Scottish Salmon named UK’s top food export for 2023 despite challenges

Editorial Staff

France led the global market, with significant growth also observed in the US and Asian markets

In 2023, Scottish salmon was declared the UK’s leading food export, according to annual data from His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The sector saw sales rise by 0.5% to £581 million, equating to daily revenue of £1.6 million.

In 2023, France remained the largest market for Scottish salmon, importing 32,010 tons, which, despite being 26% less than in 2022, accounted for half of Scotland’s salmon exports. The United States saw a modest increase of 1% in imports, totaling 13,204 tons. Exports to China grew by 36% to 3,941 tons, while exports to Ireland more than doubled with a 101% increase to 3,612 tons.

Despite rising demand, the Scottish salmon industry faced several challenges. Export volumes dropped by 11% compared to the previous year, while Brexit-related bureaucracy increased operational costs and delays. Additionally, the current UK recession and slow regulatory reform in Scotland have impacted the sector.

Salmon Scotland, representing the industry, has called for more political support in light of these challenges, especially with the upcoming general election. The organization has outlined several key demands to political parties to aid the sector.

Tavish Scott, Chief Executive of Salmon Scotland, remarked on the industry’s resilience despite economic hardships. He highlighted the sector’s contribution to the Scottish and UK economies and its role in employment and community sustainability. Scott stressed the need for government support to ensure continued growth and competitiveness in the global market.


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