Ian Hudghton MEP today praised the efforts of the Scottish Government in their recent raft of help to Scottish food businesses, as announced by Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP. The Scottish Government has in the last week pledged support to food and drink companies the length and breadth of Scotland whilst funding £4 million towards the ambitious 'Food and Health Innovation Service' to help 400 Scottish food and drink companies tap into global opportunities in the rapidly expanding health and nutrition sector. The companies will be able, thanks to the available funding, to tap into expertise from the University of Aberdeen Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, Queen Margaret University, the Scottish Crop Research Institute and Heriot-Watt University.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead said:

"This latest funding will provide essential support to food and drink companies from Shetland to Angus, Aberdeenshire to Galashiels and Inverness-shire to the central belt.

"Some of our biggest opportunities lie in the food and drink sector, which saw sales increase by £1 billion over 2007-08 from £10.2 billion to £11.2 billion.

"With demand for food on the increase, Scotland's food producers are in a strong position going forward.

"Scotland has a justifiably proud heritage of excellence in research, not least in the food and drink arena.

"I'm delighted that with this £4 million investment we will be harnessing this expertise to provide the science, innovation and technology which are vital to sustainably growing the industry."

SNP MEP Ian Hudghton welcomed the Government's effort saying:

"The Scottish Government is continuing its good work of the last 4 years in support of both agricultural and fishing sectors. Scotland has a worldwide reputation for producing quality natural products such as berries, fish, meat and oats and it is great news that this latest SNP Government initiative is supported throughout the industry and will ultimately grow our food and drink businesses.

"Produce from Scotland is much sought after in Europe and I am sure the new products from the industry will go down a treat with markets both abroad and at home. I encourage Scots consumers to opt for the healthy, nutritional Scottish products that are available from local outlets."

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