About us

Scotland’s experts on farmer co-ops and food industry collaboration, we work with food and farming businesses to make them more profitable, competitive, and sustainable - working together to shape the future, today. #workingtogether we grow

What we do

All of SAOS's work centres on facilitating farmers and food and drink businesses to work together effectively. Over the years we've also developed several subsidiary businesses - getting the right people together and making innovative advancements to help benefit the entire food and farming industry and rural Scotland.

Events & Training

Developing staff capability is one of the most effective ways to improve a co-op’s performance. Check out our events and training programme - most of which are open to non co-op members too.

Membership

As a development organisation, owned by our members, we provide a range of specialist services not available elsewhere, to assist them in developing their people and their businesses. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.

What's New

See below for all the latest news, views and updates from us here at SAOS. Find all our latest videos on YouTube at: SAOS - working together in food and farming

What does innovation look like?

Co-operation and co-ops are ideally placed to drive forward innovation and supply chain relationships that enable shared risk-taking and scalability, both amongst farmers and in their connections with supply chain customers.

These examples provide just an indication of the variety and scope of innovation projects in co-ops:

  • The six Focus Farms in the ANM Group/Farmers Journal Farm Profit Programme experienced an average increase in gross margin/cow of £115 in year one. Weekly updates on the Focus Farms’ progress are now reaching 2,000 article views per week, proving an effective route for knowledge exchange between livestock producers.
  • Farm Stock Scotland, in collaboration with supply chain partners, is working to identify farm management factors to enable the year-round supply of ‘M&S Scotch lamb’. This includes researching and piloting a new specification.
  • New markets in the Far East for Scottish seed potatoes have been developed for the last two years by Grampian Growers. Last year the co-op will also trial potato plots in Zimbabwe and Kenya.
  • Through the involvement of SAOS, the Milk Suppliers Association (MSA) has completed 25 on-farm lean management reviews, resulting in average identified savings of several pence per litre.
  • First Milk has a continuing long-term collaboration with Nestlé, which focuses on continuous improvements in milk quality, lean farming methods (enabling a reduction in GHG emissions), environmental sustainability (soil, water and biodiversity), the next generation of farmers, and animal welfare.
  • Ringlink Scotland devised the first pre-apprenticeship scheme targeted at school leavers, to address an increasingly acute skills shortage in the industry. This has been devised in direct response to the needs of members.