Brodies has a long and established record of providing legal advice to clients in the food & drink sector. We were delighted to hear last week’s news that Scottish food & drink exports rose to a record £5.1bn in 2014.

Statistics released by HMRC showed that food exports accounted for £1.1bn of the sales; a 3.5% rise on the previous year. The Scottish Government said that this increase was largely driven by an increase in sales of fish and other seafood. Drink exports totalled £4bn; a slight decrease on 2013.

The top international destinations for Scottish produce were:

  1. USA (£800m);
  2. France (£734m);
  3. Spain (£247m);
  4. Germany (£208m); and
  5. Singapore (£202m).

Interestingly, the most significant increase percentage-wise last year was in food exports to China – up 82% to £46m.

The positive figures have been warmly welcomed by politicians and industry leaders alike. Scottish Food Secretary Richard Lochhead said the figures were “reflective of the fantastic produce we have to offer here in Scotland.”

The food & drink sector accounts for one in every five manufacturing jobs in Scotland and is a major contributor to the Scottish economy. The Scottish Government has recently launched a new funding scheme – the Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation Scheme – designed to inject £70m into food and drink processing in Scotland via grants to businesses operating in the sector.

This follows reports last year that up to 10,000 new jobs could be created in the sector by 2019, with 58% of businesses in the sector actively looking to engage new overseas customers. All in all, it’s a very positive time for the industry.

Nevertheless, we appreciate that many challenges come when the curve is moving upwards. Higher sales targets, competitive pricing and a frequently changing regulatory environment are just some of the hurdles our clients in the industry are currently faced with.

Brodies is a full service firm that can provide advice and assistance in relation to a range of matters that food & drink businesses are regularly faced with.

We have lawyers with knowledge of the sector and experience of advising clients operating in the sector. Our specialists can advise on: innovative commercial contracts and supply chain management; buying or selling businesses; collaborative partnerships/joint ventures; investment; leasing, buying or selling property; technology and IP issues; employment matters; and health and safety compliance and dispute resolution.

Our clients include representative bodies, manufacturers, distillers, processors, retailers, suppliers, and customers. If there is anything we could help your business with, contact Eric Galbraith.