Scottish salmon “star player” in food exports and in UK shopping baskets

Salmon industry conference outlines industry success to UK and international buyers as part of celebration of 25 years of Label Rouge award

Salmon’s place as a leading player in Scotland’s food industry and in UK shopping baskets was confirmed at a seminar in Edinburgh on 16th March to discuss the importance of the salmon farming industry’s ability to satisfy consumer demands for healthy, easy and versatile food.

Speakers from the industry, Scotland Food and Drink and Kantar Worldpanel, outlined the changes the industry has seen from farm to plate during the past decades, particularly in farming techniques and in consumer knowledge and attitudes to food.

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink highlighted that half of all food exports from Scotland are salmon and seafood, with salmon the “star player”. Nathan Ward, Meat, Fish and Poultry expert from Kantar Worldpanel showed that salmon sales in supermarkets are up in both volume and value to be worth around £710m in sales last year. Consumers nowadays are time poor and relatively cash rich. They want healthy, easy, quick food which reflects their growing interest in world flavours. International speaker on cross cultural communications, Pellegrino Ricardi, also presented on the importance of reputation and promoting salmon farming as a key solution to food security.

The event was organised by Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) for UK, French and German buyers as part of a celebration of 25 years of holding the French Government’s Label Rouge quality mark. This honour is given only to products of superior taste and quality. Scottish salmon was the first non-French food, and is the only Scottish food, to receive this prestigious award.

Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of SSPO, said:

“Being awarded the Label Rouge in 1992 was significant in developing the export market in France and has subsequently opened many other markets for Scottish salmon around the world. Originally produced as a niche product for the premium French market, it is now sought-after in other European countries, including Switzerland and Germany, and further afield in the Middle East and Japan. It is certainly an achievement worth celebrating and a moment to note that we produce salmon in some of Scotland’s most remote, rural communities which ends up on dining tables around the world because of its Scottish provenance and reputation for high quality standards.”

Last year saw record sales of Label Rouge Scottish Salmon, around 8,000 tonnes of the premium fish.

The industry hosted a dinner in Edinburgh Castle for buyers, industry, chefs and other stakeholders. A new video showing the “salmon run” from Scotland to France was also shown. It can be seen on www.scottishsalmon.co.uk.