Industry body Scotland Food & Drink, analysing figures published by HM Revenue & Customs yesterday, noted the rise had been driven by strong growth in Scotch whisky and also in other categories such as cereals.
Scotch exports grew in 2022 by 37.2%, or £1.7bn, from the previous year. Scotland Food & Drink highlighting particularly strong advances for Scotch whisky in Singapore, India and Taiwan.
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Scottish food exports were last year up 12.8% on 2021 at a record £1.9bn. This is 8.1% above the 2019 pre-Covid peak, “demonstrating a faster recovery than producers in the rest of the UK, which remains -1% on 2019”, Scotland Food & Drink noted.
It added that this was “despite another challenging year for the industry with cost pressures, skills shortages, and inflation”.
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Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “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.
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“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.”
Iain Baxter, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said yesterday: “The latest export figures are a welcome cause for optimism amid ongoing difficult trading conditions for our industry.”
He added: “Scotch whisky and Scottish seafood are world-famous sectors with global reputations for their quality. However, [the] data shows the breadth of the Scottish basket and the success we are seeing in overseas markets with sectors such [as] cereals and meat securing significant export growth.”
Ms Gougeon said: “It is hugely welcome to see Scotland’s food and drink exports were worth a record £8.1 billion in 2022, up by almost a third on the previous year. This is testament to the quality, innovation and skill shown by everyone working in the industry across the length and breadth of Scotland.
“The statistics show food exports have risen to an all-time high of £1.9 billion – up 12.8% on 2021 – which is a fantastic achievement for our food sector, complementing another strong year for our drinks sector.”