Scotland’s fishing industry receives postive boost as new survey shows an upturn in demand.
Scotland’s shoppers helped fuel a significant rise in seafood sales as the UK entered lockdown in March, according to new research.
In freezer aisles throughout the UK, frozen family favourites, such as fish cakes, saw the biggest growth in popularity (89% growth), closely followed by frozen breaded products (82% growth) and fish fingers (79% growth).
The research for the Sea for Yourself campaign, supported by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and non-departmental public body, Seafish, also suggested that British shoppers were broadening their horizons from traditionally popular species like cod, haddock, tuna and prawns, while sardines, which are rich in Vitamin B-12, saw a 100% growth in sales.
According to the research, the spike in shoppers buying fish and shellfish correlates with the panic bulk buying of other supermarket goods towards the end of March. After the panic buying peak, sales of seafood remain 4% higher than before.
The research comes a week after the seafood industry urged supermarkets to reopen fish counters to help sell the surplus of fresh fish caused by the temporary closure of restaurants and hotels.
Morrisons recently reopened its fresh fish and meat counters to support UK producers, and Seafood Scotland has called on more of the big chains to follow its lead.
In a letter sent to the chief executives of Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, Donna Fordyce, head of Seafood Scotland, said: “It is imperative that fish counters are reopened to allow consumers access to fresh, locally caught seafood from the domestic market as part of their essential shop.”
Marcus Coleman, CEO at Seafish, commented: “There are more than 100 different species of seafood caught in UK waters, and it’s great to see shoppers continuing to buy classic favourites like cod or haddock, as well as broadening horizons to other species like herring, hake, sole and mussels.
“It’s encouraging to see any positive change in shoppers opting to purchase more seafood, but especially so during lockdown as many of our fish businesses can’t currently supply restaurants or export.
“We can all continue to support our national seafood industry, from sea to plate by continuing to buy, eat and enjoy the UK’s delicious and diverse seafood products.”