Expansion set to feed major jobs growth

Food and drink companies could create up to 10,000 jobs over the next five years as they seek to grow their overseas sales, a survey published today shows.

Overseas sales of whisky, including to China accounted for £4.3bn of Scotlands exports in 2013. Picture: Getty

According to trade agency Scottish Development International, the sector employs some 120,000 people in production and processing alone, and Bank of Scotland found two-thirds of firms expect to grow their workforce by 2019.

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The lender’s area director for small business banking, Graham Blair, said: “With the Ryder Cup just around the corner, the country will continue to be in the global spotlight and many visitors from around the world will have the opportunity to sample the delights of our national larder.”

Turnover in Scotland’s food and drink sector stands at more than £13 billion, and trade body Scotland Food & Drink has set a target of raising this to £16.5bn by 2017, including £7.1bn of exports. Overseas sales of Scotch whisky alone accounted for £4.3bn last year.