Why work in the Scottish food and drink industry: Supporting statistics

16 May 2021

These statistics show that food and drink is a vital part of the Scottish economy and that it offers a variety of careers in many sectors, in local communities across Scotland.

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The food and drink industry is a vital part of the Scottish economy and offers a variety of careers in many sectors, in local communities across Scotland.

A reliable industry

  • The Scottish food and drink industry has a turnover of £15bn per year.
  • Scottish food and drink is exported to 105 countries with exports valued at a record £6.3bn.
  • The Scottish soft fruit sector is worth an estimated £115m and accounts for 25% of total UK strawberry production, 15% of total UK raspberry production & 15% of UK blueberry production.
  • Scotch Whisky exports earned £139 every second in 2017.
  • Estimates suggest that Scotland accounts for 70% of the UK’s gin production.
  • Local food and drink sales in Scotland contribute £1.3bn to the economy.
  • 71% of Scottish shoppers think products labelled as Scottish are better quality.

Opportunities

  • Digital technology is changing the way we interact with food and drink and this will drive innovation.
  • Drink manufacturing, distilling, rectifying and blending of spirits employs 7,000 people, 6.3% of Scotland’s food and drink employment.
  • The industry will continue to need more higher level skills and qualifications (SCQF level 7 and above i.e. HNC/D level).
  • Nine in ten distilling jobs in Britain are based in Scotland.
  • The Scottish agriculture sector employs 69,475 people and contributes £3.5bn to the economy.
  • Food and drink needs 41,900 new recruits by 2029 to meet the skills need of the sector.
  • Skills shortages in food and drink are in STEM related areas - food science, food technology and engineering.
  • Food and drink offers great opportunities for new business start-ups and entrepreneurs, with new and emerging markets including brewing and distilling.