Scotland Food & Drink: The Road To 2017
We recently had the pleasure of attending the Scotland Food and Drink conference at the RBS Conference Centre in Edinburgh. As members of Scotland Food and Drink, we have specialised consultants, with industry experience, who specifically recruit within the Scottish food and drink market.
There’s been a lot of positive press about the sector in Scotland over the past year, with exponential growth that shows no sign of slowing down. With revenue targets being smashed six years early, Scotland has gained an international reputation as the ‘Land of Food and Drink’.
The Road To 2017
James Withers started the conference by delivering an enlightening talk on the industry’s progress so far.
Business is booming. Scotland has always been internationally regarded as a whisky producer; however it now crosses other areas of the food and drink sector. Scottish sales have increased 30% since 2007 and international exports are up an incredible 50%.
The food and drink industry originally set a target to reach £12.5 billion by 2017. The industry has a whole is worth over £13 billion each year, therefore the target is now to reach £16.5 billion by 2017.
An ambitious target, however James was confident that it was achievable, emphasising that through collaboration and businesses working together – demand, productivity and awareness will increases for Scotland’s food and drink companies.
The Big 6
The industry has a clear six point strategy to achieve its ambitious target over the next four years, concentrating on six priority areas:
Scotland Food and Drink are advocating support of primary producers; farmers and fishermen. By supporting those at the beginning of the supply chain, enabling them to satisfy the increase in demand and dynamic to both domestic and export markets.
Scotland’s food and drink industry requires growing, efficient and innovative businesses to stand up against UK and international competition. This can be achieved by employing the best talent, those that have the necessary skills such as engineering, food science and agronomy.
145 Scottish whisky bottles are sold across the world, generating £140 every second. 2013 is set to be another record breaking year; Scottish whisky currently employs 1,000 industry professionals and 25,000 supply chain workers.
The export market provides a wealth of opportunity to Scottish food and drink businesses, particularly beyond Europe. Whisky dominates the export market at presence; however the industry needs food businesses to emulate this success.
Scottish company Mackays is the world’s largest artisan jam manufacturer, which has grown from a turnover of £1 million in 1995 to £17 million in 2013, selling to 52 markets across the world.
Scotland needs sustainable food and drink businesses, whilst remaining profitable. Companies should look at ways in which they can cut back on costs with more effective and environmentally friendly business practices, such as efficient use of water and utilising recycled materials. By remaining resilient to climate change, Scotland will be seen as an innovator for sustainability.
To succeed, the Scottish food and drink industry cannot rest on its laurels. Businesses must invest in research and development, whilst also developing and maintaining strong relationships with universities in order to foster new ideas.
Katie Heslop from AK Stoddart discussed the importance of progressing unskilled workers in order to grow business. Scotland has an aging workforce and the industry needs to harness training and development to stay at the forefront of innovation.
Scotland needs to retain its reputation as the ‘Land of Food and Drink’. This will be achieved through the quality of products, their authenticity and portraying Scottish heritage through their branding. This will diversify Scottish produce within the global market, and cementing the country’s reputation as a world class food and drink producer and manufacturer.
We’re on the cusp of the golden era for Scotland’s food and drink industry, with fresh talent and minds coming into the industry, shaping its future and building on its success.
Want to speak with a member of our team? Get in touch today!