It said that food exports were valued at about £1.6bn in 2017 – a rise of 15% or £214m on 2016. Exports of food to Europe were worth £1.1bn following an increase of 13%, or £125m.
Fish and seafood accounted for the majority of food exports and were worth approximately £944m, it said. This was up 23% from the previous year. Scotch whisky exports also increased by around £356m compared to 2016.
Cabinet secretary for the rural economy Fergus Ewing raised concerns about the importance of the EU single market to the success of food and drink.
“The continuing uncertainty surrounding the UK Government’s Brexit plans, and the prospect of losing tariff-free access to that market would be potentially devastating for our food and drink industry,” he said.
“Confirmation by the UK Government that it wants devolved powers over food labelling to transfer to them creates further risk and uncertainty, when much of our success depends on our ability to market Scottish produce and provenance effectively.”
Susan Beattie, head of food and drink at Scottish Development International, said it was “fantastic” to see such strong demand for its products and predicted this would continue to increase.
Meanwhile, James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “The world is increasingly developing a taste for Scottish produce and it is driving incredible growth for Scottish food and drink businesses and the economy as a whole.
“It is particularly important to see our food exports increasing in Asia and North America, following in the footsteps of our number one export, Scotch whisky, which is firmly back into its growth phase. However, Europe remains the top destination for many of our products, emphasising the need for a Brexit process which protects this vital trade.”