New plan to raise Scottish food exports on global stage
A new scheme aims to make Scottish food and drink as well known internationally as Scottish whisky.
The Scotland Food and Drink Export Plan aims to capitalise on the industry's success by focusing on 15 key export markets.
Experts from Scottish food companies will work with the Scottish government to maximise export potential to these markets.
Previous food and drink export goals were met six years ahead of schedule.
End Quote Mark Laing Nairn
It's great to see Scotland's food and drink sector coming together as one to lay out a plan for the industry as a whole”
Scottish food and drink has proved to be one of the country's strongest exports with a 52% increase between 2007 and 2012.
During the decade leading up to 2012 exports of Scotch whisky also increased by 87% to £4.3bn.
The key areas the campaign will target are North America, France, Germany, the Middle East, China and Hong Kong, Japan and South East Asia.
Food and Drink Secretary Richard Lochhead backed the plan.
He said: "From Beijing to Brussels, New Delhi to New York, Scotland's food and drink is going global.
"The sector has experienced tremendous growth in recent years - in fact, if the current rate of growth continues then we will have an export rate similar to that of the North Sea oil and gas industry. That is remarkable."
He added: "New opportunities and markets are opening up for Scottish food and drink businesses all the time. These new steps, married with our ongoing work to break down trade barriers, will lay down golden foundations for our food and drink industry."'Potential opportunities'
The Scotland Food and Drink Export Partnership is made up of the Scottish government, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Development International, Quality Meat Scotland, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, Scottish Bakers, Scotch Whisky Association and Dairy UK and Seafood Scotland.
The new scheme was backed by several high-profile Scottish food companies.
Mark Laing, chairman of Nairn's in Edinburgh, said: "Exports are a key part of our business. We currently export to 30 countries around the world and have experienced the benefits from this, but we know there are many more potential opportunities out there.
"It's great to see Scotland's food and drink sector coming together as one to lay out a plan for the industry as a whole."
The group has produced an online document detailing how the scheme aims to boost the profile of Scottish food and drink exports.