Sales success for Scottish food and drink sector

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Scotland’s food and drink sector saw sales increase by a billion pounds over 2007-08, according to new figures.

Announcing final sales figures for 2008, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead said sales figures had grown from £10.2 billion to £11.2 billion between 2007 and 2008. Turnover had increased by a similar amount bringing the sector closer to reaching the £12.5 billion target for 2017.

Gross Value Added (GVA) is also up £0.3 billion to £4.4 billion. Food and drink manufacturing in particular has contributed to the upturn in performance, reflecting the trend across all sectors in Scotland.

Mr Lochhead said:

“Scotland’s food and drink is already a fantastic success story and an industry punching well above its weight. We have producers, suppliers, fishermen, farmers and manufacturers to be extremely proud of. Consumers, at home and abroad, have also played a vital role by recognising Scotland’s quality food and drink sector.

“The latest figures mark a significant step towards achieving the vision to grow its turnover to 12.5 billion pounds by 2017, which was increased only last year from 10 billion pounds. Productivity in Scotland is far outperforming the UK equivalent. GVA per employee has risen from 68,700 pounds to 77,600 pounds, surpassing UK figures.

“Our food and drink sector continues to play a key role in Scotland’s economic recovery.”

Following the announcement of a record increase in Scottish food and drink exports earlier this year, with international sales reaching an all-time high of 4.06 billion pounds during 2009, the new figures provide further evidence of the strength of the burgeoning sector.

Paul McLaughlin, Chief Executive of Scotland Food and Drink, said:

“While food and drink is a more robust sector than others in times of economic downturn due to consistent demand for core products, this does not mean we rest on our laurels. The latest industry figures are very encouraging and evidence the significant progress Scotland Food and Drink is making towards delivering our mission to grow the sector to a 12.5 billion pounds industry.

“We are ahead of target on GVA, exports and turnover and will further drive this positive performance through our comprehensive strategy for growth. Scotland’s food and drink sector is world-class and we must continue to work together as an industry to cement our position as a ‘land of food and drink’ in the increasingly competitive global marketplace.”

“The sector must invest more in the Research and Development of what is a booming industry. Given that innovation represents the future of the industry, we are addressing this as a high priority. Scotland Food and Drink’s unique Food and Health Innovation Centre is set to launch before the year end and we believe this will play a crucial role in kick starting research and development.”