MSP Richard Lochhead has praised Scotland’s food and drink entrepreneurs for boosting the sector and increasing the number of food businesses by 25% over the last six years.
Speaking at the RBS Food and Drink Conference at Gogarburn this morning (Thursday, September 3), the cabinet secretary said that the number of food establishments across Scotland had rocketed by more than 25% between 2008 and 2015.
He revealed there had been mass growth across the entire sector despite much of the period being a time of economic struggle for many companies.
Lochhead, who is the UK’s food secretary, said: “A 25% increase in the number of food establishments across Scotland in just six years indicates the outstanding strength of Scotland’s food and drink sector, and are particularly welcome during the Year of Food and Drink.
“Every group in the industry – manufacturers and packers, importers and exporters, distributors and transporters, retailers, restaurants and caterers – reported significant increases in the number of establishments in their area over this six year period.
“Simply put, that is incredible. For the industry to achieve that level of growth over such a short time, during an economic downturn is nothing short of fantastic, and a testament to the people who work in the sector.
“It also highlights the ‘can do’ attitude of so many people across the country, indicating that Scotland is working its way towards becoming a world-leading entrepreneurial nation – so many of these establishments are brand new businesses, powered by hard-working, driven individuals and I take my hat off to them for playing such an important role in a sector that is vital to Scotland’s economy.”
According to the Scottish Government, the industry continues to grow and improve, with a 68% increase in the number of establishments importing and exporting produce.
It says the restaurant and catering sector saw an increase of 30%, while retailers have risen by more than 12%.
Earlier this year, the cabinet secretary launched the new Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC) grant scheme which will invest £70 million into food and drink processing in Scotland by 2020.
Food Standards Scotland recently carried out research across the main food sector groups including manufacturers, exporters, retailers and restaurants.
There has been a year on year increase in the number of food establishments across these sectors with an overall increase of 25.5% within six years
The largest increase is within the restaurant and catering sector which shows a 30% increase during the period
The year of most significant growth across all sectors was 2009-10 with an increase of 14.6%
This data has been gathered from Local Authority figures reported to the FSA and reflects the overall numbers of establishments rather than businesses. It does not include data relating to primary producers e.g. farms.