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February 17th 2022

Sales of salmon in UK shops soared to £1.1 billion last year as consumers increased their consumption of the protein-rich fish.

Despite a fall in overall fish purchases, the latest economic report from Salmon Scotland has revealed the growing popularity of salmon among UK consumers.

UK market demand over 2021 saw fresh, chilled salmon retail sales rise by 4.9 per cent from £1,047 million in 2020, with the volumes consumed increasing 7.8 per cent to 63,300 tonnes, up from 58,700 tonnes.

The total fresh chilled fish market increased by 4.2 per cent in terms of sales to £2.6 billion, but there was a slight fall in the overall fish market of 0.2 per cent to £4,243 million.

Salmon is one of the healthiest products to eat, with a single portion providing more than 70 per cent of daily vitamin D needs and more than half of recommended protein amounts.

The new report from trade body Salmon Scotland also further analyses official UK Government export figures, revealing the total volume of Scottish salmon sold abroad was 97,835 tonnes in 2021 - a 36 per cent increase year-on-year.

This included strong recoveries in mature markets such as France and the USA but also strong growth in China and Singapore.

Analysis has also confirmed that Scottish salmon remained the UK's biggest food export, followed by bread and pastries, chocolate, cereals, and cheese.

The farm-raised salmon industry directly employs 2,500 people in Scotland and supports more than 3,600 suppliers, with 10,000 jobs dependent on the sector.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, 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 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."

Read the latest economic quarterly report here.

UK retail sales 2021:

Source: Nielsen IQ for Scotland Food and Drink UK.

Salmon is the most valuable UK food export:

Source: HMRC UK overseas trade statistics: https://www.uktradeinfo.com/trade-data/overseas/2021/uk-overseas-trade-in-goods-statistics-december-2021/