Scotland business

Whisky fuels Scottish retail sales rise

Whisky Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Whisky brands have been credited with helping to boost retail sales of Scottish food and drink products

New analysis has shown the popularity of whisky helped retail sales of Scottish food and drink brands across Britain rise to nearly £2bn.

The figures cover the 12-month period to May 2014.

Famous Grouse, Bell's Whisky, Whyte & Mackay and Grant's Whisky were the top four Scottish food and drinks brands during the period.

Other brands like Baxters, Tunnock's and Irn-Bru have helped retail sales value rise by more than 36% since 2007.

Between May 2013 and May 2014, the estimated value of retail sales of Scottish food and drink products was up by 3.3%, according to the Scottish government analysis of grocery purchases across Scotland, England and Wales.

Scotland's food minister Richard Lochhead said: "Business is booming for Scottish food and drink, not just here in Scotland but across these islands and around the world.

"Our global reputation for top-quality food and drink with unrivalled provenance is driving up sales of iconic Scottish brands and products at home and further afield - as demonstrated by the strong and increasing demand for Scottish food and drink brands in England and Wales."

The analysis comes as new figures show that almost one fifth (19%) of Scotch whisky exports goes to Commonwealth countries.

Last year, exports to the Commonwealth were up 1% on 2012 to £793m, from a global total of £4.3bn, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Singapore is the largest market in the Commonwealth for Scotch whisky, with exports of £330m last year, followed by South Africa with exports of £163m, Australia at £84m and India with £69m.

Economic growth and increasing disposable incomes mean new markets are also emerging in parts of Africa, the SWA said.

Exports to Nigeria rose 43% to almost £14m last year, making it the seventh biggest market in the Commonwealth.

David Frost, SWA chief executive, said: "In many Commonwealth countries, Scotch whisky has been popular for years.

"As economies in other countries develop, young, professional consumers are developing a taste for Scotch whisky, which they rightly regard as an aspirational drink of quality."

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