Value of Scottish Food and Drink Exports to Asia Soars Above £1bn
FOOD and drink exports from Scotland to Asia were worth more than £1 billion last year – a seven per cent rise on 2015 – according to new figures, with increases recorded in sales of dairy produce, fish and seafood and whisky.
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said the figures “clearly show our food and drink industry is in fantastic health”.
The value of food and drink sales from Scotland to Asia grew by £72 million to £1.055bn in 2016, statistics from HM Revenue and Customs revealed. As part of that, exports of Scotch whisky rose by three per cent to £895m.
Overall food exports grew by 41 per cent to reach a value of £160m – with £66.5m of this coming from the fish and seafood sector, which saw its sales increase by a total of 16 per cent. Meanwhile, exports of dairy produce and eggs were up by 71 per cent, while sales of fruit and vegetables grew by 28 per cent.
Ewing said: “Since this government came to office, the value of food exports has more than doubled. It is clear the partnership approach between industry and government has been pivotal in making food and drink one of our standout economic success stories.”
With Brexit looming, he said that “retaining access to vital European markets, which account for around 40 per cent of our food and drink exports, remains a priority”.
But Ewing stressed: “We must also continue to extend our reach, and these statistics show we are doing just that. Our produce has an excellent reputation around the world and it’s clear the industry is going from strength to strength. That is why we are doing everything to help support and grow food and drink exports further, as outlined in the new £10m industry-led strategy to assist the sector in realising its ambition to double turnover value by 2030.”
James Withers, chief executive of sector body Scotland Food And Drink, said: “The impressive growth in food and drink exports to Asia reflects the hard work on our industry export plan.”
Susan Beattie, head of food and drink at Scottish Development International, added: “Asia continues to be a priority under the Scotland Food and Drink export plan.
“The team of in-market specialists in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan are helping Scottish companies access new opportunities in this dynamic market on a daily basis, opening doors to leading retailers and food service organisations.
“The recent export figures demonstrate strong consumer demand across this rapidly growing region for Scotland’s high-quality premium food and drink products.”
The Asia figures come after Scotland’s food and drink sector secured a deal to export more than £8m of export sales to North America, as revealed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon during her visit there.
It will see Scottish produce being sold in supermarkets across the US and Canada. Associated Seafoods, Eden Mill Distillery and Mara Seaweed are among the companies set to benefit.
Associated Seafoods said it expected its sales in the area to grow by as much as £5m over the next 18 months as a result of the deal.
Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Whilst business navigates through a difficult economic climate, these figures are very promising and show the overall strength of the food and drink industry.