A delegation from Scotland has completed its maiden food and drink trade mission to India today (28 November).

The four-day visit of Scottish Development International, a JV between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise, was led by James Withers, chief executive of public/private organisation Scotland Food & Drink. Scotch whisky, which generates around GBP4.3bn (US$7m) per year in total exports, played a prominent part among the various products that the delegation highlighted.

“The learning journey to India was an excellent opportunity to demonstrate why Scotland has garnered a reputation as the land of food and drink by introducing the country’s finest produce to some of India’s biggest retailers and hospitality brands”, said Withers.

Rooma Bussi, acting country manager for Scotland Development International, added: “India is a market of opportunity for Scotland’s premium food and drink producers and changing tastes and growing incomes are increasing demand for gourmet products.”

The visit follows the recent announcement that Scottish bottled water producer Highland Spring is entering the Indian market in a joint venture with a Delhi-based company.

The food and drink industry in Scotland generates around GBP13bn a year, said the agency. “Our aim is to grow the industry to GBP16.5bn by 2017 and increasing sales in key international markets such as India”, said Withers.

The European Union has been in long-running talks with India to secure a free trade agreement between the two. Discussions between the two, which began over five years ago, were reported earlier this year to be approaching the home straight, but no deal has been signed yet.