Biggest-ever delegation for Seafood Scotland at Japan Seafood Expo

The 19th Japan International Seafood and Technology Expo took place 23 through 25 August at the Tokyo Big Sight exhibition hall, and Scotland’s pavilion – though of the same physical size as last year – was bursting at the seams with the most exhibitors ever. 

Natalie Bell, the trade marketing manager at Seafood Scotland, said the trade show represented an opportunity for her organization get more market exposure in Japan, as around 35,000 visitors were expected over the three-day show. The hall was a little more spacious than in previous years, as the concurrently held Agrifood Expo was located in a separate hall.

“This is the fifth year for Scotland to host a pavilion, and it’s been growing year on year,” Bell said. 

She also said that the show is also a great platform to try new recipes and serving suggestions – like smoked salmon sushi, or some new mackerel recipes for which recipe cards were distributed. 

First-time participants exhibitors at the Scottish pavilion included John Ross Jr, (based in Aberdeen) promoting traditionally smoked salmon; and Loch Duart Salmon, (Lairg, Sutherland), offering farmed Scottish salmon. The smoked salmon is lox type (cold-smoked), rather than the hot-smoked product traditional for the Pacific Northwest, U.S.A. 

Brown crab (Cancer pagurus) were offered by Crab Company Scotland, based in Peterhead. The company also sells lobster, scallops and other shellfish, such as langoustines (Nephrops norvegicus). The shrimp-sized crustaceans are actually more closely related to lobsters. Samples of langoustines from the Scottish Fisherman’s Organisation (SFO), were prepared and offered by a chef. They were softer textured than shrimp, with a slightly sweet flavor. Scotland has the world’s largest catch of langoustines. 

Denholm Seafoods, based in Peterhead, is a vertically integrated pelagic processor, handling mackerel and herring, as well as herring roe, which is popular in Japan. Lunar, also based in Peterhead, a major fishing port, offered herring, mackerel, and whitefish.

Hebridean Smokehouse, based in North Uist, offered smoked salmon and shellfish. They already work through an importer in Japan: Honda Seafoods Co. Ltd. of Tokyo. The Scottish Salmon Company, headquartered in Edinburgh, offered farmed salmon that has obtained the Label Rouge accreditation, a quality and sustainability program of the French government.

Patrick Hughes, head of Seafood Scotland, said, “We believe Scotland may be one of the world’s most accredited fisheries.” By this he means not only by Label Rouge and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), but also others like the Soil Association Organic Standard and the Organic Food Federation for salmon and trout, Freedom Food for salmon, Friend of the Sea for mussels, and protected geographical indication for wild salmon and Arbrouth Smokies (smoked haddock).

But the theme of the Scottish Pavilion is not just accreditation, but rather a focus on presenting, through pictures and stories, the people who are practicing their skill and their husbandry of the resources. They hope to express the personal devotion to stewardship of the business operators.

Scotland’s seafood exports have been strong so far this year. Figures through 10 August show salmon exports in the first half of 2017 reached a record value of GBP 346 million (USD , EUR ), a 70 percent jump from the same period last year. Scottish seafood exports to the U.S. and China still dwarf those to Japan, though Japan and Taiwan are both growing markets together accounting for just under GBP 9 million (USD , EUR ) in the second quarter of this year. 

As part of the event, the Scottish contingent hosted an additional “Taste of Scotland” event at the British Embassy, in cooperation with Scottish producers of gin, dairy and bakery products, and craft beers to deepen existing relationships and make new ties with buyers and chefs that might include Scottish seafood on their menus.    


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