Scotland aims to be world’s best for food and drink

Scotland is set to aim to be considered the best place in the world to run a food and drink business. A review commissioned by Scottish Government and led by industry body Scotland Food & Drink is to identify how Scotland can develop a reputation in this area.

Scotland Food & Drink’s Vice Chairman Dennis Overton is leading a process to identify options for further collaboration in the sector to promote and support its future economic growth. Chairing the review, Mr Overton has appointed a group to support the work and is now calling for views on how to take the industry onto further success.

Food and drink has been Scotland’s best performing domestic sector and fastest growing export over recent years. Sales of Scottish brands in the UK have risen 35% since 2007 and exports are up over 50% in the same period. Scotland has also developed an internationally recognised culture of collaboration with industry body Scotland Food & Drink now bringing companies, trade associations and government together around a single strategy and action plan. That strategy is on track to take an industry that has grown from £10bn in 2007 to £14bn today and is on target to reach £16.5bn by 2017.

Dennis Overton Scotland Food & Drink’s Vice Chair and Chairman of the review commented: “The Scottish food and drink sector is one of the country’s great successes stories and is on track to reach the target of £16.5bn by 2017. However, we are ambitious still. There is tremendous opportunity to improve further the collaboration already in place. We need to push the boundaries of how industry and government work together if we’re to stay ahead in an extremely competitive global market and create the best possible operating environment for businesses.

“I’d ask anyone with views on how to take the food and drink sector to even greater successes to share them with the group by the end of August.”
Commissioning the review is Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs said: “Scotland’s booming food and drink industry is already worth around £14 billion a year to the Scottish economy, and has smashed its growth targets years ahead of schedule. But I firmly believe we have only scratched the surface of what is possible, and that we can do even better.”

A report of recommendations for further collaboration in the food and drink sector in Scotland will be presented to Ministers by November 2015.