Annual sales of Scotland’s biggest food and drink brands across Britain have risen by more than a third in the past seven years to almost reach £2 billion, new figures reveal.
Scotch whisky continues to drive much of the growth with Famous Grouse, Bell’s whisky, Whyte & Mackay and Grant’s the top four Scottish food and drinks brands during the past year.
The whisky brands, along with other famous names such as Baxters, Tunnock’s and Irn-Bru, have helped boost the value of retail sales of major Scottish brands by more than 36 per cent since 2007.
Between May 2013 and May of this year, the estimated value of retail sales of Scottish food and drink products was up 3.3 per cent to £1.91bn, according to the latest 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.
“This continued growth in these markets – especially in the past year as we get closer to the referendum – shows that consumers across these islands purchase our produce on the basis of taste and quality above all else.”
Famous Grouse is the biggest of all Scotland’s food and drink brands. Earlier this month the Glasgow-based distiller behind the brand, Edrington Group, reported revenues in its latest financial year rose to £607.7m. The biggest food brand is Glasgow-based Lactalis McLelland’s “Seriously Strong” cheese.
Total turnover in Scotland’s food and drink sector, including branded and unbranded products, now stands at more than £13bn with trade body Scotland Food & Drink setting a target of a £16.5bn turnover by 2017, including £7.1bn of exports.
The analysis comes as separate figures this week also showed that almost a fifth (19 per cent) of Scotch whisky exports go to Commonwealth countries.
Last year, exports to the Commonwealth were up 1 per cent on 2012 to £793 million, 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 per cent to almost £14m last year, making it the seventh biggest market in the Commonwealth.
David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association 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.”