An ambitious new strategy to drive growth in Scotland’s farming, fishing, food and drink industry has been unveiled by Scotland Food & Drink.
Ambition 2030, launched this week, “establishes a vision to cement food and drink as Scotland’s most valuable industry”, with the opportunity to more than double turnover in the sector to £30 billion by 2030.
The Scottish food and drink sector is worth £14.4bn annually, with 119,000 people working directly in the industry. Food manufacturing in Scotland is growing at twice the rate of the UK average for the sector.
The strategy was developed by the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership, an industry-led collaboration between the main organisations in the farming, fishing, food and drink sector, alongside the Scottish government and its key agencies.
Trade body Scottish Bakers was represented by its president, Craig McPhie, at the official launch with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Chief executive of Scottish Bakers Alan Clarke said: “We have been one of the architects of the food and drink export plan for Scotland in partnership with other key food and drink representative organisations and key public sector partners.”
Sturgeon joined the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership in Glasgow to launch the strategy. “The industry’s focus will be on building Scotland’s national brand as a land of food and drink and driving sales within Scotland, across the rest of the UK and globally,” according to a statement.
The strategy focuses on three areas:
People and Skills: raising attractiveness of the industry as a career destination and investing in the existing workforce.
Supply Chain: ensuring farmers, fishermen, manufacturers and buyers work in closer partnership, to ensure greater profitability is shared across the industry.
Innovation: embracing a new culture of developing new products and processes to drive growth.
In addition, the industry made a renewed commitment to responsible growth, committing to deliver “broader benefits to the country beyond just sales growth”.
This includes the offer of a new partnership with government and its agencies to drive improvements in Scotland’s health and wellbeing and to commit again to embracing world-leading standards of environmental sustainability.
James Withers, Scotland Food & Drink chief executive, said: “There is uncertainty ahead, with Brexit at the forefront of everybody’s mind. While big political upheavals are out of the industry’s control, we can control how we develop the Scottish brand, the markets we want to sell to and the investments we make in improving skills, innovation and supply chains.”