Food and drink

Our focus on the food and drink sector

HIE believes that growth will come from developing industry management and leadership capabilities, identification and exploitation of new markets and products, product and process innovation, supply chain development and skills development.

We are fully engaged in taking forward the Scottish Government's National Strategy for Food and Drink and work closely with lead industry body Scotland Food & Drink and other partner organisations on business engagement and sector growth.

Our efforts to support growth will focus on business leadership, development of new products and markets, collaborative supply chains, industry communication, business efficiency and environmental sustainability. HIE will play a key role in taking this work forward at a national level with partners including Scotland Food and Drink, Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Forum, the Scottish Government, Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise.

The central feature of our sectoral development work in food and drink, as in other growth sectors, is our engagement with and support for account managed businesses. These are businesses which meet our criteria for growth opportunity and which can demonstrate ambition to achieve their potential.

At any one time HIE expects to have around 100-120 account managed food and drink sector businesses. Each business commits to an agreed development plan which HIE will help deliver through a range of financial and advisory support measures customised to the needs of each and every client business.

How we’ll look in 2017

Today we’re working better together, but we still have some way to go – and our ambitions are grand, make no mistake.

By 2017 we want Scotland to have fulfilled its potential as a land of food and drink, with a globally competitive industry worth £12.5bn. We know it’s possible and what you’ll read in the pages to follow is about how we plan to get there.

We believe Scotland can be a world leader and we now have a clear idea of what this means and how we’ll
get there. Here is a snapshot of the industry we want to see by 2017:

  • We’ll be confident, an industry that looks forward and outward. We’ll be growing and sustainable, and thinking hard about where we’ll be in 2050.
  • People everywhere will be more aware of what we have to offer. More of our products will enjoy the strong reputation that Scotch whisky and shortbread enjoy now.
  • We’ll have a greater number of bigger players and a widespread culture of growing, collaborating, sharing information and ideas, and making best use of market intelligence. 
  • We’ll continue to celebrate the variety and quality of our smaller, artisan producers.
  • Food and drink will be seen as an aspirational, intellectually stimulating career choice. We’ll be investing heavily in skills at all levels, from factory floor to boardroom.
  • Everyone will know exactly what sustainability means for them, and for the industry as a whole, and will be doing what they have to do about it.
  • International food and drink businesses will be queuing up to come to, and invest in, Scotland.
  • Everyone who supports the industry – the Scottish Government, the Economic Development Agencies and industry organisations along the supply chain – will be working together and playing their role in driving the industry forward.

Download the food and drink strategy to find out more

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