Bank of Scotland

Scotland’s food & drink sector to create up to 10,000 new jobs

01 September 2014

Growth in Scotland’s food and drink sector looks set to accelerate in the next five years with firms ramping up investment and creating new jobs according to a new report from Bank of Scotland.

The report, which surveyed a broad range of more than 100 Scottish food and drink businesses found that two-thirds (66%) of companies are expecting to increase their workforce by creating by creating almost 2,000 jobs between them by 2019. If replicated across the industry, this would result in the creation of 10,000*additional roles. The jobs boom will be driven by growth with three-quarters of companies in the thriving sector forecasting up to 15% growth in the next five years. 

Other key findings from the report include:

  •      Exporting and overseas markets remain key drivers for growth in the sector, with 58% planning to engage new international customers in the next five years
  •           86% said they plan to invest in pursuing new customers in Western Europe, while 67% plan to engage new customers in the Far East and Asia
  •       However, 49% said lack of time and resource is the biggest roadblock to expanding into international markets
  •          Challenges also remain for the sector, with 84% citing volatility in the cost of raw materials as a key issue. 67% said sustainability is a concern.

Graham Blair, SME Area director Bank of Scotland, said:  “Scotland’s food and drink sector is already a key growth driver for Scotland’s economy, and this report gives a taste of how it will become even stronger. The sector has vastly outperformed the wider economy in recent years, growing strongly during the downturn but as global economic conditions continue to improve its growth is likely accelerate even further in the next five years. 

“Our report also shows that Scotland’s reputation for providing iconic and high quality food and drink products is increasing the global appetite for our produce not just in Europe but in South East Asia and South America.

This year has been the perfect platform to showcase Scotland’s food and drink and many businesses in the Sector have reaped the benefits of the Commonwealth Games. With the Ryder Cup just around the corner, the country will continue to be in the global spotlight and many visitors from around the world will have the opportunity to sample the delights of our national larder.

“Bank of Scotland supports many of the leading players in this vibrant sector and is proactively seeking opportunities to invest in its continuing success story.”

James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “We are witnessing record growth levels in the Scottish food and drink industry, with the nation cementing its reputation at home and abroad as a Land of Food and Drink.  We have moved from a position of static growth in 2007 to a 40% rise in the value of the sector since then.  

"Whilst recent years have taken the industry, now worth £14 billion, to a whole new level, there is still so much potential ahead of us.  The industry and government are working in close partnership on a clear strategy and we have set a new growth target of £16.5 billion in turnover by 2017.  

“Scotland has a clear ambition to develop the export of Scottish brands and build on the success enjoyed in our domestic market. 

“We have a 10 year plan to double food and drink exports from Scotland and, with real momentum now, we're right on track."

Read full press release.