IN 2012 THE SCOTTISH FOOD AND DRINK SECTOR GENERATED £14 BILLION TURNOVER AND EMPLOYED AROUND 118,000 PEOPLE IN SCOTLAND.
The North East made a disproportionately large contribution to this, supporting 18% of employment and generating 17% of gross value added (GVA), despite being home to just 11% of the Scottish population.
There are a number of strengths to the North East's food and drink sector:
· A successful sector – collaboration
· Strength of food and drink community
· Natural resources
· Product quality and international reputation
· Research base
This region has a strong record of supporting the growth of the food and drink sector with initiatives such as the Grampian Food Forum being recognised across Scotland as examples of good practice. This well-established network provides a strong basis for collaboration to grow the sector.
The strength of the sector in the North East is also reflected in the diversity of businesses within the sector, both in terms of range of activity and business size. The region is home to successful businesses operating within every sub-sector of the Scottish sector and every stage of the supply chain, from primary production through to final consumption. The region’s businesses also range from small family run businesses with a handful of employees to major corporations employing hundreds of staff.
From fish to potatoes, the North East has been blessed with an abundance of natural resources that have underpinned the successful development of the food and drink sector in the region for generations.
The North East is the most important fishing region in Scotland, hosting Europe’s main white fish port (Peterhead) and Scotland’s main shell fish port (Fraserburgh).
An important component of cereal production in the region is barley and it is estimated that 38% of the malt and barley grown in Scotland is grown in Aberdeenshire. These crops are vital to the region’s lucrative whisky sector.
The area is also traditionally associated with a strong agricultural sector, with particular strengths in beef, pig production and seed potatoes.
The North East has a strong research base and recognised expertise in a number of areas that are directly relevant to the food and drink industry. In particular, the region has strong expertise in nutrition and health within organisations such as the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the James Hutton Research Institute.