|18 December 2015|

A collaboration agreement launched this week aims to help Scotland reach its food and drink export target of £7.1 billion by 2017.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and Scotland Food & Drink have teamed up and agreed a new Export Collaboration Charter which will use the extensive knowledge and networks the SWA have built up to help the country reach its ambition of increasing exports from the current level of £5.1 billion to £7.1 billion by 2017.

Scotland’s global reputation as a land of food and drink has never been stronger and this charter aims to build on that.

Scotland’s rural affairs secretary, Richard Lochhead said: “As we near the end of the Year of Food and Drink, it is appropriate that we look towards the future. I welcome this Export Collaboration Charter from the Scotch Whisky Association and Scotland Food & Drink, which can help deliver even greater future success for Scottish food and drink companies looking to sell across the globe.

“It’s great that the SWA is showing its commitment to the food sector, as well as whisky, and I believe today’s Charter will potentially be a game-changer. Working together can lead to great things and I am confident that this collaboration will play a crucial role in helping the industry grow in strength and stature internationally.”

David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: “Scotch Whisky is exported to almost 200 countries, generating around £4 billion a year. We want to help Scottish food and drink sectors learn from the success of Scotch – the country’s leading single product export – and this new collaboration shows our commitment to working with food and drink exporters to deliver growth for Scotland.

“Scotch represents around 80% of Scottish food and drink exports. Our export growth has been based on long-term thinking on trade issues, a focus on opening markets through close collaboration with governments and the EU, and collaboration at industry level. We hope to help other sectors do the same. In addition, export success for other food and drink sectors will build on Scotland’s growing reputation for premium products that can only be good news for the growth of Scotch Whisky.”

James Withers, Scotland Food & Drink chief executive, said: “When we launched our new food and drink export strategy, we explicitly prioritised working more collaboratively with partners and learning from Scotch Whisky’s success. This Charter delivers on that and will allow it to happen in a deeper way than we’ve seen before.

“Our export ambition is clear; to sell a broader range of products in a broader range of markets. New food and drink trade specialists, working through Scottish Development International, are now in place in ten cities around the globe.  However, the spirit of partnership and collaboration being shown by the whisky industry will bring crucial new expertise and experience to our activity in the coming years.”

Scottish Development International’s head of food & drink Susan Beattie, said: “Scotland has shown the world that it can produce globally competitive products across the whole of the food and drinks spectrum, with Scotch being our most famous export. This Charter will help even more of Scotland’s food and drinks products break into new markets abroad while re-investing back into the country the insights and knowledge already gained from developing Scotch Whisky into a global leader. It takes the Export Partnership to new levels, enhancing the existing collaboration between SDI, Scotland Food & Drink and trade associations.”