Scottish food & drink firms targeting international expansion

Jane Clark-Hutchison, regional director, Bank of Scotland

Scottish food & drink firms targeting international expansion

Scottish food and drink firms are targeting new international customers outside of the European Union, according to a new report by Bank of Scotland.

The Bank of Scotland Food and Drink Report 2017 found that 61% of companies were investing or planning to secure new international customers in the next five years.

A fifth of Scottish firms said they planned to export for the first time in the next five years and this rises to 31% among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Jane Clark-Hutchison, regional director, Bank of Scotland, said: “Scotland’s food and drink sector defines us as a nation – it is a key part of our economy, our culture and our heritage, and this report shows that it remains robust in the face of economic and political uncertainty.

“With a global reputation for quality, the sector enjoyed a record year for exports last year and, buoyed by the depressed pound, many are now planning to grow not just in Europe but across a number of overseas markets.

“Our longstanding support for the sector is a point of pride for Bank of Scotland and we are determined to back them with the support they need at home and abroad.”

James Withers, chief executive, Scotland Food and Drink, said: "In the last 10 years, food exports have doubled and sales of Scottish brands in the UK have risen by nearly 40%. Through a focus on quality and provenance, Scotland's reputation as a land of food and drink has been transformed. 

"However, a lot of work is still required to unlock the full potential of our high-quality produce at home and overseas.

“It is great to see in this report that our Scottish food and drink businesses remain hugely ambitious, with 61%  businesses looking to develop in new markets.

“In order to do this, we must continue to invest in skills, our supply chains and embrace world-class innovation.”