Scottish food exports going swimmingly as sales hit record £1.1bn
Latest figures from HMRC revealed that total food and drink exports were valued at £5.1 billion last year.
Drink sales were down from £4.2billion but food exports grew by 3.5 per cent on the previous year.
The Scottish government said a 3.5 per cent rise in exports was largely driven by overseas sales of fish and seafood, which were the nation’s most valuable to food exports and climbed by £38m to £613m.
The top international destination for Scottish food and drink produce remained the US, with exports worth £800m, followed by France, with exports of £734m in 2014.
Spain entered the top three export destinations for the first time, with sales valued at £247m.
The fourth and fifth export markets, ranked by value, were Germany (£208m) and Singapore (£202m).
Food exports to China soared by 82 per cent to £46m, with the figures largely driven by sales of fish and seafood.
Overseas food sales to the wider Asia and Oceania region were up 31 per cent to £113m.
The record export results were announced by Food and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead on a visit to Mara Seaweed in Edinburgh.
Mr Lochhead said: “These figures are encouraging, particularly longterm, and reflective of the fantastic produce we have to offer here in Scotland.
“We are now seeing a rise in the popularity of Scottish produce in emerging markets – in China, for example, we’ve witnessed a massive increase of 82 per cent in food exports, with overall value now up to £46million, evidence that the Chinese appreciate great Scottish seafood and meat.
“Our fish and seafood exports have soared, with sales hitting £613million - up 6.6 per cent on 2013 – due to an increase in exports to Asia and Oceania, the EU and sub-Saharan Africa.
“We have a wonderful natural larder that lends itself to some of the best produce in the world and we have some hard-working farmers, producers and processors who deserve the recognition that comes with their products being in demand all across the globe.”
Whisky remains the biggest drinks export while Scottish salmon is increasingly in demand across the world.
James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, said: “Whisky has blazed a trail globally but it is one that is being followed by other food and drink products. Europe remains our biggest food export market but we are beginning to now realise our ambitions to expand across North America and Asia.”