Scottish salmon sales grow as exports return to pre-pandemic levels

Salmon Scotland figures show an additional 4,600 tonnes of the fish sold in the UK during 2021.

17 February 2022

The amount of Scottish salmon bought in the United Kingdom last year increased by 4,600 tonnes – while exports have returned to pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit levels, according to industry statistics.

Salmon Scotland’s economic report published on Thursday shows 63,300 tonnes of the farmed fish was sold in the UK during 2021, a rise of 7.8%.

The value of salmon sales also grew to £1.1 billion, up from £1.05 billion in 2020.

It means salmon remained the UK’s biggest food export, followed by bread and pastries, chocolate, cereals, and cheese.

The weight of salmon exported last year was 97,835 tonnes, 4% higher than during 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic and the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.

However, the value of the exports – £614 million – was 1% lower than in 2019.

The EU market accounted for approximately two-thirds of Scottish salmon exports as part of the product’s sales to 50 countries around the world.

Analysis by Salmon Scotland – the organisation formerly known as the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) – suggested strong sales recovery in markets such as France and the USA as well as high growth in China and Singapore.

Its chief executive, Tavish Scott, said: “Scottish salmon is the best, healthiest and most nutritious product that we can put on our plates.

“The rise in consumption here in the UK shows that more consumers recognise the health values and unrivalled quality of Scottish salmon, with year-on-year improvements to the way producers are rearing and feeding their stock which meet the highest welfare standards.

“Our industry is also a global success story, with Scottish salmon comfortably the UK’s biggest food export.

“The quality of Scotland’s produce is widely recognised in our largest markets of France, the USA and China, and we are also seeing sharp increases in newer international markets.

“All this is testament to the hard work and dedication of Scotland’s farmers, who produce a world-leading product that makes a massive contribution to our economy and people’s health.”

A UK Government spokesman said: “We are delighted that salmon exports are surging – it’s testament to the quality of a renowned product.

“We work closely with Salmon Scotland through our Scottish Seafood Industry Action Group and other forums, helping them to speed salmon to customers at home and abroad.

“The UK Government is determined to help the seafood industry as a whole maximise new opportunities, to the benefit of our coastal communities.

“The trade deals we are striking now can help Scottish food and drink producers reach customers in a genuinely global market.”

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