Scottish food and drink exports still booming so is it still only 28% of the UK’s food and drink exports? We’re still only 8% of the population


Picture: Scotland Food & Drink

Scottish food and drink exports grew by 9% or £119 million in the first half of 2017 bringing the half-year total to £2.5 billion. Again, from, yesterday:

  • Food exports increased by 24% to £770 million
  • Scottish whisky exports grew £57 million (up 3%) to £1.8 billion
  • Fish and seafood exports are up 38% to £459 million
  • The EU accounted for 69% of all food exports

The Head of Food and Drink at Scottish Development International, said:

‘Scotland’s extensive larder of natural, high quality products continues to drive global appetite for our food and drink exports.  The Scotland Food & Drink in-market specialists in our top prospect markets are opening doors for Scottish companies with high end retailers, luxury hotels, leading chefs and distributors to help drive this growth, while our recent Showcasing Scotland event attracted 100 international buyers from 16 countries to meet with 140 food & drink businesses in Scotland, creating significant new export opportunities’.

I was able to make the claim below on the basis of only the first three months of the year, so given the above figures, the 28% may be an understatement.

With only 8% of the population, Scotland accounts for more than 28% of UK food and drink exports. Too wee to survive on our own?

23 thoughts on “Scottish food and drink exports still booming so is it still only 28% of the UK’s food and drink exports? We’re still only 8% of the population

  1. gavin October 16, 2017 / 3:40 pm

    Excellent stats for excellent produce. The EU is highly important for our exports, however, which makes David Mundells invisibility in Brexit all the more lamentable. Whatever his personal attributes, he must rank as the worst Secratary of State Scotland has ever had.
    The apparently endless rain this year is making normal food production in western Scotland problematic—-Ayrshire rice paddies replacing Ayrshire tattles? Surely not. Good for hydro power, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert October 16, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    i could be wrong but i detect a bit of subterfuge going on with our media , they wouldnt be telling us lies would they , surely not , aye right been doing it for so long most people dont notice it , so many being befuddled and lied to by so few ,it’s amazing how many people still believe the bbc .oh well takes all sorts .

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alasdair Macdonald. October 16, 2017 / 5:00 pm

    Anent the whisky exports, BBC Scotland reported last week that whisky sales had FALLEN. They also quoted the industry as stating that the tax imposed by the Chancellor was the cause. The FALLEN aspect is another dogwhistle that we would not be able to manage on our own

    There were no mentions of the other three items which you provide information on.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ludo Thierry October 16, 2017 / 5:50 pm

    Hi Alasdair – I understood the sales ‘fall’ in whisky reported last week referred to Scottish and rUK sales. These sales were apparently down approx 1M bottles and the UK Chancellor’s tax change (3.9% rise at last budget I believe) was being touted as the likely cause. The figures John is quoting above refer to latest export figures for Scotch. I noted a small mention by Highland retailers describing continuing good sales (despite the reported ‘drop’). That article suggested that the purchases by tourists were keeping sales of Scotch in Highland area bouyant – and that tourists were taking premium brands as fall in Sterling exchange rate was making these seem keenly priced.

    Thanks, ludo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Alasdair Macdonald October 16, 2017 / 8:52 pm


      Thank you. The point which I was trying to make – inadequately – was that despite such figures as John has produced, the choice by the BBC was to report a fall in whisky sales. As in newspapers, the headline is the key and after that focus declines quite steeply for many readers/listeners. It is the continual emphasis on the negative that creates in the minds of many that things are, indeed, bad.

      Liked by 1 person

      • johnrobertson834 October 17, 2017 / 9:07 am

        Choice – that’s the word. Propaganda in market-based democracies lies in editorial choices

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ludo Thierry October 16, 2017 / 6:26 pm

    Hi John et al – either my eyesight is getting worse or there is, precisely, nil mention of these newly released 6 month export figures for Scottish food and drink on the beeb Jockland website – I skimmed right through it (main page, politics, business and ‘local’ pages – no mention at all. Funnily enough they had found plenty of space to report on Jim Sillars’ nonsense performance on Brewers’ show yesterday).

    During my race through the pages I noticed a ‘local news’ item on the ‘South’ page anent a bit of enterprising use of Scottish Parliament expenses by a Tory MSP called Finlay Carson (I confess his existence had previously passed me by). I feel it is worth posting here as it is somewhat (very much so) ‘hidden’ on the beeb jockland site:

    A Conservative MSP hired his own IT firm to design his website and claimed the costs back on parliamentary expenses. Finlay Carson claimed £1,200 in March for web design work carried out by CMS Broadband. Finlay Carson claimed £1,200 in March for web design work carried out by CMS Broadband The MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries is listed as a director and shareholder of the firm alongside his brother John Carson. Holyrood’s expenses rules state that “a member shall ensure that any claim is submitted solely in respect of the performance of parliamentary duties and is not submitted in order to gain financial or other benefit for the member or any other person”. A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “If there is a breach of the rules, we will of course comply with whatever the parliamentary authorities advise and pay back any costs.”

    A Scottish Parliament spokeswoman said: “When claiming under the members’ expenses scheme, members are expected to act in accordance with the principles and rules of the scheme.” Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved.

    “..members are expected to act in accordance with the principles and rules of the scheme”? – Aye – but do they not ken that there are ‘special’ rules for the The Col.’s britnat brigade?

    Ta, Ludo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Alasdair Macdonald October 16, 2017 / 9:07 pm

      I, too, scanned the site and found no mention. I think Mr Ponsonby’s article on Indyref2 gets to the nub of the matter. After the Tory conference fiasco, and Labour’s continuing Scottish leadership squabble, the SNP conference went pretty well, so, spoilers were needed and hence we had the kinds of things we had on BBC Scotland on Saturday and Sunday – such as Margaret Curran and the political editor of the Daily Record reviewing the papers, and interviews with Messrs McAskill and Sillars. The ignoring or burying elsewhere under neutral or damning headings of good news is a standard tactic.

      This Tory MSPs actions is the second such breach of the rules by a Tory MSP. We had the Aberdeenshire one forced into a retraction. The procedure sems to be chance your arm as far as you can and once proved wrong, plead ignorance and retract.

      It reminds me of the case against many Canadian sprinters, including Mr Ben Johnson, for having used performance-enhancing substances. One of the women sprinters in a candid interview said that their tactic was to deny each detail as strenuously as possible until faced with overwhelming evidence and then concede that point and only that point and continue like this through every point. The intent was to bankrupt the Canadian anti-doping agency and, to create mutterings about any mounting public costs in the trial, so that eventually either the case would fall for lack of funds or there would be a deal. The earnings of the sprinters and the pharmaceutical organisations was bigger than the anti-doping agency. If the case was dropped and any media raised the matter of misuse by these athletes they would be sued, because the matter had not been proved in court. The cynicism is breathtaking. I think this kind of mindset is behind these claims expenses.

      Liked by 2 people

      • johnrobertson834 October 17, 2017 / 9:08 am

        The athletes probably pay a higher price than the Tories though


  6. Alasdair Macdonald October 16, 2017 / 9:20 pm

    It seems that HM Government has produced an analysis on the effects of Brexit on different countries and regions of the UK, as well as on different sectors of trade and industry. The Chancellor Mr Phillip Hammond admitted this to a House of Commons Committee. However, the Gobvernment refuses to make the information public ;’for fear of misinterpretation’. This shows disdain for the intellects of the public and their elected representatives. Leaks and/or rumours about this indicate that Scotland and the North East of England are amongst the most seriously affected.

    If this is so, then could the kind of data which John has produced not be seen again once the UK has crashed out of Europe? Of course, food and drink depends heavily on the farming and fishing industries, with the latter group, in particular, being the most supportive of Brexit in Scotland Both of these industries are important in areas of Scotland which returned Conservative MPs, MSPs and Councillors. Both of these industries, control of which is legally devolved are possibly likely to come under Westminster control (at least for a time) and could be bargaining counters as Mr Liam Fox seeks trade deals across the world. Would these actions be strong contributors to the reported serious blow to Scotland’s economy?

    These areas have elected Conservatives to Parliaments and Council chambers. Should the electorates in these areas not be pressing these elected members to have THEIR government release the information so that their constituents can consider the implications?

    Don’t you think the Colonel should be pressed on this matter?

    Liked by 1 person

      • Alasdair Macdonald. October 17, 2017 / 6:57 pm

        I have made a start by contacting a list MSP for the Glasgow constituency, who sits on Holyrood’s Finance Committee. Since the Colonel is a constituency MSP for an Edinburgh seat, I suspected that the email would be declined.


  7. emmylgant October 17, 2017 / 11:27 am

    Here is evidence that it isn’t so much that Scotland is too wee, but that it is too big a contributor to UK wealth to be let go of willingly.


    • johnrobertson834 October 17, 2017 / 4:14 pm

      Yes. If we got really close to it, how would the British State react – like the Spanish one just has?


  8. Ludo Thierry October 17, 2017 / 3:06 pm

    Hi John – Hi Alasdair (rapid coffee being taken so visiting briefly) – I see what you mean about the beeb’s ‘framing’ of their headlines about the ‘fall’ in sales of Scotch. You are dead right about their true professionalism in (unerringly) finding the ‘negative’ aspect to promote. Thereis a brilliant example on the beeb Jockland site today (below):


    Number of winter deaths increase in Scotland

    Actual information contained within body of article (my capitals):

    The number of deaths during winter increased last year in Scotland, according to the latest figures.

    The National Records of Scotland said 20,930 deaths were registered between December 2016 and March this year – up from 20,509 the previous winter.

    Despite the rise, the NRS said the long-term trend for winter mortality rates was “CLEARLY DOWNWARD.”

    NRS chief executive Tim Ellis said: “There are always more deaths in the winter in Scotland than in any other season, but the LONG-TERM TREND SINCE THE EARLY 1950s HAS CLEARLY BEEN DOWNWARD. (However, not “..clearly..” enough for beeb Jockland!)

    “However, the five-year moving average (which smoothes out much of the year-to-year fluctuation) has not changed much since the early 2000s.”

    I think that example demonstrates the type of tricks the MSM excell at – and, sadly, too many of our fellow Scots fall for.

    Coffee swallowed – must away, Ludo


    • Alasdair Macdonald. October 17, 2017 / 7:14 pm

      When he was Prime Minister, Mr David Cameron was pretty keen on ‘nudge’ theory. In summary it is about making fairly gentle and seemingly non-ego threatening hints to shift your ideas in a particular direction. It is thought more subtle than more overt approaches. There was an article about one of the proponents of it in last week’s New Statesman. Such theories about attitude change have been around in various guises for decades. This drip-drip of negative presentations has been a staple of the BBC and other broadcasters for years.


  9. johnrobertson834 October 17, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    Yes, good example of editorial selection for propagandising purposes. Don’t overdo that coffee


  10. gavin October 18, 2017 / 8:23 am

    So….what’s the worst that can happen? BBC North Brit and The Hootsman would have us —-Vote for Indy, float off into the North Atlantic, with nae pals.

    Where we would have to subsist on….prime beef, Scotch salmon and sea trout with Ayrshire tatties, washed down by finest single malt, superb local beer and birch wine.

    Pure hell on earth, so it is!


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