Scottish Food Producers Are Surprisingly Chill About Brexit

According to a new report from the Bank of Scotland, half of the country's producers are confident their industry will grow, despite the disruption caused by Brexit.

by Phoebe Hurst
07 September 2016, 11:34am

Photo via Flickr user Camilo Rueda López

It's been more than two months since the UK made the seismic decision to leave the European Union. While most of us spent the intervening days in varying states of denial, disbelief, and Twitter-rampaging anger; before settling on a kind of grudging acceptance (Brexeptance?), Scotland's food and drink industry has taken a slightly different stance.

In fact, it's pretty chill about the whole thing.

According to the Bank of Scotland's (BoS) newly released annual report, which questioned 100 Scottish manufacturers in the weeks immediately following the EU Referendum, half of the country's food and drink producers expect the industry to grow, despite the economic disruption caused by Brexit.

READ MORE: What British Food and Drink Workers Really Think About Brexit

While many UK food manufacturers have warned of the damage leaving the EU will have on trade links, it seems the Scottish food and drink industry is confident it can continue to attract international buyers. More than two-thirds of the manufacturers questioned by the BoS planned on finding new customers abroad over the next five years, with 87 percent saying they were already capitalising on the reputation of Scottish food and drink. The latter figure is up 16 percent from last year's report.

Overall, the BoS found that Scottish food and drink firms expect to increase turnover by an average of 24 percent over the next five years, which is up on the 5 percent expected increase reported by the BoS last year. This makes the industry's target turnover £16.5 billion in 2017.

Brexit schmexit.

The optimism of Scottish producers in the face of Brexit might not be as crazy as it sounds. Scotland's food and drink sector, which accounts for 19 percent of all the country's manufacturing jobs, has been rising steadily in recent years, surpassing the £1.1 billion for the first time in 2015. The US can't get enough of Scotch whisky, while China buys up millions of pounds worth of the country's meat and seafood every year. And with campaigns such as the "Scottish Year of Food and Drink" out to dispel the deep-fried Mars bar myths that can still plague the country's culinary rep, this growth looks set to continue.

READ MORE: Why Brexit Has Made Bacon More Expensive

The BoS certainly seems to think so. Its report suggests that Scotland's food sector will build on its current success to create more than 14,000 new jobs over the next five years.

Speaking to the BBC, Jane Clark-Hutchison of the BoS, said that such targets were "entirely achievable" for Scotland. She said: "It's incredibly heartening that, just weeks after the EU referendum result, our survey shows that bullish food and drink firms expect to grow, invest, recruit, and innovate."

Brexit may have taken our bacon sarnies, but it can't take our Buckfast.

european union
food industry
Scottish food
Bank of Scotland