The Highlands and Islands is a region renowned for producing high quality food and drink products. Businesses range from large global enterprises through to specialist niche producers, supporting some 32,000 jobs, often in more remote areas.
We will work to realise growth through account management. Real prospects exist on the back of strong forecasts for international demand, particularly in new and emerging markets. There is a strong competitive advantage around the high quality, authenticity, environmental quality and connection to people and place with our produce, and we will build on these provenances and profile attributes. HIE will continue to work in close partnership with VisitScotland and Scottish Development International to maximise impact from these opportunities, and in particular to maximise the benefits from marketing 2015 as Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink.
We aim to develop export potential through deeper engagement with key clients, and creating a stronger pipeline of new exporters. We will address barriers to exporting by creating confidence, skills and scale across the sector through our Food and Drink Collaboration initiative and Emerging Companies programme. We will also ensure that the Highlands and Islands is well represented at major exhibitions to showcase the region’s products and win new orders.
Building in the evidence from an evaluation of the Access to Markets programme we will seek to increase the impact of this initiative on the scale and breadth of exporting from across the sector.
Increasing the level of innovation in the sector and creating improved routes to market at UK level through a strong partnership with Scotland Food and Drink, are key priorities.