Scottish food and drink sector to create 14,000 jobs

By Matt Atherton

- Last updated on GMT

Scotland's food manufacturers expect the sector to boom
Scotland's food manufacturers expect the sector to boom

Related tags Scotland United kingdom

Scotland’s food and drink manufacturers expect to boost turnover by an average of 24% over the next five years, and to create 14,000 new jobs, according to a survey by the Bank of Scotland.

The survey – the fifth annual food and drink report by the Bank of Scotland – found Scottish food firms predicted a 5% increase in turnover compared with last year’s forecast.

The research was carried out in the weeks following the UK’s vote to leave the EU. Despite the economic uncertainty following the Brexit vote, half of all Scottish manufacturers surveyed said the referendum result had caused them to raise their business growth estimates. A quarter of businesses reduced their growth estimates.

New international customers

Following the Brexit vote, more than two-thirds of manufacturers said they planned to seek new international customers over the next five years – a rise of 7% from last year.

Scotland Food and Drink chief executive James Withers said: “The outcome of the EU referendum is causing some uncertainty around the industry’s future workforce and how we trade with Europe. But change is nothing new to the sector, and there will be opportunities as we build new markets for our produce.

“There is real ambition in the Scottish food and drink sector that, alongside world-leading collaboration between the industry and government, has driven a 40% growth in turnover since 2007.”

The results also showed that companies planned to invest 56% of their current annual turnover over the next five years. Last year, 40% of annual turnover was re-invested.

40% of annual turnover re-invested

Central Scotland at Bank of Scotland regional director Jane Clark-Hutchinson said: “2016 has brought uncertainties, so we are pleased that our survey shows that Scottish food and drink firms expect to grow, invest, recruit and innovate over the next few years.

“By sharing our research and insight with the wider industry, we aim to support Scottish food and drink firms with the opportunities and challenges they face, helping the sector and country to prosper.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish food and drink manufacturing sector made a record annual turnover​ of £14.4bn in 2014, according to the Scottish government. The sector grew by 43% in Scotland between 2008 and 2014 – more than double the UK average.

Scottish food and drink sector – at a glance

  • Record annual turnover of £14.4bn in 2014
  • Growth of 43% was twice the UK average of 21%
  • Employs 116,000 people
  • 2030 strategy to be launched early next year

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