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December 19th 2022

Sales of salmon in UK retailers are running at £1.2 billion-a-year, with the high-protein fish increasing its share of the market ahead of the busy Christmas period.

In the 12 months to October, new figures show that salmon made up 29.6 per cent of total fish sales - an annual increase from 28.9 per cent, despite lower volumes and higher prices for all food at the checkout.

International sales of Scottish salmon also remain strong, according to the latest data collated by Salmon Scotland, with more than £500 million in fresh and smoked exports in the first three quarters of 2022 - with the most recent three months higher than pre-pandemic levels for fresh exports at £165 million, and only down around 9 per cent on the record-breaking 2021 figures.

European demand has seen the proportion of exports to the EU hit 76 per cent in the most recent quarter, despite the extra red tape caused by Brexit.

Scottish salmon remains the UK's biggest food export, followed by bread and pastries, chocolate, cereals, and cheese.

With reports of turkey shortages this year and the deepening cost-of-living crisis, Scottish salmon is expected to be in high demand as families prepare their Christmas dinners.

The new figures from trade body Salmon Scotland, using data from HMRC and NielsenIQ, come at the end of a highly successful year for the sector, which has seen the Scottish Government recognise the immense contribution of farm-raised salmon to the blue economy, while Salmon Scotland was welcomed into the world's leading body for chefs, and a university analysis found that Scottish salmon is even more nutritious than thought - providing more than 70 per cent of daily vitamin D needs in a single portion.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said:

"With food price rises, soaring energy bills and rampant inflation, the fact that salmon has increased its share of the UK market demonstrates the popularity of our fish.

"With the busy Christmas period upon us, our farmers are working hard to ensure that we can meet the demand for nutritious salmon to be served on dinner tables across the country.

"A high level of domestic seafood consumption is not only healthy for the population, but it will also help the economy in some of the most rural areas of Scotland combat the challenges being faced by many at this time.

"Our sector is not without its own challenges, and we can't hope to repeat the record-breaking performance of 2021, but international demand remains high - particularly in France, where Scottish salmon is recognised by chefs, restaurants and consumers as the best in the world."