The Food, Drink and Agriculture sector is a significant part of the economy of North East Scotland, with more than 22,000 people directly employed in the sector: 51% in agriculture, 32% in food manufacturing, 11% fishing and 6% drinks.

The region has an excellent base for growth in food, drink, agriculture and seafood, with its wide range of primary produce, new businesses, big name brands and international connections.

Opportunity North East (ONE) recognises the potential of this sector, with scope for development in internationalisation, provenance, nutritional products and quality brands and is committed to investing its expertise in this sector.

ONE aims to grow the food, drink and agriculture sector by 5% per annum to achieve the Scotland Food & Drink Ambition 2030 target of doubling the industry turnover.

In Scottish terms the region accounts for 17% of the Gross Value Added (GVA) and 18% of the employment. Excluding the whisky sector, it contributes an estimated 20% of Scotland’s food and drink industry output. The area accounts for approaching 25% of Scotland’s primary agricultural output and half of its fish landings.

Working with industry and partners, we will identify opportunities and deliver support across four priority areas.

  • Business growth, to achieve a 5% growth in turnover per annum
  • Internationalisation and market development, specifically to double exports and the number of active exporters by 2030
  • Transforming food chains through innovation and digitalisation, from raw material through to consumer, to increase productivity by 25% by 2025
  • New generation skills and people, providing the higher level skills required to achieve these ambitions, and specifically creating a full vocational education structure and career pathway.

As part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal, a partnership between ONE, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council, ONE is leading the development of the £21 million Food Hub which will become the go-to regional centre for the accelerated growth of businesses, inspiring ambition and providing essential support for the food and drink industry.

It will build on the strength of existing companies in the region and on the research base within the University of Aberdeen, and its Rowett Institute, Robert Gordon University, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) and the James Hutton Institute.

Sector Board

ONE’s food, drink and agriculture sector board comprises:

Patrick Machray OBE
Philip Benzie
Giovanna Bermano
Robert Gordon University
Dr Charles Bestwick
Rowett Institute
Andrew Booth
The Store
Robert Chapman
Farmlay Eggs
Michael Clark OBE
International Fish Canners
Stuart Common
Mackie’s of Scotland
Jennifer Craw
Bill Dean
Dean’s of Huntly
Caroline Gladstone
Glen Dye Lodge
David Kilshaw OBE
Joseph Robertson and Scotland Food & Drink
Robert Lindsay
Gregor Mackintosh
Mackintosh of Glendaveny
Sarah Malone
Trump International
Alastair Macphie
Belinda Miller
Aberdeenshire Council
Stanley Morrice

We help to identify and accelerate high-impact opportunities and maximise their long-term benefits