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Food and drink

Industry Sector


With its salmon-filled waters, world-renowned distilleries and rich store of produce, it’s no wonder Scotland is a global leader in food and drink. It’s the largest manufacturing sector in Scotland and a major contributor to the economy, exporting products around the world. 

There are so many exciting and interesting jobs that make up the industry. You could be working outdoors, farming crops and livestock. You might be at sea catching or farming fish. Or you could get involved in food production, from new product development to working as a food scientist, technologist or engineer. You might also be working on the marketing of products or could be working in procurement, transport and logistics to make sure products are available to buy. 

Paper qualifications, although always helpful, aren’t essential for all jobs in this sector. There are entry level jobs that offer a progressive route into the industry. There are also Modern Apprenticeship opportunities and jobs for graduates too.  

Whether you dream of working on the land, getting involved in production or taking care of things behind the scenes, enthusiasm, a practical approach and great communication skills are key. 

The industry now

  • 87,300 people work in the industry in Scotland 
  • For the year 2020, the median advertised salary for jobs in this industry was £25,000 
  • The food and drink industry adds an estimated £5,759m to the Scottish economy


*Information provided by Oxford Economics and Burning Glass Technologies

The future

Due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the jobs market is constantly changing. All future figures are estimated:

  • An estimated 14,900 jobs will need to be replaced or created between 2020 and 2023 
  • The replacement need is predicted to increase to 19,800 jobs between 2023 and 2030 
  • Skills in teamwork, food safety and cleaning are in demand across the sector in lots of different roles