Key markets for Scottish seafood

The latest market insight reports from Seafood Scotland offer Scottish companies a wealth of information to help them understand changes and opportunities in key markets, identify how to increase existing business, and where to target new sales.
Reports include Christmas audits of the UK and French retail sectors, plus market research papers on Scotland’s key commercial species.
The reports could prove invaluable in helping companies with forward strategy.
‘Information is the key to success in business, and we put a lot of effort into research that offers Scottish companies an advantage,’ said Seafood Scotland marketing manager Clare Dean.
The UK audit, carried out by Seafood Scotland’s retail consultant Jim Gourley, covers all the Christmas-specific listings in the major multiples and discounters, with full details of promotions, price points and packaging, amply illustrated with photographs.
Salmon and value added salmon products played a key part in the seafood offering, with many different preparations, including roulades and pates, canapés and terrines.
Smoked salmon cures included whisky, black treacle and winter spice, while smoke flavours included chestnut, maple and thyme.
One indulgent offering was a whisky cured smoked salmon dusted with gold leaf, which proved popular with customers seeking to impress guests or to treat themselves.
Luxury seafood platters with scallops and prawns were also popular, along with whole and dressed crab and lobster.
Research and analysis of the French Christmas retail market was carried out by Seafood Scotland’s European consultant, Bruno Corréard, who has had extensive experience of working with international retail chains.
He found that spending on Christmas/New Year specific purchases was down by -4.5 per cent in 2014 compared with the previous year.
‘The economic downturn, that has been affecting the Euro zone since 2009, has highlighted a new reality for the French food market.
‘Sales of core products in the retail sector have suffered the most, whilst budget and premium ranges have held their ground and, in some cases, shown slight growth,’ said Corréard.
His report outlines that during the Christmas period in the supermarkets, the key objective appeared to be ‘back to basics’, with a less sophisticated offering than the previous year in terms of species, number of products and money spent on in-store and leaflet promotions.
On the fresh fish counter, Atlantic cod retained its number one spot as the most popular finfish species, with an estimated 27 per cent market share.
Salmon, particularly in smoked form, was also a major product, but Corréard noted some subtle differences in the offering.
‘It was interesting to find more whole smoked salmon fillets offered by small-scale companies, rather than by private labels or large smokehouses,’ he said.
‘However, one of the large well-known labels took the opportunity to promote its premium lines, with provenance featuring heavily in straplines including ‘Line caught from Alaska’ and ‘From the Polar Circle’.
‘This allowed them to test consumer reactions before considering production on a larger scale,’ he explained.
Three geographical market research papers have also just become available, thanks to work commissioned by Seafood Scotland through the Scottish Seafood Partnership.
Undertaken by in-country experts, these comprehensive reports look at 23 of Scotland’s key commercial species and examine opportunities to develop sales in the UK, North America and Europe, specifically France, Spain and Italy.
The research looks at legislative, economic and other barriers to entry, identifies whether retail or food service is the primary target market, and outlines the key markets lie in each country.
Product format, packaging, consumer demand and existing competition are also set out, making the research particularly valuable to companies seeking to expand in or to enter these markets.
‘These are just a few of the reports we have available and we are keen to help companies make the most of them,’ said Care Dean.
‘They can be obtained direct from me, or downloaded from the online user portal’