Scottish food and drink exports reached a record value of £8 billion in 2022, new figures show.
Last year surpassed the 2019 pre-pandemic peak, according to the data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
The export value of Scottish food and drink rose by £1.9bn, or 30.6%, compared to 2021.
Whisky sales were a strong growth driver but there were good export performances in other categories, such as cereals.
Despite another challenging year for the industry with cost pressures, skills shortages and inflation, Scottish food exports were 8.1% above the 2019 pre-Covid peak.
By contrast food and drink exports across the whole UK were down by 1%, against 2019.
Whisky exports grew by 37.2% year-on-year, representing £1.7bn growth.
Sales growth for Scotland’s national drink came largely from Asia and Oceania – Singapore, India and Taiwan in particular – but the US is still the largest export market.
Scotland Food & Drink (SFD) chief executive Iain Baxter said: “The latest export figures are a welcome cause for optimism amid ongoing difficult trading conditions for our industry.
‘Few countries have breadth of produce that Scotland offers’
“Scotch whisky and Scottish seafood are world famous sectors, with global reputations for their quality.
Mr Baxter, who is also a member of the Scottish Government’s ministerial trade board and UK Government food and drink export council, said the new data showed “the breadth of the Scottish basket and the success we are seeing in overseas markets”.
Sectors such as cereals and meat are boosting total export growth, he said, adding: “Very few countries have the breadth of produce that Scotland offers.
— scotfooddrink (@scotfooddrink) March 17, 2023
“We must continue to capitalise on the strength of our biggest sectors to help the smaller ones grow. Our new industry strategy, which will be published shortly, will seek to build on this success and accelerate our growth.”
Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “It is hugely welcome to see Scotland’s food and drink exports were worth a record £8.1bn in 2022, up by almost a third, 30.6%, on the previous year.
“The statistics show food exports have risen to an all-time high of £1.9bn – up 12.8% on 2021.”
Scottish Development International (SDI) said backing exports remained a key plank of its activities.
Ewen Cameron, global head of trade, consumer industries at the trade and inward investment agency, added: “Supporting innovative Scottish companies scale up and grow through exports is a priority for Scottish Enterprise and our global trade teams.
“Our trade specialists based here and across the world will continue to work with partners across the public and private sectors to showcase the very best Scotland has to offer.”
SFD is a partnership between industry, research organisations and government to create support programmes and tackle emerging challenges.