Homegrown products enjoy a loyal following in Scotland, but the nation's food and drink industry is heavily reliant on exports. It's an area that bodies such as Scotland Food and Drink have been working hard to develop and recent statistics suggest its efforts are working.

Data released by Scottish Development International last month showed that the country enjoyed a record increase in food and drink exports, with international sales reaching an all-time high of £4.06bn in 2009.

Much of this export growth has been generated by expanding into far-flung locations. However a number of Scottish brands are now turning their attentions to a market much closer to home England. Graham's The Family Dairy scored a hit earlier this year when its 1% Organic milk was picked up by Sainsbury's and rolled out to 500 of the retailer's stores throughout the UK.

Sainsbury's also listed the dairy's one-litre Graham's Gold milk pictured above in UK stores last month (May) and is stocking Graham's newly launched range of flavoured ice creams in its Scottish stores, following the success of the vanilla flavour. And Graham's is far from the only Scottish brand that has its eye on the south. AG Barr is determined to conquer the rest of the UK with Scotland's favourite soft drink Irn-Bru.

In April, it announced a £15m marketing campaign its biggest-ever single investment in the brand. Meanwhile, independent brewer Innis & Gunn continues to expand its presence across the British Isles thanks to listings in most of the major multiples. And, like many other Scottish manufacturers, it is also eyeing opportunities further afield.

The export market currently generates 65% of the company's turnover, with Canada and Sweden accounting for 90% of its export volume sales, according to marketing manager Gregg Imlah. Indeed, Innis & Gunn is the leading bottled beer in Canada and the number two bottled import ale in Sweden, he claims. In February of this year the company appointed Dan DeLuca as MD of its new American venture to capitalise on the growing craft beer market in the US.

Focus On Scotland