Associate feature: Celebrating Scotland’s vital food and drink manufacturing industry

Written by David Thomson on 15 January 2018 in Comment

David Thomson, CEO of FDFScotland, on the importance of the food and drink sector to Scotland's economy

The food and drink industry, from agriculture, fishing, aquaculture through to manufacturing is a significant contributor to the Scottish economy - with an annual turnover of around £14bn. According to Scottish Enterprise – although the manufacturing part of the industry accounts for only about six per cent of the company base - it generates 75 per cent of the gross value added and is responsible for almost 100 per cent of exports.

On top of that recent stats show that exports of all UK food and drink grew to £5.9bn in Q3 2017, up 14.7 per cent on 2016. This is certainly reason for our food and drink manufacturing members to celebrate.

Macsween of Edinburgh’s ambition is to make Macsween haggis available worldwide - to do this they have been working hard identifying growth markets and developing recipes true to their tradition that allow entry into these different markets.


Macsween has become the first genuine Scottish haggis to reach consumers in Canada in 46 years and Singapore in 21 years. They began exporting to both markets in August last year and since then have seen steady growth in sales. The company is constantly looking for other opportunities overseas.

Nairn’s has been baking oat-based products including oatcakes, crackers, biscuits, oat-based snacks in Scotland since 1896 and now have a successful gluten free range. Exports account for approximately ten per cent of the company's turnover and they have seen this increase around 20 per cent year on year.

Nairn’s most successful export markets are the USA, Canada, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and Cyprus. The company is focusing on developing new markets, as well as growing sales in their current markets by investing in expanding their distribution networks and developing brand awareness.

Food and drink is a vital part of our economy and also an important part of everyone’s lives. We need to work together to ensure this sector continues to flourish, especially during uncertain times.

Get in touch to discuss how we can work together: 

Twitter: @FDFScotland email: telephone: 0131 229 9415

David Thomson is CEO of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Scotland

Sponsored by FDF Scotland

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