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Food and Drink Export Council to hold first meeting in Scotland

Malcolm Offord (Co-Chair of the FDEC). (Photo: Tim Hammond / No10 Downing Street)

THE FOOD and Drink Export Council (FDEC) will hold their first ever meeting in Perth, as they aim to boost UK food and drink exports.

Held on the 8th of November during International Trade Week, the meeting is aimed at Scottish food and drink businesses already exporting who are looking to expand and grow their exports and connect with likeminded peers.   

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The FDEC is a collaborate expert committee comprised of representatives from the Scottish Government, UK Government, industry, and other devolved administrations focused on boosting UK food and drink exports.

Their first event is free to attend and will comprise of interactive sessions on creating strategic export plans, understanding export markets and identifying and building relationships with overseas partners.

UK Government Minister for Exports and Co-Chair of the Council, Malcolm Offord, said:

“This event will be a big help to any Scottish food and drink exporters who are looking to expand their sales abroad.

“We know there is huge demand internationally for the high-quality food and drink we produce here in Scotland, and the FDEC are looking to do all that we can to help businesses take advantages of the opportunities that are out there.”  

The event, hosted at The Black Watch in Perth, will also include a talk from Katie Birrell, the Head of International Sales at Nairn’s Oatcakes, who will detail the journey of how they became a global exporter.  

It is being delivered in partnership between the Department for Business and Trade and Scottish Development International (SDI) on behalf of the Food and Drink Export Council.  

Ewen Cameron, Global Head of Trade for Consumer Industries at SDI, said:

“Scotch whisky is the number one UK food and drink export, with Scottish salmon the UK’s leading food export. Scotland has a vital role to play in the success of UK food and drink exports, with this Council meeting providing a platform to embed an appreciation and awareness of our strengths with Council members and showcase some of our leading exporting companies.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with other Council members, and bringing SDI’s deep knowledge of international growth opportunities, strong relationships with our portfolio of exporters, and effective international networks to deliver economic growth across all regions of Scotland.”

The FDEC membership is comprised of representatives from the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), devolved administrations, industry bodies, and a selection of dynamic and innovative businesses.

Members work together in a shared endeavour to boost food and drink exports, and provide a range of relevant knowledge and ensure representation across the UK and the food and drink sector.

Donna Fordyce, chief executive of Seafood Scotland and founding member of the Food and Drink Export Council, said:

“We know that many Scottish food and drink businesses are already exporting successfully in overseas markets. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn from your peers, find out what works – and what doesn’t – and build your overseas network too. 

“This event will enable businesses to accelerate and refine their exporting ambitions in a welcoming and trusted environment. We will also be sharing expertise on how to reduce the administrative burden of exporting abroad, something we know will be very welcome.”

Patricia Dillon, managing director of Speyside Distillers and founding member of the Food and Drink Export Council, said:

“I’m delighted to be attending the launch of the Food and Drink Export Council’s Peer-to-Peer Programme. The Council has designed the programme to meet the needs of businesses wanting to grow their exports. 

“Filled with important discussions on creating strategic export plans to building relationships with key partners in the supply chain.

“This event is a must attend for food and drink businesses looking to further develop their exporting knowledge and build worthwhile connections.”

Amanda Brown, Programme Director, Scotland Food & Drink, said:

“Scotland Food & Drink is delighted to be supporting and attending the Food and Drink Export Council’s Peer to Peer event which is taking place in International Trade week in Perth.  

“Along with our Chief Executive, Iain Baxter, our team from The Knowledge Bank will be there to share a selection of international insights helping to inform and inspire Scottish food and drink exporters who are looking to expand and grow.”

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