Scottish Food and Drink Export Collaboration Charter launches

17 Dec 2015

Scotch Whisky industry to help drive up food and drink exports

Scotland's larder is already world famous and an initiative launched today (17 December) by The Scotch Whisky Association and Scotland Food & Drink aims to give a further boost to exports.

The new Export Collaboration Charter agrees ten commitments that encourage the sharing of best export practice, knowledge, and networks across the Scottish food and drink sector, building on the lessons learned by the Scotch Whisky industry as it successfully developed markets around the world. 

The new partnership between the Scotch Whisky Association and Scotland Food and Drink, working closely with Scottish Development International, will have a key role to play in helping Scotland reach its ambition of increasing exports from the current level of £5.1 billion to £7.1bn by 2017. This will build on Scotland's international reputation as a Land of Food and Drink, from salmon to seafood to dairy and meat. The Charter will help drive-up food and drink's contribution to Scotland's economy and export performance. Success for a range of food and drink products in international markets should provide a further boost to Scotch Whisky.

Launched today in Livingston at Paterson Arran, a leading shortbread maker, the Export Collaboration Charter will:

  • Promote collaboration through the regular exchange of information on export markets and opportunities
  • Share experience on different markets, co-operating on advice and mentoring
  • Facilitate working sessions with export specialists to encourage best practice
  • Create a company match-making service that encourages  internationalisation
  • Arrange seminars on market access and protecting intellectual property in export markets
  • Discuss trade policy mechanisms and opportunities to tackle trade barriers
  • Advertise potential export and commercial opportunities to members
  • Partner on a regular basis to support the work of the Scotland  Food & Drink network
  • Co-operate so that Scottish products are regularly showcased at whisky events in export markets
  • Work together to support a number of Scotland Food & Drink and Scottish Development International events in priority markets.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead said: "As we near the end of the Year of Food and Drink, it is appropriate that we look towards the future. I welcome this Export Collaboration Charter from the Scotch Whisky Association and Scotland Food & Drink, which can help deliver even greater future success for Scottish food and drink companies looking to sell across the globe.

"It's great that the SWA is showing its commitment to the food sector, as well as whisky, and I believe today's Charter will potentially be a game-changer. Working together can lead to great things and I am confident that this collaboration will play a crucial role in helping the industry grow in strength and stature internationally."

David Frost, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, said: "Scotch Whisky is exported to almost 200 countries, generating around £4 billion a year. We want to help Scottish food and drink sectors learn from the success of Scotch - the country's leading single product export - and this new collaboration shows our commitment to working with food and drink exporters to deliver growth for Scotland.

"Scotch represents around 80% of Scottish food and drink exports. Our export growth has been based on long-term thinking on trade issues, a focus on opening markets through close collaboration with governments and the EU, and collaboration at industry level. We hope to help other sectors do the same. In addition, export success for other food and drink sectors will build on Scotland's growing reputation for premium products that can only be good news for the growth of Scotch Whisky."

James Withers, Scotland Food & Drink chief executive, said: "When we launched our new food and drink export strategy, we explicitly prioritised working more collaboratively with partners and learning from Scotch Whisky's success. This Charter delivers on that and will allow it to happen in a deeper way than we've seen before. 

"Our export ambition is clear; to sell a broader range of products in a broader range of markets. New food and drink trade specialists, working through Scottish Development International, are now in place in ten cities around the globe.  However, the spirit of partnership and collaboration being shown by the whisky industry will bring crucial new expertise and experience to our activity in the coming years."

Scottish Development International's head of food & drink Susan Beattie, said: "Scotland has shown the world that it can produce globally competitive products across the whole of the food and drinks spectrum, with Scotch being our most famous export. This Charter will help even more of Scotland's food and drinks products break into new markets abroad while re-investing back into the country the insights and knowledge already gained from developing Scotch Whisky into a global leader. It takes the Export Partnership to new levels, enhancing the existing collaboration between SDI, Scotland Food & Drink and trade associations."


Photography of the launch of the charter at Paterson Arran is available.

A copy of the charter is available to download below.

SWA media contact: Rosemary Gallagher, head of communications, 0131 222 9230/07432 605385 or email

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