Food & Drink

Stirling - at the heart of Scotland's Food and Drink sector

Stirling, situated directly in the heart of Scotland, offers the best location in the country for business and investment in the Food & Drink sector.  Scotland has a world class reputation for quality produce and innovation around food and drink and in Stirling businesses have easy access to everything that has built this global reputation.

The area is already home to several major businesses in the sector such as international drinks distributor Maxxium UK, Spanish food importer Iberico Foods, national meat processor Scotbeef and Scotland’s leading independent milk producer Graham’s Dairies.

Stirling can evidence all of the determining factors you are looking for in a business location. The city’s location puts the majority of Scotland’s population within easy commuting distance. This delivers a highly skilled workforce with a steady pipeline of graduates with specific qualifications for the food and drink sector.
Here, significant domestic market growth potential sits alongside huge opportunities for internationalisation with overseas markets easily accessible from our globally connected city.

In Stirling, a commercially focussed and investment friendly local authority works in close collaboration with local and national partners to ensure the supportive infrastructure is in place to support your business growth. Locating in Stirling means you can enjoy cheaper commercial land and property prices than in Edinburgh or Glasgow, without compromising on location.

A highly developed and robust supply chain and particular strengths in several sub sectors, such as dairy, bakery and aquaculture, provide a location from which business can be conducted more cost effectively, efficiently and potentially far more sustainably than in most other areas of the country.

All of these outstanding attributes are underpinned by an outstanding quality of life offering for you and your workforce making Stirling a hugely attractive proposition for your business.



Transport Infrastructure and Logistics

Situated in Scotland’s heart, Stirling has excellent transport links providing a strategic location from which to access Scotland’s world class assets and to access regional, national and international markets. The city’s global accessibility is enhanced by its proximity to both Glasgow and Edinburgh international airports, which are both accessible in 30mins by road, and to Grangemouth’s deep sea container port.

Stirling’ key position on Scotland’s trunk road network also provides access to more than half of the Scottish population within an hour’s drive, and over 80% within 2 hours. In addition to this superb road access, Stirling is a key interchange on Scotland’s rail network and allows quick and efficient rail travel across Scotland and beyond, including a new direct rail link to London.

This transport connectivity provides a competitive advantage to food and drink businesses in Stirling. The ability to move products quickly across Scotland and beyond provides significant cost advantages and allows for a lower carbon footprint than many locations.

The profitability of Stirling as a location is testified to by the presence and continued growth of major businesses whose core business requires the regular distribution of their product locally, nationally and internationally. An example of note is Graham’s Dairies:

From their base in Stirling, Graham’s has seen sales grow by 20% a year for the past 15 years and reported a turnover of over £80m in 2014. It currently employs 420 people and produces more than 700,000 pints of milk per day. The firm recorded sales of £68m in 2013, a figure that was up £12m from the previous year. Graham’s also have significant plans for ongoing investment on their site in Stirling to the tune of £20m which will create a world class research and development facility right in the heart of Scotland.

In addition to Graham’s the number of high performing businesses in the area for which efficient and cost effective distribution is critical is significant with Maxxium UK, Iberico Foods, Scotbeef, Glengoyne Distillery and Black Wolf Brewery being just a few of the many good examples.

Businesses in Stirling are further supported by the fact that there are 38 logistics companies (freight, haulage & warehouse operations) in Stirling’s supply chain offer ensuring that products produced here have the local mechanisms with which to process, package and ship products locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.


Local Supply Chain

A consistently highlighted issue for businesses within the UK food industry is concern over the future supply of raw materials. This is not a problem for businesses operating in Stirling as the area enjoys access to an abundance of raw materials provided by the strength of the agriculture in our area.
Farming businesses form the backbone of the food supply chain here and there are over 200 such enterprises located throughout the Stirling area, with the breakdown being;

•    Crops – 11%
•    Dairy – 7%
•    Meat – 28%
•    Mixed – 54%

This extremely strong agricultural base supplies a large volume of top quality produce into the manufacturing sector.

This easy access to raw materials combines with our transport and logistics strengths to ensure that within the Stirling environs the wider supply chain of primary agricultural production, food manufacture, packaging, wholesale and logistics are all represented. This presents many potential advantages to businesses in Stirling through cost efficient supply chains, low waste levels and high levels of regulatory compliance.

Businesses in the food and drink sector in Stirling further benefit from the city’s world class tourism offering. Within Stirling’s tourism sector, food & beverage outlets generate a turnover of £100.6 million with GVA of £66.2 million. These local businesses are estimated to spend at least £10million per annum on food and drink supplies, around half of which is spent locally. This presents a significant local market opportunity for producers in Stirling.
Talent and workforce

Stirling’s current population is 91,260, a figure projected to grow by almost 17% over the next 20 years. Stirling’s central position also places nearly 3 million people within an hour’s drive of the city which ensures businesses in Stirling benefit from access to a huge potential workforce providing all the skills, diversity and flexibility that they could possibly need.

The percentage of Stirling’s residents with qualifications at SVQ level 3 or above is above the national average. In addition over one third of Stirling’s working age residents have HND/degree level qualifications.

The University of Stirling has 11,600 students and is ranked 7th in the UK for graduate employability with 96% of students working within six months of graduating.

In addition to the university the main campus of Forth Valley College is located in the city. The college has 20,000 students currently enrolled across all of its learning programmes.

It is not just the high quality local workforce that is available to businesses in Stirling however. Stirling’s unrivalled location at the heart of Scotland places a vast potential workforce within easy commuting distance.

In many areas of the UK, recruiting skilled staff in the food and drink sector, notably engineers, food scientists, technologists and nutritionists, is highlighted as a challenge by the industry. Businesses in Stirling however can call on a large pool of highly skilled graduates across all of these disciplines either locally or within an easy commute.

Courses at either Degree or Masters level in Nutrition, Food Science, Food Bioscience, Food Security, Public Health Nutrition, Gastronomy and Brewing and Distilling are all taught either locally or within a 45 minute drive or rail journey of the city.


The international standing of Scotland’s universities is an integral asset in Scotland’s competitiveness and, when population is taken into account, Scotland is second only to Switzerland for the highest number of world-class universities per head of population.

Every university in Scotland undertakes research judged to be of a “world-leading” nature and 99 per cent of researchers in Scotland’s universities work in disciplines where world leading research is taking place.

Food and drink businesses based in Stirling benefit from an unrivalled position at the very centre of this world class research network which provides innovation and support across all food and drink related disciplines. As well as within Stirling itself, at the University of Stirling (ranked 4th in the UK for Food Science Research in 2014), there are a number of world leading research institutions all easily accessible within an hour’s drive of the city.


The Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling

The Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling is the top-rated aquaculture research and training department in the UK, a leading international centre in their field, and in the top 150 of World University Rankings of schools of agriculture.

The Institute combines cross-disciplinary, world class research on environments, reproduction, genetics, aquatic health, nutrition and feed supplies, on production systems, markets and on social and economic impacts to meet the wide range of challenges faced as aquaculture grows to meet global demands.

The Scottish Rural College (SRUC)

The SRUC is headquartered in Edinburgh and conducts a wide body of research relating to the agricultural industry. It offers specialised consultancy services to businesses.

The Moredun Research Institute

The institute conducts research into diseases of farm livestock and the promotion of animal health and welfare from its base outside Edinburgh and has a very strong commitment to knowledge exchange.

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

The university is home to the Scottish Centre of Food Development and Innovation, designed to support commercially successful research and development within the food and drink industry. The Centre’s work focuses on a wide range of topics from improving food security and sustainability, to nutritional analysis and the reformulation of existing products to deliver healthier alternatives lower in fat, salt and sugar.

The James Hutton Institute

The James Hutton Institute, formed in 2011, brought together the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute and Scottish Crop Research Institute. Based between Perth and Dundee, it is a world-leading crop research centre and is one of the Scottish Government’s main research providers in environmental, crop and food science, playing a major role in the Scottish knowledge economy.

Interface Food & Drink

Interface Food and Drink Network is the knowledge connection industry for businesses. Working with a partnership of 17 Scottish universities, led by University of Aberdeen, the University of Abertay Dundee, and Heriot-Watt University, Interface encourages and facilitates interdisciplinary academic collaboration to provide the strong research and development base needed by the food and drink sector in Scotland, helping companies grow from strong regional bases to become innovative world leaders.

Centre for Sustainable Practice and Living at Stirling University

The recently launched Centre for Sustainable Practice and Living at the University of Stirling. By combining world class expertise in sustainability practice with the wider offer of the Stirling Management School, the centre is an active hub for innovative research and education and seeks to facilitate meaningful collaborations between academia, industry and the public sector.

With so much of the food and drink industry focussing on increased sustainability of their operations having this facility in Stirling offers businesses in the area ready access to expertise that is ready and willing to help you achieve your aims.

Meet Our Businesses

Watch our interview with Daman Bush, Poporopo Gourmet Popcorn -

Watch our interview with the team at Venachar Lochside -


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Stirling Population
7th in the UK
for graduate employability
Local Businesses