The organisation responsible for Scotland’s food and drink sector is encouraging more young people to choose a career in the industry and help double its value by the year 2030.
Scotland Food & Drink is using its annual Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight as a platform to highlight the huge diversity within the industry and position it as a fantastic and rewarding career for young people.
The organisation has set out a long-term vision to fill around 27,000 jobs by 2022 to ensure the industry continues to grow. This follows the Ambition 2030 cross-sector growth strategy unveiled in 2017 in which the organisation announced its goal of doubling the value of the industry to £30 billion by 2030.
Harnessing the Year of Young People, this year’s campaign, entitled #ScotFoodGoals, is focused on the future of the sector. Designed as a platform to champion the talented young people in the industry and promote the amazing career opportunities, the campaign encourages Scots to share their goals for the future of the sector and promotes the collective role we all play in ensuring its continued to growth and success.
#ScotFoodGoals will also continue to celebrate the dedicated consumers, entrepreneurs, retailers, caterers, producers, wholesalers and many more, and encourage everyone to eat, drink, promote, sell and cook Scottish.
With the Fortnight officially launching on Saturday (1 September), James Withers, Chief Executive at Scotland Food & Drink, was joined this morning by Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity, and a group of young people who are each contributing in their own way to the ongoing success of the industry.
During an event held at Thomsons Coffee Roasters in the Argyle St Arches in Glasgow to launch Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, Ellie Sinclair, Patrick MacHugh, Rory Campbell and Jenny MacDonald each spoke about their experiences of being a young person working in the food and drink industry, why they believe it’s important to attract more under 30s and what their goals are for the future.
Speaking at the event, James Withers said: “The global reputation Scotland has for its food and drink is unparalleled. Now is an exciting time to be involved in the sector in Scotland and the opportunity for the next generation to raise the bar ever higher is hugely compelling.
“By 2030 we want to have doubled the value of Scotland’s food and drink industry. While this is a challenge, we believe it’s achievable, especially with more young people choosing careers in food and drink.
“You don’t have to look far to see the amazing contribution young people are making. Our #ScotFoodGoals campaign will act as a springboard to show just how diverse and rewarding a career in food and drink can be.”
Aiming to stimulate discussion and showcase the wealth of opportunities in the food and drink industry, a number of young people have been recruited to act as Food & Drink Fortnight ambassadors and spread the word about how fulfilling, exciting and diverse a career in the sector can be.
From 19-year-old Finlay MacDonald running his own successful chocolatiers in the Highlands and Ellie Sinclair, 23, from Aberdeenshire with her own business using renewable energy from the family farm to make chutneys and sauces, to former international badminton player Patrick MacHugh from Glasgow who has swapped his racket to develop a performance coffee brand and Fraser Cameron, one of the youngest sous chefs to work in a Michelin star restaurant in Scotland. The impact young people are making on the industry is widespread.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing said: "Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight is vital in helping to promote the outstanding produce we have here in Scotland, as well as celebrating those who grow, make, cook and sell it. With 2018 being the year of the young people, it is also a fantastic platform to champion and promote the diverse and amazing opportunities within our food and drink sector.
"The next two weeks is therefore the perfect opportunity for everyone to get involved in thinking more about where our food and drink comes from and I would encourage as many people as possible to visit one of the many exciting events taking place during the campaign throughout the country."
Louise Macdonald OBE, Chief Executive of Young Scot, said: “There is so much opportunity for young Scots in the world of food and drink, locally and nationally, and it is wonderful to see this as a focus for the Year of Young People 2018. There are so many incredibly passionate and talented young people across the country – like our amazing Young Scot Award winner Finlay MacDonald – and it is vital we create more opportunities for them to find pathways into careers in one of Scotland’s most thriving sectors.”
The annual Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight will run 1-16 September. To learn more about Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight and how you can be involved visit: www.fooddrinkfort.scot or engage with campaign on social media: @Eat_Scottish (Twitter), @Eat_Scottish (Instagram) and @eatscottish (Facebook.)