Scotland’s food and drink sector has raised its five-year targets after a record 12 months of sales.
Targets were set by the industry in 2009 to reach £12.5bn by 2017. But after turnover recorded more than £13bn in 2011, long-term targets have been revised upwards.
Industry body Scotland Food & Drink has set a new target of £16.5bn turnover by 2017, which includes an export target of £7.1bn.
Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead, who announced the figures during a visit to a cheesemonger in Edinburgh, described the Scottish food and drink industry was a “fantastic success story”.
I have no doubt that it has smashed its turnover target six years early because of the high quality products and “dedication of those working in the sector”, he said.
“I have always believed that our food and drink sector is the best in the world, thanks to our fantastic natural larder, iconic products, strong global brands, excellent provenance credentials and industry innovation.”
The announcement of the figures comes after the Bank of Scotland’s prediction last week that thousands of new jobs would be created in the sector. A report by the bank estimated that more than 5,600 jobs could be created by 2018 as companies were looking to expand.
Mr Lochhead added: “Today’s figures – and last week’s Bank of Scotland prediction of thousands of new jobs being created in the sector – demonstrate the strength of Scottish food and drink as an economic driver for Scotland.
“We have worked extremely hard to grow the sector, connect with existing and emerging markets, and grow interest in our fantastic natural larder far and wide.”