Enhance our competitiveness

As the largest manufacturing industry in Scotland we play a vital role in underpinning the economy. Our industry has enormous potential, driven by a culture of innovation across a range of technologies.

The sector can play a key role in rebalancing our economy as the UK has a negative balance of trade. Therefore exporting industries, like food and drink, are vital to the recovery of our economy. However we compete on a global basis.

"For our industry to continue to deliver for Scotland we must remain competitive. This will be one of the biggest challenges that our industry faces."

Food and drink manufacturing sales
Graph: Food and Drink Manufacturing sales (£m)
Sources: Scottish Government

Prioritise economic and business growth.

A top priority for Parliamentarians and Government should be economic and business growth.

"Our ambitions for future growth must support areas where we have a comparative advantage such as added-value food and drink manufacturing, recognising that success in our brands and products positively reflects on Scotland as a whole."

Our industry has shown the leadership to grow and develop. Many of our members have grown significantly and continue to invest in new products, processes and technologies.

"In return we expect Government to provide a framework for business growth, further assisting industry to build on current successes. Action on issues such as skills, productivity, support for business and innovation can make a real difference to our industry."

Retain priority status.

Priority status for the food and drink industry has allowed us to make step changes in how it interacts, receives support from and delivers for Government. This must continue for this success to be built upon. Manufacturing adds value to our economy and acts as a lynch pin within the food chain as a whole and that must be recognised in future support and strategy.

Vital support from Government must continue.

The industry believes that the progress made in developing a national food and drink policy and establishing a Food and Drink Industry Division within Government has been vital in ensuring a joined up approach. To have a long term impact, this must only be the first step.

Targeted support for developing companies to export.

"There are many great Scottish export stories. There are also many Scottish brands that have the export potential but find it time consuming and difficult to break into international markets due to legal, linguistic and cultural issues."

Support must be targeted depending on the company – for some it maybe funding trade missions, using existing networks overseas or providing specific in-country information.

Make dealings between retailers and manufacturers fairer.

The Grocery Supply Code of Practice aims to ensure that manufacturers get a fair price for their products and that there is an accepted way of doing business. We welcome the proposal to establish a Grocery Code Adjudicator to monitor and enforce the Code.

Whilst this would be UK wide, there is the opportunity for MSP's to make representations to ensure the Adjudicator pays necessary attention to companies of all sizes and in different parts of the UK. SFDF is calling for the Grocery Code Adjudicator to be represented in Scotland as the OFT is and via a model similar to that of OFCOM.

Recognition that high costs affect our competitiveness.

"We compete in a global economy. Every cost affects our industry."

Whether these are costs that the UK or Scottish Government controls like business rates, fuel duty, or tax. The industry is also negatively affected by the increasing cost and volatility in the price of commodities, as shown below in the graph which illustrates the rising price of commodities like meat, dairy and sugar. These costs combined erode margins and affects our competitiveness.

Rising cost of commodities
Graph: Rising cost of commodities
Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations Food Price Index

Introduce a fuel stabiliser.

There should also be no further increases in fuel duty and as an industry we support the principle behind a fuel stabiliser so that as the price of oil increases, duty decreases. Manufacturers are currently being negatively affected twice over – by rising oil prices and by rising fuel duty. Increasing fuel duty also disproportionately impacts on manufacturers in rural areas of Scotland, who are further away from their main markets.

More information

Download PDF: Manifesto: Supporting our Industry. Supporting growth. Supporting Scotland.