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A nod to future success

Published: 23 Mar 2016 11:12

Booming food and drink industry can thrive on collaboration opportunities.

Scotland has the potential to become the best country in the world to operate a food and drink business if our buoyant industry stays at the forefront of the domestic and international markets says Food Secretary Richard Lochhead.

The Cabinet Secretary has welcomed the publication of an industry-led report that sets out the actions required to enable the country's food and drink sector to continue to grow and prosper over the coming years.

The report – 'Building on Success: Deepening Collaboration, Food and Drink in Scotland'­ – was commissioned by the Scottish Government last year and sets out more than 30 recommendations for action across key themes. Dennis Overton, vice chairman of Scotland Food & Drink, led the work to assess the opportunities for deeper collaboration across the industry that could bring about a step change in its growth and resilience, and build upon the remarkable success it has achieved over the past few years.

The Cabinet Secretary said:

"Scotland's food and drink industry has enjoyed unprecedented economic success over the past few years, smashing its own ambitious growth and export targets, and greatly enhancing the country's reputation as being a land of food and drink, both at home and on the international stage. This has been borne from excellent partnership working across the industry and public sector, but neither can stand still and become complacent – we must stay ahead of the game and one step in front of our competitors. That is why I commissioned this report – I wanted to see the actions we need to take, collectively, to build on our remarkable success and make Scotland the best country in the world to run a food and drink business.

"I am hugely grateful to Dennis and the Expert Group for their time in producing an excellent report which will underpin Scotland's new food and drink strategy currently being developed. This could be transformational for the sector and I am committed to working with Dennis, the industry and the public sector partners to consider and take forward the recommendations where appropriate. I also look forward to receiving a progress report from Dennis at the end of 2016."

The recommendations set out in the report include:

  • Initial proposals to address the supply chain imbalance, recognising the need for closer alignment between producers and other parts of the supply chain
  • The need to enhance our approach to innovation, with a greater focus on product development in line with market insights
  • The implementation of a new industry-wide skills development plan to improve the industry's workforce planning and enhance its reputation as a career choice
  • Proposal for greater operational alignment across the industry and with the public sector
  • Identifying the options on how Scotland can compete on the international stage through greater promotion and marketing

Dennis Overton, vice chairman of Scotland Food & Drink said:

"A great deal has been achieved over the last 10 years by the food and drink industry and Government working collaboratively together in ways never seen before. The team that produced this report realised that big opportunities remain to take collaborative working to a higher level. We have learnt that collaborative working translates directly into improved economic performance, more inventiveness and new jobs. Scotland's Food and Drink industry is ambitious to make collaboration something of a hallmark of distinction in the way we do business."