4th March 2014

New food and drink export plan capitalises on global demand

Scotland’s famous food and drink will be available across the world under a transformational new plan for a massive push on international exports.

The total value of overseas food and drink exports has already increased by a staggering 52 per cent between 2007 and 2012 – with exports of Scotch Whisky rocketing by 87 per cent in the decade to 2012 to £4.3 billion. But there is potential for much more.

The new Scotland Food & Drink Export Plan, developed jointly by the industry and government, aims to capitalise on the industry’s already tremendous success by focusing on 15 key export markets.

A team of global experts will be deployed in the seven highest priority markets - North America, France, Germany, the Middle East, China and Hong Kong, Japan and South East Asia - to open up new opportunities to drive international sales for Scotland’s food and drink firms.

The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership – the Scottish Government, Scotland Food & Drink, Scotland Development International and the main exporting trade associations - have drawn up the strategy together, and each has contributed towards the £4.5 million in funding.

Food and Drink Secretary Richard Lochhead launched the plan with the Partnership at Nairn’s Oatcakes in Edinburgh today (Tuesday March 4, 2014).

Mr Lochhead said:“From Beijing to Brussels, New Delhi to New York, Scotland’s food and drink is going global.

“The sector has experienced tremendous growth in recent years – in fact, if the current rate of growth continues then we will have an export rate similar to that of the North Sea oil and gas industry. That is remarkable.

“But we can do so much more. The quality and provenance of our food and drink is second to none and is a key selling point. We know there’s a massive global appetite for our premium, iconic products and now is the time to make the most of that and build the Scottish brand and reputation.

“Today marks a step change in our collective efforts. I’m delighted the Partnership has drawn up this excellent plan to help widen our reach and meet demand, and I’m fully confident this will reap huge rewards for Scotland in the coming years.

“New opportunities and markets are opening up for Scottish food and drink businesses all the time. These new steps, married with our on-going work to break down trade barriers, will lay down golden foundations for our food and drink industry.”

Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive James Withers said:

“We shouldn't for a minute underestimate the significance of this plan. This is about industry leadership and making a giant stride towards internationalising a whole sector of Scotland's economy. Whisky has been a global trailblazer for Scotland and this plan is about supporting the rest of the food and drink sector to follow in its footsteps.

"This whole approach has taken partnership working to a new level. Through Scotland Food & Drink, we've brought the key trade associations together with government to share our collective expertise, experience and funding. It will create a level of support for overseas trade that the food and drink industry in Scotland hasn't seen before and I'm confident by 2017 we will have doubled our export trade over a decade."

Anne MacColl, Chief Executive of Scottish Development International said:

“With export sales of £5.4 billion in 2012, there’s no doubting the economic success of our food and drink sector but whilst our growth is impressive, our collective ambitions are greater still.

“The dedicated new team of global experts will enhance the existing work of Scottish Development International’s teams worldwide and forge unprecedented opportunities for food and drink producers to take their products global. We are excited to be working with our Scotland Food & Drink partners to support the industry’s growth ambitions by focusing on those markets which can deliver the biggest return for Scotland."

Edinburgh-based Nairn’s is one of Scotland’s most iconic producers of oatcakes, producing around two million oatcakes per day. Chairman Mark Laing said:

“Exports are a key part of our business. We currently export to 30 countries around the world and have experienced the benefits from this, but we know there are much more potential opportunities out there.

“It’s great to see Scotland’s food and drink sector coming together as one to lay out a plan for the industry as a whole – a plan which we fully endorse. I’m hopeful that this will see Scotland’s food and drink being exported and enjoyed far beyond our own shores.”

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