Total food and drink exports increased 11% over the first three months of 2017, compared with the same period last year. Food exports were up 14% to £371M, while Scotch whisky overseas sales – Scotland’s largest exported product – increased by £79M.
The EU remained Scotland’s largest export market, the data revealed. EU sales increased by £50M over the three months.
Access to the EU’s 510M consumers was critical for Scotland’s food and drink sector, the Scottish government said. It’s comments came as the UK formally entered Brexit talks with the EU today (June 19).
‘EU Single Market is crucial’
Scottish government’s rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “What is clear from these figures is that maintaining access to the EU Single Market is crucial for our food and drink producers and our wider economy.
- £1.25bn total in first quarter of 2017
- £124M increase on previous year
- 11% increase on previous year
- EU destination for 70% of exports
“Losing access will put Scottish industry at a significant disadvantage, exposing business to damaging export tariff barriers and regulatory requirements.”
North America was the second largest export destination for food and drink, while Asia and Oceania was third.
Sugar and honey exports had the biggest rises, increasing 102% to £5.7M, the Scottish government revealed. Fish and seafood overseas sales were boosted 31% – a £48M rise.
‘A record year’
Ewing said: “2016 was a record year for Scotland’s food and drink exports, and these new figures clearly show that the sector is going from strength to strength.”
Scotland food and drink exports could double within the next 13 years, according to Scotland Food & Drink.
The organisation’s chief executive James Withers said: “These results are the fruits of having a clear export plan and a unique partnership between the industry and government.
“We believe we can double the turnover of food and drink sector in Scotland to £30bn by 2030. International sales are becoming an increasing part of that story.”
Meanwhile, last year, Scotland achieved record export sales of £5.5bn – up 8% on 2015.
The Food & Drink Export Excellence 2017 conference will identify the potential for growing food and drink exports pre- and post-Brexit. Taking place at the Ardencote Hotel, Warwick on October 5, conference delegates will be armed with key data about which markets and product categories offer the best prospects.
Organised by the Food Manufacture Group and sister William Reed titles British Baker and Meat Trades Journal, the event aims to help delegates position their food and drink firms to succeed after Brexit.
Confirmed speakers include: Adam Buckley, Premier Foods international sales director; Ed Wright, Cranswick export director; Richard Clothier, Wyke Farms md; and Michael Bell, Northern Ireland Food & Drink executive director. Register your interest in attending here.