Food and drink exports from Scotland grew by £421m in 2016 to a record £5.5bn.

The latest figures show an 8% increase in the value of exports over the past year, with food exports alone growing by 22% to £1.5bn.

Exports to EU countries were worth £2.3bn overall, up £133m on last year.

These figures come ahead of the launch of a new food and drink industry strategy on 23 March at the Scotland Food & Drink Annual Conference, where president of Scottish Bakers Craig McPhie will represent the organisation at the official launch with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Chief executive of Scottish Bakers Alan Clarke (pictured centre) 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. 

“Our own Scottish Bakers Export Group, chaired by Martin Lightbody, is also moving into a new exciting phase with specialist export support being provided to our members.”

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Since this government came into office, the value of food exports has more than doubled. Food and drink is now one of the standout success stories in our economy, increasing growth and supporting jobs across the country.

“Scotland’s food and drink sector is in fantastic health, and the strategy launch will outline how we plan to support the industry to build upon this success and further grow the sector to 2030.”