Big in Japan: Scotland’s seafood heavyweights look to scale up exports

At £944 million, Scottish seafood international exports rose by 23% last year, and a contingent of seafood companies headed East (22-24 August) for the Japan Seafood Expo 2018. The group includes, for the first time, some of the biggest companies in the sector – making this year’s delegation the largest yet in terms of the proportion of Scotland’s catch represented.

Dawnfresh Seafoods, who hold a Royal Warrant as fishmongers to HRH Queen Elizabeth II, attended with the Scottish contingent for the first time. Darren Allan, International commercial manager at Dawnfresh said: “Asia, and in particular Japan, is one of the largest consumers of seafood in the world appreciating high quality, sustainable products. Scottish fish is widely renowned as some of the best in the world for both quality and flavour. As one of Scotland’s most premium, fully accredited seafood producers we see the show as an excellent opportunity to showcase our fantastic range of raw and smoked trout products as well as our handcrafted, marinated, MSC-certified herring. We are proud to be representing Scotland and attracting new business.”

The Japan Seafood Expo 2018 was attended by a host of important international trade buyers from trading companies, wholesalers, distributors, retail and the restaurant trade.

The Scottish contingent presented Scottish seafood at its best, showcasing a wide range of Scottish species and techniques, such as Scottish smoked and fresh salmon, haddock, sea trout, mackerel, herring, crab and langoustine.

Natalie Bell, Trade Marketing Manager for Europe, Middle East and Asia at Seafood Scotland, commented:

“Japan is a strategically important market for the seafood industry. Its famously strong fish-eating culture and a market that demands increasing levels of quality, traceability and sustainability, makes Japan an ideal match for Scottish seafood is the ideal match for the market. Moreover, where Japan leads the rest of Asia generally follows. As the cultural and foodie trend-setter for the region, buy-in from Japan is crucial for Scottish fishermen and producers. The Japan Seafood Expo represents a critical opportunity for Scottish company representatives, who will do solid deals over tastings and dinners, contributing to a real boost for the Scottish industry.”

Both Scottish and Japanese chefs worked with the delegation to prepare their products in western culinary styles, but also demonstrated how Scottish product can be used for more traditional Japanese cuisine, showing the versatility and great fit with a very different culinary culture to back here at home.
In addition to attending the Expo, the Scottish contingent hosted a ‘Taste of Scotland’ Seafood reception at the British Embassy in Tokyo, forming new ties with buyers and chefs.

Marine Harvest, who joined Seafood Scotland’s presence at the Japanese Seafood Show for the first time, is part of the Marine Harvest Group, one of the world’s leading seafood companies and a holder of a coveted Royal Warrant for supplies to the Royal Household in the United Kingdom.

Robbie Kettle, Account Manager for Marine Harvest Scotland, said:
“We produce top quality, farmed sustainably adhering to the highest quality and food safety standards and our pristine, clear, cold waters are the perfect environment to rear our world class Scottish salmon, befitting for the high-quality Japanese market and the discerning Japanese consumer. High service level and consistent 52-week supply go hand in hand with the opportunity to further differentiate and increase the fresh salmon market in Japan.”

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