Over £1bn of Scottish salmon was sold in UK shops last year and exports returned to pre-pandemic and pre-Brexit levels.
Industry statistics released on Thursday showed that the amount of salmon sold increased by 4600 tonnes from 2020 numbers amid “growing popularity”.
The total fresh chilled fish market increased by 4.2% in terms of sales to £2.6bn, but there was a slight fall in the overall fish market of 0.2%.
The latest economic report from Salmon Scotland has revealed that the UK market demand over 2021 saw fresh, chilled salmon retail sales rise by 4.9 per cent from £1,047m in 2020, with the volumes consumed increasing 7.8 per cent to 63,300 tonnes, up from 58,700 tonnes.
It means salmon remained the UK’s biggest food export, followed by bread and pastries, chocolate, cereals, and cheese.
The weight of salmon exported last year was 97,835 tonnes, 4% higher than during 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic and the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union.
However, the £614m value of the exports was 1% lower than in 2019.
The EU market accounted for approximately two-thirds of Scottish salmon exports as part of the product’s sales to 50 countries around the world.
Salmon Scotland chief executive, Tavish Scott, 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 Scottish 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.”
A UK Government spokesman said: “We are delighted that salmon exports are surging – it’s testament to the quality of a renowned product.
“We work closely with Salmon Scotland through our Scottish Seafood Industry Action Group and other forums, helping them to speed salmon to customers at home and abroad.
“The UK Government is determined to help the seafood industry as a whole maximise new opportunities, to the benefit of our coastal communities.
“The trade deals we are striking now can help Scottish food and drink producers reach customers in a genuinely global market.”
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