Increased meat exports in 2016 played an encouraging role in a record year for food and drink exports from Scotland, according to new figures released by the Scottish Government.
Overall food and drink exports from Scotland grew by £421 million in 2016, to a record £5.5 billion, representing an 8% increase in the value of exports to Scotland’s successful food and drink sector over the past year.
In the meat category as a whole Scotland increased exports by 11% to £72 million, of which 90% was to Europe. Overall, food exports alone grew by 22% to £1.5 billion during 2016.
Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) worked hard during 2016 to promote the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status of Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb at key overseas food events and showcased the guarantees of quality assurance, provenance and welfare that underpin the brands.
According to Laurent Vernet, QMS Head of Marketing, a recent industry survey revealed the key markets for Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb in 2016 to be France and Benelux, which represented 67.8% of beef and lamb exports from Scotland.
QMS, which had a major presence in October 2016 at SIAL in Paris, one of the world’s largest food trade events, has also been working to raise the profile of the brands in other key growth export markets including Sweden and Denmark.
Scottish red meat industry’s exports to Germany increased by 23% during the year. And exports to the Nordic countries, Poland and Baltic countries and other central and eastern European countries rose by 19%, 197% and 444%, respectively in 2016.
Exports outside of the EU, mainly in South Africa, Hong Kong and Thailand, represented 5.4% of total of total Scottish red meat exports.
“The export figures published by the Scottish Government are encouraging and show there are still substantial opportunities for the Scottish red meat industry to develop and grow business inside and outside of the EU,” said Mr Vernet.
“We have also been working hard with other trade partners such as Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Development International and the UK Export Certificate Partnership to open key markets such as the US, China and Japan which offer exciting opportunities for the future.”
The picture shows Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing (centre) pictured with representatives of key organisations involved in food exports from Scotland, including Laurent Vernet, QMS Head of Marketing.