U.S., China markets propel salmon to top of UK food export list

Published on
April 2, 2015

U.K. salmon exports have increased significantly over the past year, thanks to increased demand from the U.S., China, France and other countries. Overall salmon exports, chiefly from Scotland, grew from £583.7 milion (USD 864.7 million) in 2013 to £626.3 million (USD 928.3 million) in 2014, according to new data from the U.K.’s Food and Drink Federation. Salmon is now one of the top three British food exports, according to new FDF data (chocolate and cheese are the other two).

The largest increase in salmon exports came from China, where imports rose 27.2 percent from 2013 to reach £64.2 million (USD 95.1 million) in 2014, according to the FDF. “China’s import controls on Norwegian salmon opened up the market to U.K. exports and the growing reputation for quality and rapid expansion of China’s middle class … is continuing that demand growth,” Steve Barnes, economic and commercial services director at FDF, told SeafoodSource.

“China continues to deliver amazing results, growing from virtually nothing in 2010 to become our third most popular export market,” said Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organization.

Still, the U.S. remains the largest importer of U.K. salmon, with imports increasing 13 percent to £228.6 million (USD 338.8 million) in 2014. Salmon imports also spiked 22 percent to France, reaching £134.6 million (USD 199.5 million), while Germany imported 21.1 percent more at £17.8 million (USD 26.4 million) and Ireland’s Scottish salmon imports rose 9.6 percent to reach £47.4 million (USD 70.3 million).

“The Far East continues to grow very well and is definitely an emerging market with huge potential,” Landsburgh said. “However, the USA remains on top as our strongest export market, with sales helped by the pound being low against the dollar.”

France is also buying more salmon because its economy is returning to health after a few years of turbulence, according to Landsburgh. While the Scottish salmon industry has enjoyed rapid growth over the past few years, the pace of growth may slow unless new aquaculture sites are opened in a shorter periods of time, Landsburgh said.

“Scottish farmed salmon represents 6 percent of world salmon production, whereas 10 years ago, we were 10 percent of the total. Our development looks slow compared to that of competitor countries,” he said.

While salmon is the top seafood exported from the U.K. — representing 40 percent of total seafood exports — other top products include hake, mackerel, lobster, crab, shrimp, trout and caviar.

Contributing Editor



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