Supporting the growth of our food and drink industry
"Being a member of Scotland Food & Drink can only be a positive way forward for Scottish companies to come under one umbrella to promote our wonderful wealth of incredible produce."
Jill Clarke, Connage Highland Dairy
The importance of food and drink to our economy
Thriving and successful food and drink businesses are essential to Scotland's economic prosperity and are a key sector of Scotland's economy. This is recognised by the Scottish Government's Economic Strategy.
The Scottish Government is working with the Enterprise Agencies and local authorities to create the right environment for business competitiveness and growth. We are identifying opportunities for high-growth potential and supporting capacity to boost productivity, contributing to sustainable economic growth.
Scotland's food and drink producers, processors and retailers are critical to the future of the nation and the success of this agenda.
Some key facts about food and drink in Scotland
Richard Lochhead announcing the next steps to developing the Scotland's first National Food and Drink Policy at the Royal Highland Show in 2008.
Scotland Food and Drink
The Scottish Government and our Enterprise Agencies have supported the establishment of Scotland Food and Drink, an industry-led group which provides strategic leadership and support for the food and drink sector. Since its establishment in the summer of 2007.
Mike Russell, Minister for Culture, External Affairs and the Constitution promoting Scotland abroad.
Top 20 country destinations of food and drink exports from Scotland 2007
Scotland Food and Drink has developed a strong focus for collaborative and effective working. It has:
- Put in place a target of £10 billion sales by 2017 from £7.5 billion in 2007 for the whole food and drink industry in Scotland. This a challenging but achievable target, and the Scottish Government and partners will work to support delivery of this aim.
- Started work on the key areas of reputation, collaboration, innovation and skills.
- Developed a strong marketing brand with the message that Scotland is a 'Land of Food and Drink' which has buy-in from partners across the food and drink sector. All relevant Scottish Government activity supports this branding.
- Taken a key role in development of the next steps of this National Food and Drink policy.
We are committed to continue working with Scotland Food and Drink to support industry to help meet the challenges and opportunities outlined in this policy.
Progress so far
In order to thrive and survive, we need to support Scotland's food and drink industry to deliver our goals of quality, health and environmental sustainability. We have already started to deliver on this agenda.
Supported 81 organisations with over £22.5 million funding through a range of grant schemes safeguarding in excess of 2780 jobs and creating around 310 full-time posts. These have included:
- £150k to Soil Association to deliver co-ordinated supply chain activity to expand market opportunities offered by public institutions in line with the "Food for life" programme;
- £190k to Angus Soft Fruits to support the £1 million development of additional packing lines and refrigeration equipment;
- £15k to Provenance Select Limited to undertake a feasibility study into the market opportunities for a new premium brand of Scotch Beef, of guaranteed quality and provenance;
- £300K of support to Seafood Scotland to deliver an environmental best practice programme for the Scottish seafood sector.
We have funded £1.2 million worth of activity through Scotland Food and Drink:
- to help food and drink producers to get involved in Homecoming Scotland events;
- to establish a Supplier Development Programme, in conjunction with Sainsbury's and Scotland Food and Drink, to run a mentorship programme to help food and drink producers obtain supermarket listings;
- to improve the competitiveness of Scottish food and drink supply chains we have invested in a collaboration project run by the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society ( SAOS). This project helps businesses realise economic and environmental benefits by working together more effectively and efficiently.
Proper use of skills is of great importance to a food and drink industry which can meet the challenges of quality, health and environmental sustainability. To help deliver this we have supported a number of initiatives:
- in 2008/09 European Structural Funds awards were made to the food and drink sector to enhance skills in the bakery and meat sectors totalling £100,000;
- a Level 2 Modern Apprenticeship ( MA) framework in food processing has been developed. We have also reintroduced funding for adult MAs in bakery and meat processing in response to industry demand.
Supermarkets are critical to the production and consumption of food and drink. They have significant influence on the food and drink we buy, and on other parts of the food and drink supply chain.
In order to deliver a successful Food and Drink policy we have developed closer relationships with our supermarkets:
- Ministers have convened supply chain meetings to address various sectors including beef, pork and dairy and have held discussions with supermarkets at the very highest level.
- In September 2008, the First Minister hosted a Supermarket Summit with Chief Executives and Senior Directors to discuss a range of issues, including support for Scottish produce, public health and initiatives to reduce waste.
- As a result of the summit, the supermarkets and the Scottish Government have established a Retailers' Forum and have agreed to work together to drive forward our ambition for food and drink.
As noted in our key facts, this relationship has delivered results for Scotland. Between May 2007 and May 2009, retailer sales of Scottish brands within Great Britain have increased by £0.3 billion, constituting a 21% rise. Sales of Scottish brands in Scotland increased by £76 million, an 18% rise. Scotch Beef was the top selling Scottish brand in both Great Britain and Scotland. Retailer sales of Scotch beef increased by 12% in Great Britain and 22% in Scotland. Scotch Lamb sales increased by 25% and 18% respectively. Our retailers, producers and processors should be congratulated.
- Support Scotland Food and Drink as the industry leadership organisation with recognition of its role in co-ordinating industry support across key stakeholder organisations and its work to achieve the target of £10 billion sales by 2017.
- Secure greater export coverage and maximise opportunities across the UK by putting in place a
3-year access-to-market strategy for Scotland's food and drink businesses.
- Develop a strategy with the Enterprise Agencies and Scotland Food and Drink to achieve more scale within the food and drink sector - improving productivity, thereby increasing profitability and enhancing employment.
- Provide advice and funding to local producers to help them develop markets for their products and encourage the growth of farmers markets, farm shops and local food initiatives.
- Investigate the scope for national support and development of local food forums and local food networks in order to support local producers.
- Working with the Scottish Retailers' Forum, help producers and processors to find new markets for their products in our supermarkets.
- Establish a Scottish Charter with retailers to support the delivery of the National Food and Drink Policy.
- Organise a Convenience Store meeting in Autumn 2009 to take forward the food and drink agenda in relation to convenience stores.
European Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel and Richard Lochhead meet members of a local rural community group.
Supporting skills development
- Support Scotland Food and Drink in their work to improve and make best use of the food and drink workforce's skills through a skills centre of excellence and by distance learning.
- Support Scotland Food and Drink and the Enterprise Agencies to establish a food and health innovation and commercialisation centre. This will support the use of research to meet industry needs and equip Scottish-based organisations with the skills to commercialise ideas from science and respond to market drivers.
- Support the development of proposals for a food and drink skills academy for Scotland.
Partnering industry on health and environmental sustainability
- Promote healthy and sustainable food choices in supermarkets through our work with the Scottish Retailers Forum, including the scope for more promotions on healthy, sustainable food.
- Review the industry's awareness and access to advice and services relating to food and drink quality, nutrient content and environmental sustainability.
- Work with the Food Standards Agency to support the industry to reduce saturated fats, sugar and salt in their products through reformulation.
- Recognise those companies that commit themselves to reducing environmental impacts and produce healthier foods in our financial support (such as Regional Selective Assistance, Food Processing Marketing and Co-operation Grant Scheme).
- Through the Scottish Government Alcohol Industry Partnership, work with the drinks industry to take forward collaborative work around the responsible drinking agenda.
Telephone: 0300 244 9802
Food, Drink and Rural Communities
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