An isles organisation promoting local cuisine has just appointed its first paid member of staff.
Jill Franklin, founder of the Skeld-based chutney company Shetlandeli, has joined the Shetland Food and Drink Ltd (SFAD), taking on the role of manager.
Her appointment comes after the organisation recently secured funding from Shetland Leader, the council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Ms Franklin will take up her position on Monday, and will be joining the organisation at a time when it aims to become profitable and self-sustaining.
SFAD was formed last year to take command of Shetland’s annual food fair and promote local produce.
Last month the business announced plans to create an online shop, a promotional film and banners and point of sale material for retailers who sell local produce.
At the time chairwoman Marian Armitage said that the organisation was determined to avoid becoming reliant upon public funding in the future.
New appointment Ms Franklin will hope to help the organisation achieve that aim, through her experience in the food industry as well as her work in PR.
In a press release announcing her appointment, the organisation writes that “her passion for quality food and drink led her to set up award-winning chutney company Shetlandeli, which operated from Skeld Hall, supplying customers throughout the UK.”
Shetlandeli became part of social enterprise Cope Ltd earlier this year.
Ms Franklin said: “I’m thrilled to be appointed to the post. It’s fantastic to see how Shetland’s food and drink industry has grown over the past few years, including all the new companies that have been born.
“The creation of Shetland Food and Drink is great timing. There’s a huge amount of interest in the provenance of food and in Shetland generally. That’s got to be a powerful mix and one which we can be used to the benefit of Shetland Food and Drink’s members.”
Businesswoman and SFAD director Valerie Johnson said: “We are delighted to have appointed Jill to this role. Her experience combines PR, marketing and sales with a real understanding of how to grow a successful business.
“She also has in-depth experience of being a food producer herself, so knows the opportunities and challenges of the food and drink market, as well as having a great network of contacts both in the UK and internationally.”
The £85,000 funding boost was made up of £31,165 from Shetland Leader, £23,908 from the council and £21,000 from HIE. Shetland Food and Drink has also contributed £9,500 from its own funds and sponsorship deals.
Elaine Jamieson, head of food and drink at HIE, said: “This appointment will be key to achieving the ambitions of Shetland Food and Drink, enabling the organisation to develop and deliver sustainable value and opportunities for their membership.
“There are significant growth opportunities for local food and producers, both at home and further afield, and the culture of collaboration which comes with a regional food and drink group is key to unlocking new markets, promoting products and sharing best practice.”