About the industry

Key facts and figures about the sectors which make up our industry.

Food and drink is one of the largest industry sectors in Scotland.

Scotland's food and drink sector has come a long way over the last ten years. From an industry whose growth was static, it is now one of the best performing sectors of the economy and shows no signs of slowing down as customers continue to demand Scottish produce on menus.

Over the last 10 years, food exports have more than doubled, it’s Scotland biggest employer, sales of Scottish brands in the UK have risen over 40% and the industry is worth a whopping £15 billion. Food and drink business of all shapes and sizes are now part of a Scottish food and drink movement and we are seeing more and more Scottish labelled produce on UK supermarket shelves and in restaurants across the world.

Read on find out more about our incredible industry.

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  • The Quality Meat Scotland Cattle & Sheep Assurance Scheme is the longest established scheme of its kind in the World and celebrated a milestone 25th anniversary in 2015.
  • This internationally recognised assurance scheme covers more than 90% of livestock farmed for red meat in Scotland.


  • Scotch Whisky is made only from cereals, water and yeast distilled in Scotland. Its process and geographical significance are protected by UK, EU and international law.
  • 39 bottles were shipped overseas each second.
  • Laid end to end they would stretch about 30,000kms - or about six times the distance between Edinburgh and New York.


  • After whisky, Seafood is Scotland’s second largest export, sold to over 100 countries.
  • From farmed seafood, shellfish to whitefish, over 60 species are landed in Scotland.
  • The export value for Scottish Seafood in 2017 hit a record £944million an increase of 23% from the previous year and has doubled over the past decade.

Read Aquaculture 2030, the strategic plan for farming Scotland's seas here.


  • Scottish salmon is both Scotland’s and the UK’s top food export.
  • The USA remains the largest market for Scottish salmon with sales worth £193M, followed by France (£188M), China (£69M) and the Republic of Ireland (£34M).

Primary agriculture

  • Scotland provides around 12% of UK cereal output.
  • Potatoes are an important crop in Scotland, with the sector valued at around £208m.
  • The Scottish soft fruit sector is worth an estimated £115m, contributing some 5% of total Scottish crop output by value.

Read Planting the Seeds of Growth, a strategy for the fruit, vegetable and potato sector to 2030 here.


  • Milk production in Scotland has been growing over the last decade, driven by rising milk yields, which increased by 19% from 2007–2014 (the last year in which data was collected) according to Defra statistics.
  • Scottish Dairy launched the Scottish Dairy Brand in 2015: all products under the brand are manufactured in Scotland using 100% Scottish milk (100% Scottish organic milk for organic tier)


  • There are over 160 brewers in Scotland, up from 20 in the year 2000.
  • They generate sales of almost £380m a year and directly employ some 1500 people.
  • The Brewers Association of Scotland, set up to support all breweries in Scotland, now has almost 50 members.

We work closely with and provide support for The Brewers Association of Scotland.


  • Estimates suggest that the UK accounts for over 60% of world gin manufacture.
  • The world’s biggest gin brand (by value), Gordons, is produced in Scotland.
  • There are over 100 Scottish gin brands
  • The value of gin exported overseas from Scotland has been calculated at over £400m.

We work closely with and provide support for the Scottish Distillers Association.

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