Food exports from Scotland are now growing five times faster than whisky as foreign markets develop a growing appetite for fish and other seafood.

Overseas sales of food and drink from Scotland last year grew by £421 million or 8% to a record £5.5 billion, new figures have confirmed.

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Whisky accounted for more than £4bn of the total, as revealed in figures announced last month, a 4% rise (£153m) on the previous year.

Encouragingly for the sector, food exports grew by 22% to £1.5bn. Food exports have now doubled since 2007.

Fish and seafood showed the biggest rise, up 26% (£156m), with demand from Europe sharply higher. This is thought to be fuelled by increasing demand for Scottish seafood in overseas restaurants.

Exports to EU countries were worth £2.3 billion overall, up £133 million.

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