Scottish Exports at Record High

Published on: 27 Sep 2019

Key Drink Export

It looks as though whisky is the main driving force behind the record high, as it has soared in popularity this year. Exports of the famous drink are up by 10.8% on 2018’s same period, to £2.2 billion, in overseas markets. The EU is responsible for around 30% of the total exports, which might lead some to speculate that panic-buying ahead of Brexit is to blame.

Export BoatScottish food was also a popular export to countries in the EU, worth a total of £543 million – just under two-thirds of the total export value. This was an increase of 10% on 2018.

“Scotland’s food and drink sector continues to go from strength to strength, thanks in part to a close working relationship between government and the industry in recent years. It’s now an integral part of our economy, worth £15bn, and employs thousands across the country,” said Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing. “These latest figures serve to remind us just how important our European neighbours are to that success though, and exactly how much we stand to lose by leaving the European Union – particularly in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This government will do everything we can to ensure that does not happen and support our food and drink sector to continue to flourish.”

This is great news for those working in any part of the food and drink industry in Scotland, or indeed in exports, in jobs like those listed here. It means that they are likely to enjoy a stable year ahead, with the possibility of many more to come if the trend continues. This will put many minds at ease about the immediate potential ramifications of Brexit, if it should actually come to pass.

Influence of Japanese Culture

SeafoodIt seems as though there is another area which is behind the great leap in the exports, too: the influence of Japanese culture, which is very much set on finding the high-quality seafood from sustainable sources that can be provided by Scotland.

This is a growing trend in the country, which is certainly reflected in the fact that seafood exports from Scotland to Japan more than quadrupled last year. Only 598 tonnes was reported in 2017, up to 598 tonnes in 2018.


Natalie Bell is the Head of Trade Marketing Asia, Europe, and Middle East at Seafood Scotland. Commenting before the latest figures were announced, she had said: “The Japanese culture values prestige, reputation and respect above all else, with consumers aligning themselves with products and organisations that embody these values. The Scottish seafood story is the perfect fit. It is a traditional market, so our continued work here is imperative.”

The use of family values and a traditional, well-established industry certainly resonates well with the Japanese, and after controversial happenings such as the reinstatement of whale fishing, all eyes are on the sources of the seafood on offer. This is great news for those working in Scottish seafood, who can look forward to more good years to come.

If you are interested in starting work in this area, you should take a look at our course listings here to see if there are any new qualifications you can gain. These could help you to be more attractive to employers and get your CV further up the consideration for any job openings that you apply for.