The UK's food and drink sector has continued to perform well with exports up once again over the first half of 2014.
Figures released by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) showed that food and non-alcoholic drink exports grew by 4.8 per cent to £6.5 billion in the opening six months of the year. Countries outside the European Union (EU) increased their demand for British products by 12 per cent while EU nations saw a more modest rise of 2.5 per cent during the same period.
While there was an overall growth in the market, Scotland's exports saw it drop by 11 per cent to £1.77 billion during the same period. Scotland has faced some significant challenges over the past year, namely the impact of Russia's decision to impose an embargo on exports coming from the West.
Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev announced the ban in August in response to the sanctions imposed by the West over Ukraine. The EU, US, Australia, Canada and Norway were all affected and it prompted fears in Scotland that jobs could be lost.
The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association put forward its concerns that Scottish fishing industry could be significantly hit. Russia spends around £17 million importing frozen fish from Scotland and the fishing communities rely on this investment to remain profitable.
There was also a surprise drop in Scotch whisky exports, with growth slowing in Asia and other markets. However, despite these setbacks the UK food and drink sector performed reasonably in the opening six months of 2014.
Steve Barnes, the FDF's economic and commercial services director, said: "Against a backdrop of challenging conditions in food retail in the UK and overall goods exports falling, food and non-alcoholic drink exports continue to grow well and individual products to certain markets are experiencing rapid growth."