Scottish dairy and eggs exports have rocketed since 2007.
Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment today revealed that the value of Scottish dairy and egg exports increased by 77 per cent between 2007 and 2014.
Speaking ahead of his visit to Anuga, the world's largest food and drink trade show, in Germany today (Monday) where he will officially launch the Scottish Dairy Brand to the international market, Mr Lochhead said these figures showed great promise for the future of Scottish dairy.
"Exports of dairy and eggs have enjoyed exceptional success but we need to do more to crack the international market. As Scotland celebrates the Year of Food and Drink I want to see more done to raise awareness of our delicious dairy produce, such as cheese and butter, among buyers and consumers overseas.
"I am particularly impressed with the increase we've witnessed in dairy and egg exports to France – a staggering 406 per cent since 2007. The French obviously appreciate good Scottish cheese with their wine, and eggs in their soufflé.
"Scotland is famed around the world for our lush, natural landscapes and pristine waters that are so important to the outstanding quality of our food and drink. The Scottish dairy sector can benefit from the growing global appetite for premium Scottish produce with unrivalled provenance. That is why I am in Anuga today to lend my support to the Scottish Dairy Brand, an excellent industry-led initiative, which puts the spotlight firmly on our fantastic dairy produce for retailers and buyers worldwide."
The stats, which are taken from HMRC, report export figures for both dairy produce and eggs.
In 2007, dairy and egg exports were worth £49.5 million, rising to £87.1 million in 2014. The three biggest export markets for dairy and eggs are France, Germany and the Netherlands, which increased by 406 per cent, 367 per cent and 164 per cent respectively between 2007 and 2014.
The export value for France rose from £3.8 million in 2007 to £19.5 million in 2014, Germany increased from £3.1 million to £14.5 million and the Netherlands rose from £5.7 million to £15.1 million in the same period.
James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said:
"The review of Scotland's dairy industry that the Cabinet Secretary commissioned in 2013 was about identifying a vision for the sector. Two key conclusions of that work were to develop a Scottish dairy brand and to start transforming our export performance. Anuga over the next few days is a landmark in delivering on those priorities.
"This week has seen Scotland host 150 UK and global food and drink buyers, who have come here from 20 different countries to do business with Scottish companies. We have showcased Scotland's larder to them and the same buyers looking for our world famous seafood and whisky also want to explore dairy opportunities as well. We know we have the products to make our mark globally and our nation's reputation for food and drink is growing day by day. The start of Anuga in Cologne allows us to capitalise on the clear opportunities in front of us. Crucially, it will build on the momentum of this week's event and the groundwork that has been done in key international markets in the last few years."
The Scottish dairy brand and its marque will be launched to the international market later today. The logo will be added to products such as cheese and butter and, in addition to signposting shoppers to Scottish produce, it will also help retailers and overseas buyers boost the profile of Scottish dairy produce.
In 2014, Scottish food and drink exports were valued at £5.1 million, with food exports surpassing £1.1 billion, signalling increasing international awareness and appreciation of the quality and provenance of Scottish food, and Scotland's distinguished heritage as a Land of Food and Drink.