Scottish delegation heads East for a slice of the Asian market

Scottish delegation heads East for a slice of the Asian market

Following strong figures from Scottish seafood exports, a record number of Scottish companies are heading to Japan for an international expo.

The Japan Seafood Expo takes place from 23-25 August, and will be attended by more Scottish companies than ever before, showcasing a range of Scottish smoked and farmed salmon, mackerel, herring, crab, and langoustines. 

For the first time, John Ross Jr traditionally smoked salmon and Loch Duart Salmon join the delegation hoping to break into new markets in Asia. 

The Aberdeen-based company will be joined by Scottish Fisherman’s Organisation (SFO), Crab Company Scotland from Peterhead, Hebridean Smokehouse, Lunar, Scottish Salmon Company and Loch Duart Salmon.

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, the companies ensure that ‘buying Scottish’ is a prominent message, reaching a host of important international trade buyers from trading companies, wholesalers, distributors, retail and the restaurant trade, who 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, commented: “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.”

In addition to attending the Expo, the Scottish contingent is hosting a ‘Taste of Scotland’ Seafood reception at the British Embassy in Tokyo, and will 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 that might include Scottish seafood on their menus.   

Susan Beattie, head of food and drink at Scottish Development International, said: “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’.