "We have a wealth of small and medium sized companies located in the more remote parts of Scotland, supplying customers not only in the UK but throughout the world. "These companies have identified their niche market, know their distribution capabilities, and deliver products that meet the aspirations of their customers." Among the many family owned enterprises are Sangs (Banff) which has won listings in regional ASDA stores for its new Justadash clear fruit concentrate in 1litre PET bottles, an innovative addition to the clear water category which allows consumers to mix their own flavoured still and sparkling waters. Handmade Cheese of Scotland is an association of artisan Scottish cheesemakers from the Highlands, Islands and Borders, whose traditional methods are matched by their adherence to the highest hygiene standards. Members offer a range covering hard, soft and blue cheeses, some of which are pasteurised, and others made from raw milk. Traquair House in the Scottish Borders is the home of the Traquair House Brewery -­ one of the UK's oldest working breweries and still fermenting its total production in oak. The result is a range of strong ales of up to 8% abv. Klinge Foods of East Kilbride, has responded to medical concerns about high salt diets by developing LoSalt, which contains only a third of the sodium. Daniel's Sweet Herring, a company which specialises in marinated fish products, has added to its range of herring rollmops and herring in sweet marinades. New lines on display include herring canapes and slices of salmon marinated and vacuum packed with a choice of lemon and herb oil or mustard and dill sauce. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}