A new, ambitious strategy to drive growth in Scotland’s farming, fishing, food and drink industry was unveiled today by industry body, Scotland Food & Drink. 

Food and drink has been Scotland’s best performing sector in recent years, with record export figures released last weekend 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 average for the sector.

‘Ambition 2030’, launched today, establishes a vision to cement food and drink as Scotland’s most valuable industry, with the opportunity to more than double turnover in the sector to reach £30 billion by 2030. 

The strategy has been developed by the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership*, an industry-led partnership of the main organisations in the farming, fishing, food and drink sector, alongside The Scottish Government and its key agencies.  

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership in Glasgow today (23rd March) to launch the strategy.

The industry’s focus will be on building Scotland’s national brand as a Land of Food and Drink and driving sales within Scotland, across the rest of the UK and globally. 

To unlock the £30 billion potential of the industry, the strategy 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.

In addition, the industry has today made a renewed commitment to responsible growth, committing to deliver broader benefits to the country beyond just sales growth. This includes an offer of a new partnership with Government and its agencies to drive improvements in Scotland’s health and wellbeing and to commit again to embracing world-leading standards of environmental sustainability.

The 2030 strategy identifies collaboration as the most important ingredient in the sector’s success to date with plans to deepen joint-working between the industry, government and its agencies in the coming years, as well as to make support easier to access for businesses.

James Withers, Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive, said:

“Ten years ago, when the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership was formed, our sector was relatively static. It is now one of the country’s best performing industries and it’s our fastest growing export sector. However, today sets out a new vision to build further on that. 

“As an industry, we have identified an opportunity to more than double the size of our sector to £30 billion by 2030, making it Scotland’s most valuable industry. 

“A huge amount of work is required to unlock that potential and it will not come easily. There is uncertainty ahead, with Brexit in the forefront of everybody’s mind. Whilst big political upheavals are out of the industry’s control, we can control how we develop the Scottish brand, the markets we want to sell to and the investments we make in improving skills, innovation and supply chains.

“Food and drink is now a national success story for Scotland, yet there are areas requiring more work. Too few view our industry as a top career choice, many farmers feel detached from the success story and we can do more to support improvements in Scotland’s health.

“The focus we now place on all of that means we approach the coming years with real optimism. It will take a huge amount of dedication from industry, government and its agencies, but working collaboratively, there is every reason we can make Scotland the best place in the world to run a food and drink business.

“Whether you are on a tractor or fishing boat, on the factory floor or around the boardroom table, I believe this is the industry to be in over the next few years. There will be challenges ahead, there always are, however the clear vision and strategy we are setting out today creates a foundation for profitable, responsible growth in the coming years.”

Howell Davies, Sector Engagement Project Manager at Interface, said:

“Innovation is a key ingredient in growing the food and drink industry and ensuring its competitiveness both through meeting the demands of an increasingly knowledgeable consumer while improving efficiencies along the supply chain.  Scotland’s world leading academics can help to support and deliver industry growth and sustainability to 2030 and beyond.”  

Notes to Editors:

‘Ambition 2030’, the new Scottish food and drink industry strategy is available to view here.

*The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership brings together industry, government and its agencies working in the Scottish food and drink sector. It comprises of AHDB, Dairy UK, FDF Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Improve, Lantra Scotland, NFU Scotland, Quality Meat Scotland, SAOS, Scotch Whisky Association, Scotland Food & Drink, Scottish Bakers, Scottish Development International, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, Seafood Scotland, Skills Development Scotland, SRUC, The Rowett Institute and Zero Waste Scotland.

Scotland Food & Drink is an industry-led membership organisation which aims to grow the value of the country's food and drink sector and build Scotland’s international reputation as a Land of Food and Drink.