sales surge

Record high food and drink exports despite Brexit

Mairi Gougeon in Paris
Mairi Gougeon: the EU market continues to be important

Scotland’s food and drink industry has shrugged off the impact of Brexit to record the highest exports on record.

The sale of food and drink to the world was worth £8 billion in 2022, up by a third (30.6%) on the previous year and 8.1% above the 2019 pre-Covid peak, according to HMRC trade statistics.

Scotland’s total goods exports increased by 20.5% compared with 2021, greater than the 13.3% increase experienced by the UK as a whole. The EU market was worth £9.4 billion to Scotland.

Food exports have risen to an all-time high of £1.9 billion – up 12.8% on 2021, complementing another strong year for the drinks sector.

Scotch whisky exports grew by 37.2% compared to the previous year, representing £1.7bn growth. This was largely from Asia and Oceania – Singapore, India and Taiwan in particular – but the US remains the biggest national market for the national drink.

Despite the SNP’s continued opposition to Brexit, the EU remained a key market and Scottish Government Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said the data was “hugely welcome”,

She added: “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.

“Meanwhile, it is also encouraging that Scotland’s international goods exports showed strong performances across a number of commodities.

“The EU market continues to be vitally important to Scotland’s trade, worth £9.4 billion in 2022.

“We will continue to focus on delivering our plan to grow exports and build on this progress, through the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.”

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