Did you know that as well as being the UK shoppers' fish of choice, Scottish salmon is also popular with people across the globe? In numerous taste tests and polls of international seafood buyers it has also been voted the world's best.
Scottish salmon is both Scotland's and the UK's largest food export, ahead of even cheese and chocolate. Global demand for this high quality product continues to grow and in 2019 a record 94,300 tonnes was exported to 54 countries, an increase of 26 per cent on 2018 figures.
The top 6 export markets in descending order are France, USA, China, Ireland, Taiwan and Germany. Japan is also a key market, worth £97 million, with Scottish salmon prized by chefs and consumers alike for creating the highest quality sushi and sashimi.
In total however 56 per cent of Scottish salmon exports go to the EU, with a fifth of that being Label Rouge certified fish. The Label Rouge quality mark is an official endorsement by the French authorities of the superior quality of a food or farmed product, particularly with regard to taste.
Most Scottish salmon bound for the EU travels as road freight to major distribution hubs and markets such as the major French fishing port Boulogne-sur-Mer. Harvested at midnight in Scotland it can be on continental plates by the following day.
Outside the EU, the USA remains Scottish salmon’s largest market. Worth £179 million in 2019, USA’s growth in value and volume of 28 per cent year on year resulted in exports of 25,000 tonnes.
Fresh Scottish salmon exported to the likes of the USA and the Far East travels as air freight, with the majority leaving the UK in the holds of scheduled passenger flights from Heathrow.
All of which is great news for Scotland, where the sector directly sustains more than 2,300 jobs and invests heavily into local communities, providing much-needed employment and economic support.
Scottish salmon will continue to blaze an international trail for Scottish food overseas and be a crucial ambassador for the Scotland's food and drink sector.