Scampi prices to rise, warns Young's – Fishupdate.com

Scampi prices to rise, warns Young’s Published:  02 October, 2006

YOUNG’S, Britain’s largest supplier of breaded scampi, a major festive seafood favourite, has warned that prices are likely to be higher this Christmas.

The market for scampi is continuing to grow at 15 per cent a year, making it the most buoyant sector of the frozen seafood market.

But the problem is that landings have been lower this year than for some time, caused partly by bad weather and partly by a change in spawning patterns.

The company says that this combination of low supply and rising demand is likely to affect retail pricing over the next few weeks and especially in the run up to Christmas. Young’s commercial director Jim Cane said the company would still be able to satisfy the usual demand from the retail trade, but prices would probably have to rise and there were unlikely to be any major promotional activities in scampi for some time to come. He did not spell out the promotions, but they are likely to be ‘buy one, get one free’ or ’50 per cent more for the same price’ and the like.

He added: “Now is a good time for retailers and producers to work together to improve the consumer appreciation of scampi which is a top quality British seafood, taken from well managed fisheries.”

Recent figures show that UK scampi producers, mainly in Scotland and Northern Ireland, had yet to catch 50 per cent of the 2006 UK quota and yet there were only 12 weeks to go the end of the year. Nephrops were the highest value fishery in the UK and the high value seafood in the shops.

Young’s which is the largest scampi buyer in the country had a long standing relationship with fishermen in Scotland and Northern Ireland and had used ground breaking traceability techniques and equipment which meant Young’s fish caught by accredited suppliers had become available to the UK market. An example of this highlighted earlier in the year was the boat Spec Bona, based in Troon, which became the first langoustine vessels to participate when it supplied langoustine tails to Young’s for its whole breaded scampi tails and thus a pioneer in the new traceability technology. The scheme, known as Young’s Trace, was expanded over the following months and is now producing detailed supply and environmental data.

It has shown that this year, breeding patterns and poor weather at the start of the season have reduced catches.

Mike Mitchell, Young’s director of Scampi, said: “With Young’s Trace up and running we understand the ecology of fisheries much better than before. This year we found that the spawning period started unusually late, but it does look as if landings will catch up and fill this season’s quota and that any remainder in the quota can be carried forward into next year.”

Port prices are currently running at 30 per cent up on 2005 and strong European demand for whole langoustine is putting further upward pressure on prices.

www.fishupdate.com is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.