Vegetables
James Withers

James Withers, Chief Executive, Scotland Food & Drink

“It’s 2030. Farming, fishing, food and drink is Scotland’s most valuable industry, recognised at home and abroad as a model of collaboration and a world leader in responsible, profitable growth.” This is Ambition 2030.

Back in March, the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership and The First Minister launched the new, ambitious strategy for the Scottish farming, fishing, food and drink industry.

In recent years, food and drink has been Scotland’s best performing sector, with record export figures released earlier this year and sales at home increasing rapidly too. The sector is worth £14.4 billion annually, 119,000 people are working directly in the industry and food manufacturing in Scotland is growing at twice the rate of the UK sector average. This industry-led strategy lays out the roadmap for the next 13 years and outlines the opportunity to more than double turnover in the sector to reach £30 billion by 2030.

There will be a huge focus on building Scotland’s national brand as a Land of Food and Drink and driving sales in three priority markets including Scotland, the rest of the UK and internationally. To unlock the £30 billion potential of the industry, Ambition 2030 focuses on three areas:

  1. People and Skills: raising attractiveness of the industry as a career destination and investing in the existing workforce.
  2. Supply Chain: ensuring farmers, fishermen, manufacturers and buyers work in closer partnership, to ensure greater profitability is shared across the industry.
  3. Innovation: embracing a new culture of developing new products and processes to drive growth.

Innovation is central to Scotland’s future prosperity. If we want to achieve our vision for 2030 and make Scotland’s farming, fishing food and drink sector one of Scotland’s most successful industries then we must embrace a renewed culture of innovation.

To meet this challenge, the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership launched Make Innovation Happen in May. This first of its kind, single-gateway service will provide current information and fantastic support helping food and drink businesses to innovate. This service includes support for both incremental and disruptive innovation and is open to all businesses across the supply chain from farm to fork.

So how do we build on this momentum to take us to 2030? Ideas for action include creating a coherent and joined-up education programme, raising the profile of the sector with investors and developing a national food tourism plan. There is much to do in order for the food and drink industry to achieve this ambition and work is already underway; will you join us on the journey?

09 June 2017