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Boss of Buckie's Speyside Specialities urges Moray customers to buy local after 'tough 18 months'

By Lorna Thompson

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THE boss of a Buckie-based traditional food manufacturer has urged Moray customers to back their local producers after a "tough 18 months".

David Lawson is managing director of Speyside Specialities, which grew from a local butchery business he and his father bought in Buckie back in 1998.

The business now supplies its quality traditional Scottish puddings and skirlie to UK supermarkets, including the shelves of Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

An Alford farmer's son, David, who now employs 18 people in the town, said Moray produced some of the best food and drink in the world.

He said: "The food and drink industry is massive in Moray.

"Food and drink manufacturing accounts for 36 per cent of Moray’s economy, compared to 4.4 per cent for Scotland as a whole.

"Ten per cent of our workforce works in food and drink manufacturing, compared to a Scottish average of 1.7 per cent.

"We have some of the best and most celebrated produce in the world, with everything from beef and salmon to whisky. We certainly make good use of the local produce for our black and white pudding.

"It’s very important for the people of Moray to support their local producers. It’s been a tough 18 months for businesses around the country and without Moray’s continued support, we wouldn’t be able to continue to grow as a business and produce our black and white puddings."

David Lawson, managing director of Buckie-based food firm Speyside Specialities.
David Lawson, managing director of Buckie-based food firm Speyside Specialities.

The pandemic lockdowns forced David to streamline operations.

David said: "During the first lockdown, we had to really think about our operations and how we could move forward as a business.

"We decided to reduce our lines to allow for required social distancing and focus on black pudding, white pudding and skirlie. Through this, we were able to increase production and really streamline our business, and hopefully we’re on to a winning formula."

David has always had a keen interest in agriculture, but his life could have taken a very different path as a career in sport beckoned. He represented the UK in the European junior skiing circuit and Scotland at pole vaulting.

Instead he travelled to Kansas City, Missouri, to start a degree in agricultural business management, returning to the University of Aberdeen to complete the course in 1994.

Speyside Specialities' black pudding.
Speyside Specialities' black pudding.

After working on farms back in the US across Texas, Ohio and Nebraska, David returned to Scotland and Speyside Specialities was born.

He took a four-year break from the firm from 2005 to join Blackpool Zoo as projects and facilities manager before returning to the family business, conscious of his father’s wish to retire.

Since then he has worked on developing Speyside Specialities to become the biggest manufacturer of white pudding and skirlie in the UK.

David hopes to expand yet further, adding: "At the moment the majority of our supermarket listings are in Scotland and we’re keen to expand our business further south of the border.

"We’ve recently joined the Scotland Food and Drink Academy, which focuses on knowledge-sharing, upskilling and innovating. We’re looking forward to seeing how we can put this new knowledge to good use.

"Hopefully, we’ll see a few more black puddings crop up in supermarkets across England and Wales."

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