Scotland’s £14bn food and drink sector will generate the new jobs thanks to rising demand, linked to new product development (NPD) and export growth, according to a Bank of Scotland report published today (August 27).
Scottish producers forecast an average turnover growth of 19%, with nearly two thirds (62%) of Scottish food and drink businesses planning some form of NPD. Business managers pledged to invest more than a quarter (27%) of current turnover back into research and development (R&D) over the next five years.
Ambitious export targets
Signalling ambitious export targets, nearly two-thirds also planned to engage with new international customers in the next five years. Western Europe remained the preferred area to find new customers, favoured by 61% of respondents.
North America was the second most popular overseas destination preferred by 52% of respondents. Second and third on export hit lists were the Middle East, cited by 50%, and the Far East and Asia by 30%.
Two thirds (66%) of respondents planned to create new roles in the next five years. If that trend was replicated across Scotland’s food and drink industry, the total would reach 14,000 new jobs within the next five years.
More than half (51%) of businesses surveyed intended to forge partnerships with other organisations in their supply chain to develop new products, streamline manufacturing processes and boost productivity.
Partnerships key factor
Partnerships would be a key factor delivering jobs growth, said Scotland, head of food and drink area director Graham Blair.
Brakes on progress
- More regulation and compliance (39% of respondents)
- Possible exit from the EU (34%)
- Rising labour costs (42%)
“Collaboration is high on the agenda for firms looking to invest in R&D over the next five years,” said Blair. “A positive sign that the industry can continue to build on its already strong reputation for more traditional Scottish food and drink produce, while exploring exciting new products and ventures.”
“Scotland’s food and drink sector has a significant impact on Scotland’s gross value added and this year’s report gives every indication that this input will become even stronger.”
Scotland Food & Drink boss James Withers underlined the contribution of collaboration. “Different sectors, from seafood to red meat to whisky, now work together to build our national reputation.
“So too individual businesses work together and we have a public sector responding to industry leadership. Competition is healthy but collaboration opens up new markets and relationships. It has been crucial to taking our industry from static growth just a few years ago to its current position as Scotland’s best performing sector.”
Challenges facing the food and drink industry in Scotland were listed as: increasing regulation and compliance, a possible exit from the EU and rising labour costs.
More information about the Bank of Scotland report – Fresh Opportunity & Growth – is available here.
Meanwhile, up to 73,000 new food and drink industry roles will be created in England and Wales by 2020, according to a new report from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, also published today.
For the very latest roles in British food and drink manufacturing, visit FoodManJobs.
Scottish food industry growth at a glance
- Extra 14,000 jobs by 2020
- New jobs linked to rising demand, thanks to NPD and export growth
- Average turnover growth of 19%
- 62% plan NPD
- Two-thirds plan export growth
- Western Europe preferred export destination
- Partnerships key to delivering growth
Source: Bank of Scotland