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Caledonian Sleeper to source more Highland food and drink for Inverness to London service

By Philip Murray

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Serco made the announcement after food minister Richard Lochhead visited Caledonian Sleeper supplier RSF in Dingwall (pictured).
Serco made the announcement after food minister Richard Lochhead visited Caledonian Sleeper supplier RSF in Dingwall (pictured).

CALEDONIAN Sleeper rail services are to source even more of their food from local producers this year, its operator has revealed.

Serco made the commitment after a tour of a Dingwall provider that supplies 300,000 meals a year as part of a £1 million contract.

Representatives from the firm were joined by food secretary Richard Lochhead during the tour of RSF’s Dingwall kitchens.

Peter Strachan, Serco’s managing director for the Caledonian Sleeper, said: “Along with all Serco Scotland contracts during 2016, we plan to launch a programme to increase local procurement spend significantly over the next few years.

“We are committed to working with local suppliers where possible and the fact that 92 per cent of food produce for the Caledonian Sleeper is sourced within 50 miles of RSF’s operation in Dingwall is of great importance to us.”

The visit, arranged as part of the Caledonian Sleeper’s commitment to local businesses, saw the cabinet secretary tour the facility before meeting local suppliers and tasting dishes from two Highland suppliers to the service – Groam Farm in Kirkhill and Summer Isles Foods.

Mr Lochhead said: “Tourists and travellers must be able to enjoy what we produce on our doorstep and I’m pleased that the Caledonian Sleeper is supporting local businesses and showcasing great Scottish food on this flagship rail service.

It is an example I would like all kinds of transport operators to take on board – showcasing Scottish food is a winning recipe for travellers.

RSF was launched last year and is the brainchild of local husband and wife teams, Michelle and Quintin Stevens and Sabine and Ian Richards. Mr and Mrs Stevens own the Dores Inn restaurant on Loch Ness as well as the Storehouse at Foulis Ferry, while the Richards own the Forss House Hotel in Caithness.

RSF currently employs 10 local residents and is now looking to expand to supply high quality meals into speciality retail, food service and schools.

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