Soaring Scottish salmon sales defying inflation and Brexit

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Sales of salmon in UK stores are running at £1.2 billion-a-year, with the high-protein fish increasing its share of the market ahead of the busy Christmas period, Salmon Scotland has revealed.

In the 12 months to October, new figures show that salmon made up 29.6% of total fish sales – an annual increase from 28.9%, despite lower volumes and overall food inflation.

It said: “International sales of Scottish salmon also remain strong, according to the latest data collated by Salmon Scotland, with more than £500 million in fresh and smoked exports in the first nine months of 2022 – with the most recent three months higher than pre-pandemic levels for fresh exports at £165m, and only down around 9 % on the record-breaking 2021 figures.”

Despite the red tape from Brexit, European demand has seen the proportion of exports to the EU hit 765 per cent in the most recent quarter.

Scottish salmon remains the UK’s biggest food export, followed by bread and pastries, chocolate, cereals, and cheese.

With reports of turkey shortages and the deepening cost-of-living crisis, Scottish salmon is expected to be in high demand as families prepare their Christmas dinners.

These latest figures, from trade body Salmon Scotland, using data from HMRC and NielsenIQ, come at the end of a highly successful year for the sector, which has seen the Scottish Government recognise the immense contribution of farm-raised salmon to the blue economy.

Other highlights include Salmon Scotland being welcomed into the world’s leading body for chefs, and a university analysis which found that Scottish salmon is even more nutritious than thought – providing more than 70% of daily vitamin D needs in a single portion.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “With food price rises, soaring energy bills and rampant inflation, the fact that salmon has increased its share of the UK market demonstrates the popularity of our fish.

“With the busy Christmas period upon us, our farmers are working hard to ensure that we can meet the demand for nutritious salmon to be served on dinner tables across the country.

He added: “A high level of domestic seafood consumption is not only healthy for the population, but it will also help the economy in some of the most rural areas of Scotland combat the challenges being faced by many at this time.

“Our sector is not without its own challenges, and we can’t hope to repeat the record-breaking performance of 2021, but international demand remains high – particularly in France, where Scottish salmon is recognised by chefs, restaurants and consumers as the best in the world.”