Make Innovation Happen: FMCG in Scotland

Make Innovation Happen: FMCG in Scotland

15 May 2017

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Last week, the food and drink industry in Scotland announced an ambitious new service, called ‘Make Innovation Happen’. It is designed to help business within the industry to keep up with change. The service is set to be delivered through a combination of public sector and industry bodies.

The idea is to encourage companies to drive innovation – with £1.1m of funding being provided by Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Enterprise. This is because, research has shown that, when a company innovates, they are twice as likely to grow and three times more likely to export successfully.

In March of this year, The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership unveiled a new strategy for the industry, named ‘Ambition 2030’. This new approach intends to celebrate food and drink as Scotland’s most valuable exports industry – with an aim to doubling the industry turnover to £30 billion by 2030.

Scotland’s total food and drink exports to the US were valued at around £935.5 million last year, up £21 million on 2015. As in previous years, Scotch whisky exports accounted for the majority of Scotland’s food and drink exports to North America, valued at £855.6 million in the US and £73.6 million in Canada. 

The rise in popularity of ‘craft’ products – from beer to butcher meat – and a commitment to sustainable produce has also helped fuel the surge in growth. The Scottish food and drink industry as a whole is said to be growing at twice the rate of the UK average, according to government figures.

Director of Black Wolf Brewery in Stirling, Andrew Richardson, said: “If you aren’t innovating then you’re going backwards as your competitors continually move forward.  

Feedback from industries such as farming and fishing suggest that these types of industries need more help when trying to find the right support to successfully grow their existing exports.

The new ‘Make Innovation Happen’ strategy will provide these businesses with more support and streamlined access to new innovations within the sector.

Support will include specialist facilities, advice on innovation funding and access to consumer insights – all of which will prove invaluable for business looking to grow. Individual business will also be supported and guided through their own, personal innovation journey.

Advisors will be renamed ‘Innovation Connectors’ and they will be on hand to provide resources from the public sector and academia.

Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said: “Scotland’s reputation as an innovative and globally trading nation is recognised but we need to keep moving forward. We want more food and drink businesses across Scotland to sell more goods and services to more markets. We want existing investors to develop, grow and expand in Scotland and that we remain a location of choice for inward investors." 

FMCG is Scotland's largest manufacturing sector, accounting for 18.8% of total manufacturing turnover. Food and drink manufacturing accounts for around 45% of Scotland's full supply chain turnover & the number of people it employs.

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Written By Michelle McLaughlin


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