Recipe for Success: Scotland's national food and drink policy, becoming a Good Food Nation

Strategy document setting out our proposed national food and drink policy up until 2025.

4. The Story of Success 1: Scotland’s Food & Drink Industry

Scotland enjoys superb assets in the food and drink sector. Our pristine, productive waters; our rich pastures; our worldwide reputation and our highly skilled and dedicated business people are the envy of many.

Since 2008, a number of steps have been taken by; food companies, farmers, the public sector, Scotland Food and Drink (the industry-led body responsible for driving sustainable economic growth), and many individuals to ensure Scotland realises the economic benefits flowing from those assets.

Companies the length and breadth of Scotland are seeing the fruits of their labour.

Case Study

The Stoats story

From small beginnings in 2005 selling fresh porridge at music festivals and local farmers markets, Stoats has become a real food and drink success story in Scotland. Blending a healthy mix of locally sourced Scottish oats with their own blend of magic, the business has been growing rapidly. Big events play a major part in Stoats story: in 2010, 10,000 bars were enjoyed by runners in the New York marathon; thousands of porridge pots were supplied to the Olympic Village in 2012; and they even broke the Guinness World Record for the largest ever bowl of porridge! But beyond these flagship events lies real commercial success. Engaging with Scotland Food and Drink and public sector agencies, their growth has led to their products being stocked by major retailers in this country and overseas. Stoats’ success is down to many factors: a passion for what they do; great ingredients culminating in a healthy product; innovative marketing and brand development; and growth across a whole range of different markets. A great model to follow.

Ramsay of Carluke

Like many farm-based businesses, Ramsay of Carluke has diversified over the years since their establishment in 1857. Today, Ramsay of Carluke embraces modern technology when it comes to processing its product, many of their methods remain traditional and little has changed in terms of service, quality and recipes. The firm has seen great success over the past 10 years in developing its brand in supermarkets, speciality retail and food service and can boast it is a Rick Stein Food Hero and lists a plethora of celebrity chefs among its admirers. Their success has been a combination of hard work, attending events that helped them build their business and winning awards such as a Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards and Great Taste Awards, which they have then publicised to help market their products. Fifth-generation Ramsays – Andrew and John – are now at the helm of a firm that is a major local employer committed to moving with the times, while keeping alive the traditional bacon-curing skills that have been passed down through the generations.

Scottish Farmed Salmon a Protected Food Name

In 2014 Scottish farmed salmon celebrates 10 years from being granted a Protected Food Name under the Protected Geographical Indication ( PGI). In this time it is estimated that well over £2.3 billion of exports of Scottish farmed salmon have been recorded. The PGI status underlines the fact that Scotland produces high quality, healthy and delicious farmed salmon. It is clear that in many international markets, such as in the USA and the Far East, Scottish provenance is important to our customers. The designation of PGI provides an international guarantee of origin for the salmon Scotland produces. This is especially important in emerging markets such as China who will pay a premium for imported food products that are seen as safe to eat and healthy. This is demonstrated in the strong demand for Scottish farmed salmon in the Far East, where exports to the region almost doubled to £85 million last year.

Scottish Rapeseed Oil Collaboration

Scottish Rapeseed Oil is a new group of the Scottish producers of cold-pressed rapeseed oil. Collectively they have created a vision to grow the Scottish rapeseed category through higher levels of awareness, targeting both consumers and trade buyers. With the help of Scotland Food and Drink and Interface Food and Drink, the group, which comprises Summer Harvest, Black and Gold, Cullisse, Stark Oils, Supernature, Mackintosh of Glendaveny, Borderfields and Ola Oils, is undertaking a concerted marketing campaign to help drive overall sales of the Scottish cold-pressed rapeseed oil category. Whilst a relatively small but important part of the Scottish food and drink industry the category still underperforms in Scotland and the group will initially use their collective voice to raise awareness in their home market. In the UK, rapeseed oil is the fastest growing sector of the oils category worth £7.2m. This new collaboration group will work together to grow and contribute greater value to the overall Scottish food and drink industry and drive increased sales for all eight producers over the longer term.

Taken together, the story of growth, development, and success in the Scottish Food and Drink sector since 2008 is remarkable.

  • Unprecedented industry growth, one of the fastest growing domestic sectors, outstripping other parts of the UK food and drink sector. It is estimated that retail sales of Scottish brands in GB retail have risen by 32% between May 2007 and May 2013.
  • Over the period 2008 to 2011, the food and drink growth sector experienced the strongest growth in turnover (14.4%) of all the growth sectors in Scotland, worth £13.1 billion in 2011, surpassing the industry target of £12.5 billion by 2017.
  • Between 2008 and 2011, turnover in Scotland’s food and drink manufacturing grew by more than three times (13.4%) UK food and drink manufacturing (4.0%).
  • Huge export growth of over 50%, with new markets opened up in the Far East, Asia and the Americas.
  • An increase in the number of Protected Food Names in Scotland by 50% since 2007, adding, for example, Scottish Farmed Salmon, Scottish Wild Salmon, Orkney Cheddar Cheese, and Stornoway Black Pudding, with more on track to be registered in the future.
  • Greatly improved collaboration between all parts of the industry – as embodied in the highly successful new body, Scotland Food and Drink – and between the industry and public sector.
  • Proactive focus on public procurement, including the creation of a Sustainable Food Charter for the Commonwealth Games. For education and social services, 34% of food was from Scotland in 2007; for all public services, the figure was 48% in 2009 to 2010.
  • Farmers’ Markets have increased by around 50%. Farmers Markets Direct Sales are also estimated to have risen by 38% since 2007.
  • Support for the highly successful celebration of Scottish Food and Drink at successive Food and Drink Fortnights, with over 300 events anticipated for 2014 alone.

These examples – and there are many more – show just some of the successes the Scottish Food and Drink industry has achieved. All the signs are this success story will run and run. Recent forecasts, such as those made by the Bank of Scotland, suggest continued growth with more than 5,600 extra jobs by 2018 as companies expand. The Scottish food and drink industry has the opportunity to confirm its position alongside oil and gas as the premier sectors of Scotland’s economy.



Telephone: 0300 244 9802

Scottish Government
Food, Drink and Rural Communities
B1 Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
EH11 3XD

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