Scottish food and drink exports on the rise

Scotland’s food and drink exports increased by over 11% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period in 2016. Food and drink worth £1.2 billion was exported, an increase of £124 million on 2016.The EU remains Scotland’s largest regional export market outside of the UK, with exports growing by £50 million.

Statistics also show that total food exports were valued at £371 million, up £45.5 million (14%) on Q1 last year. Scotch whisky exports increased by £79 million while fish and seafood, the largest food sector, grew by £48 million. And North America was the second largest export destination for food and drink, with the Asia and Oceania region third.

Fergus Ewing, rural economy secretary, says, “Food exports for example have grown by 14% on the same period last year, which is a testament to the fantastic work being undertaken in partnership with the industry to increase access and open up new markets.

“What is clear from these figures is that maintaining access to the EU single market is crucial for our food and drink producers and our wider economy. Losing access will put Scottish industry at a significant disadvantage, exposing business to damaging export tariff barriers and regulatory requirements.

“Scotch Whisky and Scottish Salmon were the top two UK export products by value in the first quarter of 2017, making up 22% of the value of total food and drink exports from the UK. The Prime Minister must include the Scottish Government at the Brexit negotiating table, with the starting point for any new approach the continued membership of the Single Market and Customs Union.”

James Withers, Scotland food & drink chief executive, comments, “Europe remains our biggest market as the destination for 70% of food exports.  Ongoing, smooth access to that market will be critical for our sector’s future. However, we are strongly committed to extending our global footprint well beyond Europe, something that the Scotch Whisky industry had led the way on. So it’s very encouraging to see such strong growth in Asia and North America, with rises of 50% to 70% in the value of food sales in those markets so far this year.

“These results are the fruits of having a clear export plan and a unique partnership between the industry and government.  We believe we can double the turnover of food and drink sector in Scotland to £30 billion by 2030.  International sales are becoming an increasing part of that story.”

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