Scottish government hails Food & Drink success

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Scotland’s food and drink sector has never been stronger according to new figures published today reporting record turnover of more than £13 billion in 2011.

Targets were set by the industry in 2009 to reach £12.5 billion by 2017, but today’s announcement shows Scotland’s food and drink sales have excelled to a record high, meeting the target six years early.

In the wake of this news, industry leadership body Scotland Food & Drink has set a new target of £16.5 billion turnover by 2017. This figure includes the ambitious export target of £7.1 billion by 2017 that was set last year.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead made today’s announcement during Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight on a visit to I.J. Mellis Cheesemonger in Edinburgh, which has seen this summer’s turnover increase by 20 per cent on last year.

Mr Lochhead said:

“Scotland’s food and drink industry is a fantastic success story. I have no doubt that it has smashed its turnover target six years early because of the high quality products and dedication of those working in the sector.

“I have always believed that our food and drink sector is the best in the world, thanks to our fantastic natural larder, iconic products, strong global brands, excellent provenance credentials and industry innovation.

“Today’s figures – and last week’s Bank of Scotland prediction of thousands of new jobs being created in the sector – demonstrate the strength of Scottish food and drink as an economic driver for Scotland. We have worked extremely hard to grow the sector, connect with existing and emerging markets, and grow interest in our fantastic natural larder far and wide.

“But the industry is not going to rest on its laurels – even now, higher, more ambitious targets have been set and I look forward to working with the Scottish food and drink sector as it strives to achieve more historic high sales.”

Chief Executive of Scotland Food and Drink James Withers said:

“Reaching a turnover of over £13 billion annually is a tremendous result, beating our target six years early.  This result is the product of ambition and partnership.  After a period of flat growth up to 2007, we believed we could take the industry to a new level.  The industry has worked collaboratively together to do this and government has worked in partnership with us to deliver.

“It is particularly appropriate that we announce this success and launch a new target during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight. We’re now committed to push on from here and believe we have the potential to reach £16.5bn in turnover by 2017. Achieving this ambition means both building further business across the UK and, crucially, transforming our export activity and breaking into new markets.”

Chief Executive of Scottish Development International Anne MacColl added:

“Scotland’s food and drink industry has a great deal to offer the world – our wonderful natural assets, a clean environment and passionate producers.

“Today’s figures demonstrate the ambition and capability of Scottish companies and reflect the collaboration between those producers, industry bodies and Government.  We have the right environment here for businesses to grow internationally and increase production.

“Food and drink is Scotland’s top export industry, and I am delighted to see it forging ahead with even more ambitious targets.

“Iconic products such as whisky, salmon, beef and shortbread, our strong global brands, and our excellent provenance credentials, will ensure that Scottish produce continues to command a strong premium position in UK and international markets. 

“My message to Scottish food and drink companies of all sizes is that there is huge opportunity, and we want to work with those already exporting, and actively support those who have yet to export to take the step into new markets.”