Page last updated at 12:26 GMT, Thursday, 3 December 2009

Ambitious growth target for food industry

Packet of Mackies haggis crisps
It is hoped sales of food and drink will help Scotland out of recession

Scotland's food and drink industry has been set a new target to grow in value to £12.5bn, an increase of £2.5bn.

The industry body, Scotland Food and Drink, said it wanted exports to increase from £3.8bn to £5bn.

The organisation said growth in the food and drink industry was vital to Scotland's recovery from recession.

More than 337,000 people in Scotland, 14% of the workforce, are employed in the food industry which is currently worth £7.57bn to the economy.

The new targets for growing the value of sales and exports should be reached by 2017.

The chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, Paul McLaughlin, said: "Despite the economic downturn, the sector has shown resilience but we must remain adept at recognising new opportunities and innovative solutions to meet our £12.5bn target."

Consumer interest has never been greater and sales of Scottish brands have soared
Richard Lochhead
Rural affairs secretary

Food and drink make up 27% of Scotland's sales overseas with whisky, seafood and salmon dominating the export market.

According to the latest Global Connections Survey, the biggest overseas markets are France, USA and Spain, followed by Taiwan, Greece and Germany.

Richard Lochhead, the rural affairs secretary, said the food and drink industry was important to the economic strength of the country.

He added: "Scotland is world-renowned as a land of food and drink and 2009 has been hugely significant in terms of enhancing this reputation.

"As well as the official launch of the next steps of our first-ever national food and drink policy, consumer interest has never been greater and sales of Scottish brands have soared."

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