The Appetite for Growth report, compiled by Bank of Scotland, suggests food and drink producers will be investing to target new export markets, with Asia and South America among the destinations becoming increasingly popular.
More than 100 companies were surveyed, with 40% of those planning to increase their overseas sales.
Two-thirds of those questioned indicated they would need more staff in the coming years with an expectation there would be an aggregate of 940 new jobs added between now and 2017.
The researchers suggested if those finding were replicated across the entire food and drink sector, the 5600 jobs figure could be exceeded.
Industry body Scotland Food and Drink hopes exports can grow from the £5.31 billion recorded in 2012 to reach £7.1bn by 2017.
The reasons companies gave for not looking at exports included a lack of resources, the complex logistics involved, the short shelf life of products and limited knowledge of international markets.
Threats to the sector were identified as the cost and price volatility of raw materials plus the threat of inclement weather resulting in poor harvests.
James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, hopes the industry can build on its success of recent years and receive a further boost from events such as the Ryder Cup and Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. He said: "The food and drink industry has been Scotland's best performing domestic sector in the past five years and its fastest growing export sector.
"Ambitious sales and export targets are in place for 2017, but the rapid progress so far means we are having to upscale our ambitions already.
"The legacy opportunity beyond 2014 could be worth much more as many thousands of visitors return home with a taste for Scottish produce and hundreds of millions of television viewers are left with a positive image of what Scotland has to offer."
The whisky industry was highlighted as a successful "trailblazer" but Scottish salmon was also praised, with shipments to China having increased 1000% in the past two years.
The Scotch Whisky Association this week released figures showing the value of exports in the first six months of the year had increased 11% to £1.987bn, while volumes grew 9%.