Record seafood delegation heads east for slice of the Asian market

Largest Scottish contingent to date heads for Japan Seafood Expo  

This year’s Japan Seafood Expo, which takes place between 23 and 25 August, is set to welcome Scotland’s largest contingent of seafood companies to date.
Asia’s largest seafood show will be attended by more Scots firms than ever before –showcasing a wide variety of Scottish smokes and farmed salmon, mackerel, herring, crab and langoustines following strong export figures from the sector this year so far.
Among this year’s new exhibitors are Aberdeen-based John Ross Jr (traditionally smoked salmon) and Sutherland-headquartered Loch Duart Salmon which have joined the delegation in a bid to net new markets in Asia.
Also attending are the Scottish Fisherman’s Organisation, Peterhead-based Crab Company Scotland and Denholm Seafoods, the Hebridean Smokehouse based in North Uist, Lunar from the north east, and the Scottish Salmon Company from the west.
As one of the largest consumers of seafood in the world, Japan is a key market for producers from Scotland, with a growing demand for high-quality, sustainable seafood in volume.
By coming together as a delegation, Scots firms hope to make sure that ‘buying Scottish’ sends a prominent message to international trade buyers, including trading companies, wholesalers, distributors, retail and the restaurant trade, which will be among the 35,000 visitors expected over the three-day show.
Natalie Bell, Trade Marketing Manager for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Asia) at Seafood Scotland, said: “Asia is an important market for the Scottish seafood sector, and Japan, as the food culture trend-setter for the region, is key.  We know that Japan is a discerning market, with a huge appetite for the world-class level of quality that seafood from Scotland achieves, making this Expo one of the most critical opportunities for Scottish companies to do business in the region.
“Among the dinners, tastings and chef demonstration activities, solid deals will be done, potentially with a significant impact on the businesses attending.”
Figures released last week by HMRC confirmed that exports from Scotland of salmon, in particular, have increased by 70% in the first half of this year compared to last year, with Japan showing particularly strong growth.
Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said: “As recent figures from HMRC show, the development of the Far East marketplace is of huge importance to the Scottish seafood market, with East Asia becoming increasingly significant.
“We have a real opportunity to take advantage of the high demand for Scottish produce, particularly for salmon.  Our high standards, excellent environmental record and the detailed traceability possible are all factors in making salmon a highly respected and sought-after product in the Far East.”
Scottish and Japanese chefs will be working with the delegation to prepare their products in both western and Scottish culinary styles and to demonstrate how Scottish produce can be used for more traditional Japanese cuisine.
The Scottish contingent will also host a ‘Taste of Scotland’ Seafood reception at the British Embassy in Tokyo and work alongside other Scottish producers of gin, dairy and bakery products and craft beers to deepen existing relationships within the region, as well as making new ties with buyers and chefs who might include Scottish seafood on their menus.
Susan Beattie, Head of Food and Drink at Scottish Development International, added: “Japan is a top prospect market within the Scotland Food & Drink Export Plan with fantastic opportunities for seafood and other premium products.  Our F&D specialists in Tokyo are helping companies unlock these opportunities – connecting them to leading retailers, distributors, hotels and chefs and showcasing Scotland’s high quality natural larder through events such as ‘Taste of Scotland’.
“A huge effort has gone into preparing for the Japan Seafood Expo from companies and supporting organisations and I am confident this will result in many new business connections and increased export growth for Scotland.”
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