Scottish Food and Drink exports reaches record high of over £8bn

Exports of Scottish food and drink products reached a record export value of £8bn in 2022 according to the latest figures released by HMRC.

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Published: 17/03/2023

Exports of Scottish food and drink products reached a record export value of £8bn in 2022 according to the latest figures released by HMRC.

The export value of Scottish food and drink products rose by £1.9 billion compared to 2021, an increase of 30.6%, to take the value beyond pre-Covid levels. Driven by strong growth particularly in whisky, but also in other categories such as cereals, the figures demonstrate the appetite for Scottish products globally.

Despite another challenging year for the industry with cost pressures, skills shortages, and inflation, data published by HMRC today revealed that Scottish food exports are 8.1% above the 2019 pre-Covid peak, demonstrating a faster recovery than producers in the rest of the UK, which remains -1% on 2019.

Scotch whisky exports grew by 37.2% compared to the previous year, representing £1.7 billion growth. That increased value comes largely from Asia and Oceania – Singapore, India and Taiwan in particular - but the United States remains the biggest national market for our national drink.

Iain Baxter, CEO at Scotland Food & Drink, a member of both the Scottish Government’s Ministerial Trade Board and the UK Government’s Food and Drink Export Council, said: “The latest export figures are a welcome cause for optimism amid ongoing difficult trading conditions for our industry. Scotch whisky and Scottish seafood are world famous sectors with global reputations for their quality. However, today’s data shows the breadth of the Scottish basket and the success we are seeing in overseas markets with sectors such cereals and meat securing significant export growth.

“Very few countries have the breadth of produce that Scotland offers, and we must continue to capitalise on the strength of our biggest sectors to help the smaller ones grow. Our new industry strategy, which will be published shortly, will seek to build on this success and accelerate our growth.”

Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “It is hugely welcome to see Scotland’s food and drink exports were worth a record £8.1 billion in 2022, up by almost a third (30.6%) on the previous year. This is testament to the quality, innovation and skill shown by everyone working in the industry across the length and breadth of Scotland.

“The statistics show food exports have risen to an all-time high of £1.9 billion – up 12.8% on 2021 – which is a fantastic achievement for our food sector, complementing another strong year for our drinks sector.

“The food and drink industry is vital to Scotland. It creates jobs, wealth and helps attract people to the country by promoting our produce around the globe. The Scottish Government has long supported the sector – particularly through the various challenges of the last few years caused by Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing war in Ukraine and rising inflation. We have worked with industry to strengthen and unlock markets across the globe for Scottish producers through the Scotland Food & Drink Export Plan.

“These figures show the results of that successful collaboration between the private sector and industry.”

Ewen Cameron, Global Head of Trade - Consumer Industries - at Scottish Development International, said: “Scotland’s food and drink produce is globally renowned for its quality and provenance and these positive export figures underline the growing demand for premium Scottish food and drink in international markets.

“Supporting innovative Scottish companies scale up and grow through exports is a priority for Scottish Enterprise and our global trade teams. Our trade specialists based here and across the world will continue to work with partners across the public and private sectors to showcase the very best Scotland has to offer, delivering export opportunities for Scottish food and drink firms in the process.”

Scotland Food & Drink is a unique partnership between industry, research organisations and government to create world-class support programmes, tackle emerging challenges and ensure the best environment for food and drink businesses of all sizes to flourish.

For further information on Scotland Food & Drink, please visit:

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