About us

SAOS was established in 1905 to strengthen the profitability and effectiveness of Scotland’s farming and rural businesses through co-operation.

What we do

We are Scotland’s experts on farmer co-ops and food industry collaboration. We provide a range of specialist information, development and consultancy services.


We are a development organisation owned by our members. We provide a range of specialist services that our members have requested, that are not available elsewhere. Discover how we can help you.

Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group (SSMG)

SAOS has helped Scottish Shellfish address various supply chain challenges.


A co-operative of 19 shellfish farmers from across Scotland supplying over 85% of Scottish farmed mussel production.

What are we doing?

SSMG has processing units in Shetland and Bellshill which process and add value to the primary product for sale to wholesalers and all the major UK multiple retailers. SSMG’s current farming and supply chain capacity is approaching its maximum, as the demand for Scottish farmed mussels is forecast to grow significantly over the next decade, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for growth.


SAOS identified the potential to combine under-utilisation of available farm capacity and better coordination between the farmers. Compounded by varying production practices and inconsistent spat supply, production information was also found to be fragmented and inconsistent. SAOS recognised a market opportunity for Scottish Shellfish to supply a further £3.1M of product per annum at farm gate prices, from existing resources, through better design and management of the supply chain.

What impact?

SAOS redesigned the internal supply chain trading system to optimise mussel production. This resulted in £1m of additional product now in process with potential to add a further £2m. A database system was proposed to capture data from farms in ‘real-time’, which would help provide more accurate production forecasts to improve supply availability, cash flow, and product consistency. Overall, this exercise has resulted in greater collaborative working and sharing of resources between Scottish Shellfish farmers in terms of expertise, labour and boats.

How did SAOS help?

SAOS has been able to support the co-op with the following expertise:

  • Through the Market Driven Supply Chain (MDSC) Project, SAOS brought the right expertise together to evaluate and address the supply chain challenges.
  • The Team helped deliver significant supply chain improvements by identifying the factors that stopped growers from maximising yield and output and a proposed redesign of the supply chain to make the best use of farm sites and shared resources.
  • Working with the SAOS supply chain team, Scottish Shellfish developed a better understanding of the full capacity and capability issues of the mussel supply chain.