Scotland’s food and drink export plan targets key markets

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Scotland is targeting seven key markets for exports
Scotland is targeting seven key markets for exports

Related tags Scotland

Scotland’s new food and drink export plan will target seven top priority markets, according to details of the new £4.5M initiative released today (March 4).

Developed jointly by the industry and government, the new Scotland Food & Drink Export Plan will deliver “a transformational … massive push on international exports”, ​said officials.

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. Their task will be to develop new opportunities to drive international sales for Scotland’s food and drink firms.

Food and drink exports soared

The total value of overseas food and drink exports soared by 52% between 2007 and 2012. Scotch whisky exports alone climbed by 87% in the decade to 2012 to reach £4.3bn.

The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership – comprising the Scottish government, Scotland Food & Drink, Scotland Development International (SDI) and the main exporting trade associations – drew up the strategy and each contributed towards the £4.5M in funding.

Richard Lochhead, food and drink secretary, launched the plan with other partnership members at Nairn’s Oatcakes in Edinburgh today (March 4).

“The sector has experienced tremendous growth in recent years,”​ said Lochhead. “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.”

But much more could be achieved as Scotland capitalised on the massive global appetite for its premium, iconic products. “Today marks a step change in our collective efforts,”​ he added. “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.”

Giant stride

James Withers, Scotland Food and Drink chief executive, said the plan was 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,” ​he said.

Anne MacColl, chief executive of SDI, said the plan aimed to build on the £5.4bn in export sales achieved in 2012. “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,” ​she said.

Meanwhile, Nairn’s produces about 2M oatcakes a day. Mark Laing its chairman said the firm exports to 30 countries around the world.

“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,”​ he said.

Related topics Drinks Meat, poultry & seafood

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