An ambitious strategy to grow Scotland’s food and drink industry into a £30 billion sector has been welcomed by the industry.
Ambition 2030 – a plan for the next 13 years published today by Scotland Food and Drink – sets out a plan for growth that, if successful, will more than double the current turnover of the country’s food and drink sector. It includes making better use of intelligence and insights to target export markets, as Scotland Food and Drink has ‘already shown how a focused approach and smart use of market intelligence and resources can grow sales’.
The strategy calls for a new Scotland-wide industry recruitment programme; next-generation support in transforming supply chain development; a feasibility study for a new e-commerce platform; and a review of how companies transport their products to and from Scotland.
Scotland Food and Drink will also launch a single gateway where businesses can access help and support, and raise the profile of Scotland’s food and drink industry with investors to help ensure that the right investment is being drawn towards the sector.
Industry turnover is up 44% since 2007 and exports have increased by 56% to almost £5.5 billion. But Ambition 2030 is calling for the Scottish food and drink sector to double in less than 15 years, and – despite a growth rate twice that of the UK average for food and drink – that will be no mean feat.
The document concedes that there is a problem attracting talent into farming and fishing, and food and drink in general, and says that higher levels of growth ‘must translate into greater profitability at the farm gate and on the fishing boat’.
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James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, said: “We have set out an ambitious vision for where we want our food and drink industry to be in 2030. Now the real work starts. We’ll roll up our sleeves and work collaboratively as partners across industry and the public sector. We’ll define the actions that will make a difference and the resources required to make it happen. And we’ll need the support of all those who work in – and with – our sector.
“There will be bumps in the road, there always are. It is an unpredictable world, so we’ll have to be agile in our planning, adapting to change along the way. We will be relentless in seeking to make Scotland home to the world’s most exciting food and drink industry – a model of responsible, profitable growth.
“With a £30 billion prize to aim for, we must never forget that our uniquely collaborative approach has got us to where we are now. And it will be the catalyst for the next stage of our exciting journey.”
Julie Hesketh-Laird, the Scotch Whisky Association’s acting chief executive, said: “Scottish food and drink is of significant importance to the country’s economic and export performance, with Scotch Whisky playing a leading role in growing the industry further. The new strategy – Ambition 30 – will ensure that the whole sector will become even more substantial in years to come. And we’re confident Scotch Whisky – which accounts for around three quarters of Scottish food and drink exports – will remain the biggest contributor to the sector. We are committed to helping others grow their businesses, for example through our Export Collaboration Charter with Scotland Food and Drink. Our award-winning Scotch Whisky Industry Environmental Strategy can also provide a blueprint in helping the entire sector achieve its sustainability aims.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020