Media Release: NHI call for quality as Thurso hotel awarded under new scheme


A NORTH Highlands Hotel is one of the first places in Scotland to receive an award from a new quality assurance scheme.

Forss House near Thurso has been recognised by Taste Our Best, which is designed to recognise businesses including hotels, restaurants, cafes, takeaways, visitor attractions and B&Bs that not only offer a quality food and drink experience, but include and promote Scottish produce on their menus to give consumers choice.

The scheme is funded by the Scottish Government and VisitScotland with support from Scotland Food & Drink and aims to bring together the tourism and food and drink industries.

North Highland Initiative (NHI) chair, David Whiteford, is urging hospitality businesses in the North Highlands to join Foss House and get involved in the Taste Our Best scheme.

He said: “Tourists visiting the North Highlands spend a significant proportion of their holiday expenditure on food and drink so continuing to raise the quality of the region’s offering in this area is key to the success of driving growth in tourism, which in turn drives our rural economy.

“The North Highlands produces world-class food and drink and it would be great to see more hospitality businesses getting involved in the Taste Our Best scheme and capitalising on our natural local larder.

“We’ve been working to promote local produce through our Mey Selections and North Highlands brand are proud that our beef and lamb is now available to consumers across Europe.

“We’re keen to see a similar drive to use local produce from our diverse local eateries and are confident that the Taste Our Best initiative offers a good way of doing this.”

Ian Richards, owner of Forss House, said: “I’m thrilled that Forss House has been recognised for its great quality food and drink.

“We work closely with local food producers to provide our guests with the best seasonal produce available because this is what visitors to our hotel really appreciate.”

Begins a spokesperson: “Research has shown that visitors are willing to pay up to 15 per cent more for food that is of Scottish or regional origin and businesses that provide local food can typically enjoy higher level sales of up to 20 per cent per year.

“Visitors currently spend around £800 million per year on food and drink in Scotland and more than 70 per cent of potential visitors to Scotland want to taste traditional dishes, regional specialities and fresh local produce.”

The Taste Our Best scheme is the latest addition to VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance (QA) schemes, which aim to drive up quality in tourism products across the country.

It will replace the current EatScotland food and drink QA scheme which will be phased out.

The new initiative builds on the strengths of the existing scheme and responds to consumer insights, in particular growing consumer demand and interest in sampling Scottish produce.

Taste Our Best will provide businesses with an assessment of their food provision and their menu by qualified assessors, with those meeting the necessary criteria gaining the award.


Notes to Editors

  • Mey Selections beef and lamb is now available through
  • In 2008, Mey Selections won the Best Retail Initiative category at the BBC Food & Farming Awards.
  • Mey Selections roast fillet of Scotch beef and lamb was served as part of the reception at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011.
  • Other Mey Selections products include oatcakes, biscuits through Caithness Biscuits ( ) and Reids of Caithness ( and quality tweed products from Johnston’s of Elgin (
  • Find out more about Mey Selections at
  • Find out more about NHI at

For more information, please contact Martha Bryce at Taste Communications.

Tel. 0131 225 7205 / 07905 761 525.

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Contact: Martha Bryce
Phone: 07905761525