ORGANISERS of agricultural shows are being urged to play their part in Scotland's "food revolution" by promoting local produce.
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead says it is important to tell consumers the story behind the country's widely admired food and drink.
He has written to all 108 agricultural shows taking place in Scotland this year to ensure as much Scottish food as possible is sold at these ever-popular events.
Speaking at NFU Scotland's AGM in St Andrews this week, Mr Lochhead said: "The raw materials needed for our food and drink industry are provided in communities across Scotland, enabling us to supply high-quality products that are in great demand across the world.
"Much of this spectacular produce is right here on our own doorstep, from Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb to Scottish farmed salmon and many other Scottish foods, not to mention the best malt whiskies in the world.
"With a surge in the number of food tents at events, showcasing our food and drink is now a major part of many of our famous agricultural shows. However, it would be fantastic to see as much as possible of the food and drink sold at our shows being locally produced, and be able to tell people of its journey from farm to fork and grain to glass.
"That's why I have written to all of our shows, asking them to do this where possible and participate in our food revolution."
Mr Lochhead, the MSP for Moray, added: "Scotland's food provenance is a major selling point and we know visitors prefer to buy food and drink with a story behind it – where, when, how and by whom it was produced. Local produce is key to that.
"Scotland's food and drink is up there with the very best and I want our agricultural shows and local events to work with us and cement our reputation as a land of food and drink. High-quality products from our natural larder will create a highly enjoyable experience, so let's make 2014 a year to remember."