Scotland Food & Drink ‘to double sector to £30bn’

By Matt Atherton contact

- Last updated on GMT

Scotland Food & Drink aims to double the size of its sector by 2030 (Flickr/Christoph Strässler)
Scotland Food & Drink aims to double the size of its sector by 2030 (Flickr/Christoph Strässler)

Related tags: Scotch whisky association, Scotland, Scotch whisky

Scotland Food & Drink has launched a £10M strategy to double the size of its sector to £30bn by 2030.

The strategy – Ambition 2030​ – aimed at cementing the food and drink industry as Scotland’s most valuable sector, said industry body Scotland Food & Drink.

It focused on three main areas to drive the industry’s value up from £14.4bn: people and skills, supply chain and innovation.

People and skills involved raising the attractiveness of the industry as a career destination. The sector’s existing workforce would receive further investment.

The supply chain would work closer to share profitability across the industry, the strategy said.

Innovation would also be a focal point, as new products and processes would be developed to drive growth.

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership members

  • Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
  • Dairy UK
  • FDF Scotland
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Improve
  • Lantra Scotland
  • National Farmers Union Scotland
  • Quality Meat Scotland
  • Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society
  • Scotch Whisky Association
  • Scotland Food & Drink
  • Scottish Bakers
  • Scottish Development International
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Scottish Government
  • Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation
  • Seafood Scotland
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • Scotland’s Rural College
  • The Rowett Institute
  • Zero Waste Scotland

Developed to drive growth

The strategy was launched on March 23 by Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership – a partnership including government, and organisations Dairy UK, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland, the Scotch Whisky Association and more.

Scotland Food & Drink chief executive James Withers said: “A huge amount of work is required to unlock ​[the industry’s] potential and it will not come easily. There is uncertainty ahead, with Brexit in the forefront of everybody’s mind.

“Whilst big political upheavals are out of the industry’s control, we can control how we develop the Scottish brand, the markets we want to sell to and the investments we make in improving skills, innovation and supply chains.”

A national success story

Withers said that the food and drink sector was a national success story for Scotland, after being “relatively static”​ 10 years ago. But, there were areas requiring more work, as few people saw the sector as a long-term career choice, farmers felt detached from any success in the sector, and Scotland’s health could be better supported, he added.

“The focus we now place on all of that means we approach the coming years with real optimism,”​ said Withers. “It will take a huge amount of dedication from industry, government and its agencies, but working collaboratively, there is every reason we can make Scotland the best place in the world to run a food and drink business.

“Whether you are on a tractor or fishing boat, on the factory floor or around the boardroom table, I believe this is the industry to be in over the next few years. There will be challenges ahead, there always are, however, the clear vision and strategy we are setting out today creates a foundation for profitable, responsible growth in the coming years.”

What they say about Ambition 2030

  • “The new strategy – Ambition 30 – will ensure that the whole ​[food and drink] sector will become even more substantial in years to come. We’re confident Scotch Whisky – which accounts for around three quarters of Scottish food and drink exports – will remain the biggest contributor to the sector.”

Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association

  • “The vision and ambition set out today shows there is still so much more that can be achieved.  A lot of growth is ahead, a lot of jobs will continue to be supported and more will be created.  The supply chain is profitable but not all in this chain currently share in that profitability. We need to do better in making our farms part of the food and drink chain.  We don’t want farmers simply to be used in the pictures promoting our food and drink industry.”

Andrew McCornick, NFU Scotland president

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