Good Potential for UK Seafood Industry to Grow Domestic Market

There are still significant opportunities for sales of UK caught fish to increase in the domestic market, according to the CEO of the Scottish Seafood Association.

Findings from annual processing surveys by Seafish showed that after a drop in sales in 2019, turnover rose in the subsequent two years during the Covid pandemic, highlighting a good underlying demand for seafood in the UK market.

Jimmy Buchan of the Scottish Seafood Association told Fish Focus: “I think this shows that if we undertake the correct marketing, there is a strong demand for UK processed fish, and there is good potential to expand sales.

“The message is for consumers to think local and to buy local, and by that I don’t just mean from seafood suppliers on one’s doorstep, but also from suppliers from throughout the UK who have a great offering of high-quality fish.

“Moving forward, it would be great to see the whole UK seafood sector – both catchers and processors – working together in promotional and marketing campaigns to raise overall consumer awareness of the fantastic range of home-caught and processed seafood.

“With the UK having a population of over 67m people, there is huge untapped potential in increasing domestic sales, benefiting both the national economy, and also the nation’s health through the supply of nutritious, low carbon footprint seafood.”

Seafish has just launched its 2024 processing survey. In 2023, Seafish identified 353 sites which process mainly seafood in the UK, six less than the previous year. The drop in sites over time has largely been driven by a reduction in the small and medium sized sites. Some sites closed, others grew or merged. The results also showed that most processors engage in other business activities besides processing, such as wholesaling.