Total exports for Scottish food and drink were worth £1.4 billion in the first quarter of the year as whisky and salmon continue to play vital role in UK’s exporting success.

Food Minister David Rutley will celebrate the UK’s world-leading food and farming sector at the Royal Highland Show today, as new figures show Scottish food and drink exports achieved a record-breaking £1.4 billion of sales in the first quarter of 2019.

Exports grew by 14% over the past year, driven by a surge in sales for Scotch whisky and salmon, the latest figures show.

Through the Government’s 'Food is GREAT' campaign, Defra has helped drive exports of UK food and drink, opening new international markets and supporting British companies in their ambition to trade on a global-scale.

Overall food and drink exports from Scotland reached £6.3 billion last year, with Scotch whisky accounting for three-quarters of this total.

Food Minister David Rutley said: "British food and drink is highly sought after around the world, with Scottish whisky, salmon and gin playing a vital role in this exporting success.

More people worldwide are placing greater importance on the quality and provenance of food and drink, and Scottish farmers and food producers are in an excellent position to benefit from this.

"In the years ahead we can unlock new export markets for our finest British produce."

During this year's Royal Highland Show, Rutley met with NFU Scotland representatives, visited the livestock pens and met attending food and drink producers to help champion the UK’s food and farming sectors.

Scottish exports in numbers

Scottish beverage exports were worth £1 billion in the first three months of this year, up 16% on 2018 levels.

Fish exports accounted for £210 million, while fruit and vegetable exports increased by 37% to £21 million and dairy & eggs sales rose by 24% to £17 million.

British whisky sales, almost all from Scotland, rose by 19% (£183 million) at the start of this year. Salmon exports were up by 41% - the strongest growth of all the top 10 UK food and drink products.

This represents a 20% increase in the volume of farmed salmon being exported from Scotland.

International Trade Secretary Dr. Liam Fox said: "It’s no secret that Scotland is renowned for its high-quality food and drink, and there is even greater demand out there.

Recent HMRC statistics showed that exports from Scotland grew faster than any other part of the UK in the last financial year, now worth £32.8 billion.

The Department for International Trade stands ready to help Scottish businesses succeed overseas in ways that never happened before, so I urge more businesses to get in touch and take the first step toward breaking into international markets.

Across the UK, food and drink exports were worth more than £22 billion last year, with our food and drink businesses are now selling their products to 217 markets.