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Scotland's food and drink facts

Seafood platter at Ee-Usk, a seafood restaurant in Oban, Argyll & The Isles - Photo credit: VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

Food and drink industry in Scotland

Latest stats and facts on Scotland's food and drink industry. Published February 2021.

International and innovative

Scottish food and drink exports are worth £7 billion, 20.7% of Scotland's total international exports (2018) and Scotland's top export industry.

Indeed, Scotland's food and drink industry has much to be proud of. Since 2007, the sector has experienced significant growth in both turnover and GVA (rising from £10 billion and £4.1 billion in 2010, respectively, to £14.9 billion and £5.6 billion in 2018).

Scotland has 17,590 food and drink businesses, which employ 122,000 people and account for around one in five manufacturing jobs.

Led by Scotland Food & Drink, industry, Scotland's enterprise agencies and the Scottish Government have worked collectively to seek opportunities for ambitious growth as reflected in Ambition 2030, the industry strategy which seeks to double turnover to £30 million by 2030.

Support for export growth

International growth is a key element of Ambition 2030 which is supported by an ambitious Scotland Food & Drink Export Plan led by Scottish Development International. This includes the provision of 16 globally based in-market specialists who are focused solely on the food and drink sector.

More recently, the Covid-19 pandemic has challenged the sector to respond and adapt quickly in ways never before experienced. In November 2020, Scotland Food & Drink launched a joint industry and Scottish Government programme for Scotland’s farming, fishing, food and drink sector to help the industry recover from Covid-19 and respond to Brexit.

Scottish food and drink stats

17,590 companies

9.8% of Scotland's total companies (2019)

122,000 employment

4.7% of Scotland's total employment (2019)

£5.6bn GVA

3.9% of Scotland's GVA (2018)

Company insight

Food and drink companies surveyed between August and December 2020
Biggest challenges
  • 69% impact of Covid-19
  • 29% accessing finance and investment
Biggest opportunities
  • 40% international opportunities
  • 38% developing new markets
Craig Strachan, co-founder, The Start-Up Drinks Lab at Building Scotland's Future Today event

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