Scots food and drink exporters eye £20m opportunity

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Scots food and drink exporters eye £20m opportunity

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 Scottish food and drink exports

EXPORT opportunities worth up to £20 million are hoped to be opened up to Scottish food and drink producers at a online summit that begins today, as the industry bids to overcome the challenges of coronavirus and post-Brexit woe.

About 100 culinary leaders from Europe, North America and Asia are expected to dial into Scotland’s Global Foodservice Summit. The digital programme, hosted by Scottish Development International, industry partners and public sector bodies, aims to highlight the country’s finest produce and encourage long-term relationships to be forged.

It comes after it was revealed on Friday that UK exports to the European Union had plunged by more than 40 per cent in January after the Brexit transition period came to an end on December 31, amid well-documented struggles created by new red tape.

The food and drink industry is worth around £15 billion each year to Scotland’s economy, with more than 17,000 businesses employing around 120,000 people. Exports were worth £6.7bn in 2019, the latest figures from HMRC show.

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “The Global Food Summit will provide a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best of Scottish produce, and the amazing businesses behind it, to customers across the world. 

“After a year like no other we have had to adapt and innovate to ensure we are still able to showcase the very best of Scotland to the world and the Summit is one of the ways we are doing so. 

“We know that consumers across the world continue to want our produce – the quality, provenance and taste that we are renowned for remains constant and the summit will shine a bright light once again on the very best of Scotland.”

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “Scotland is home to much of the world’s finest food and drink produce and this summit will be a great opportunity to showcase that.

“Despite the challenges of the last year, I know the talent and ambition of our producers will see the sector continue to thrive, whether that be in areas such as Scotch beef, dairy, bakery and seafood, or craft beer, gin and whisky.

“The Scottish Government is committed to supporting our producers with a £5m contribution towards the work of the Food and Drink Recovery Plan to help mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 and Brexit.

“I hope this summit will help forge meaningful connections with delegates from around the world and play its part in ensuring our food and drink industry remains a great success story as we navigate these uncertain times.”

Executive chefs, culinarians and industry leaders from 15 countries will attend the summit, including senior representatives from global organisations such as Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt, Disney and Google.

It will feature meet-the-buyer events, tasting sessions and live demos by experts including Gary Maclean, Scotland’s national chef.

Mr Maclean said: "Scotland’s Global Foodservice Summit will allow international food and drink leaders to interact with fellow chefs, culinarians, and beverage professionals and discover the very best our country has to offer.

“As a chef and educator, I’ve seen the huge upheaval the food and drink industry has faced this past year and how much it will continue to adapt. However, the sector is also incredibly resilient and outward looking, with all of us keen to share our ideas with the world. The Global Foodservice Summit allows delegates and participants alike to do exactly this.”

 

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