The “voice” of the Scottish food and drink industry is playing a key role in economic recovery, says Ian Forsyth.
Scotland Food & Drink (SFD) is the industry leadership body for the sector, representing its 463 member businesses and providing the platform for collaboration between industry and government.
Prior to the pandemic, Scotland’s food and drink industry had gone from strength to strength.
The sector was worth £14.8 billion annually, up from £10bn in 2007, and employing 115,000 people.
From its record high value, the sector has contracted over the past 12-15 months as coronavirus and Brexit impacts shook the global and UK economies.
To recover that lost ground and set the industry back on its remarkable growth path, the SFD Partnership is leading on delivery of the recovery plan.
It is designed to bring together businesses and trade organisations from across the sector to engage in programmes aimed at boosting economic activity and speeding up the recovery from the pandemic.
Holyrood-backed recovery plan
The plan is backed by the Scottish Government which, in November 2020, committed to a £15 million investment to realise the actionable strategy to get the sector back on its feet.
SFD also provides leadership on vital issues like sustainability, exploring a path to net zero.
It recently published a greening-your-business toolkit to give small and medium-sized enterprises the practical advice they need to start thinking about future-proofing their own practices and processes.
Through its UK market development work, SFD aims to match-up Scottish suppliers with buyers from major retailers, hospitality and wholesale across the country.
It is currently running a series of courses called The Academy which are designed to support businesses scale up, build out their capacity, and achieve their growth ambitions.
SFD has a broad and comprehensive approach to leading and championing our producers.
Whether that’s by putting forward the hopes and concerns of businesses on new free-trade agreements to government, bringing in international buyers to meet Scottish suppliers, or even encouraging members of the public to buy more Scottish produce, SFD is the voice of the industry.