Scottish food industry to benefit from £1.1m innovation service

Scottish food industry to benefit from £1.1m innovation service
Credit: Antony McAulay

Scotland’s food and drink industry is set to benefit from ‘Make Innovation Happen’, a new service to support food and drink businesses to innovate.

The service is delivered through a coalition of key public sector and industry bodies working together collaboratively to drive innovation, with £1.1m of critical funding coming from Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

In March, the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership launched ‘Ambition 2030’, the industry’s new strategy. It establishes a vision to cement food and drink as Scotland’s most valuable industry and outlines the goal to double turnover in the sector to £30 billion by 2030.

Make Innovation Happen is being launched by the Scotland Food and Drink Innovation Working Group as the first step towards Ambition 2030 which prioritises innovation as critical to continued success in the sector.

Innovation in farming, fishing, food and drink is vital to empower Scotland’s food and drink businesses to respond to today’s consumer and market needs and to adapt to future challenges and opportunities.

Research shows that when a company innovates, they are twice as likely to grow and three times more likely to export successfully. Many companies are already making good use of the world-class research base on their doorstep, but there is room to do more.

Feedback from farming, fishing, food and drink businesses suggests that they value the range of support on offer but feel finding and navigating to the right support could be improved and simplified.

The new service will provide food and drink businesses in Scotland looking for information and support with a single, streamlined access route to help them innovate. This service includes support for both incremental and disruptive innovation and is open to all businesses across the supply chain from farm to fork.

Fergus Ewing, Rural Economy Secretary, said: “We want to see the value of Scotland’s food and drink sector double to £30 billion by 2030. Innovation will play a key role in the delivery of this ambition.

“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.

“Make Innovation Happen’ offers an excellent opportunity to support businesses on their innovation journey.  I would urge any food and drink businesses thinking of innovation to make use of this new service.”