Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 16:45 UK

Superstores join Scots food talks

The supermarket summit discussed the importance of Scots produce

A supermarket summit has taken place in Edinburgh looking at ways of ensuring the public has access to Scotland's "finest freshest food".

First Minister Alex Salmond said he hoped it could have economic and health benefits for the country.

Tesco, Asda, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, the Co-op and Somerfield were all represented.

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said it was committed to backing "the Scottish market and Scottish produce".

Last week two BBC reporters in southern Scotland attempted to live on only food produced in their region for a week.

The difficulties they encountered sparked a worldwide debate via email about the importance of local food.

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Mr Salmond also tried a similar experiment by eating only Scottish food for a week earlier this year.

"I want to help make sure people across Scotland can continue to enjoy fresh, healthy and affordable produce," he said.

"By promoting Scottish produce we can add to Scotland's economic resilience while supporting a healthier future."

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said the issue of local food was one of increasing importance.

"It is timely we should meet to discuss these important issues as we continue to develop our first national food and drink policy," he said.

"We are highly aware there is a growing interest in the provenance of what we eat.

"People want to know where their food comes from, how it was grown and the impact production has had on the environment."

Fiona Moriarty, director of the SRC, said the meeting had seen "high level engagement" from the UK retail sector.

"Involvement at this level confirms the sector's commitment to the Scottish economy and clearly demonstrates the importance we attach to the Scottish market and Scottish produce," she said.

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