The Collaborative Group is a partnership between Seafood Scotland, which administers it, Scottish Development International (SDI) and the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), with additional funding from Seafish.
In advance of a submission for funds to take the project to the next stage, an international strategy development review was commissioned to ascertain industry interest.
Graham Young, head of Seafood Scotland said: “The response rate to the review was excellent, and the feedback has enabled us to make some subtle improvements to the project. More than fifty companies were interviewed and their suggestions incorporated into the new bid. Our first year has enabled us to make good progress in Asia, but much work remains to be done in order to grow awareness of Scotland as a supplier of high quality seafood, and to turn that into sales. ”
“There is widespread recognition that Scotland is too small to have a fragmented approach to awareness raising within the large Asian market place, and that a joined-up effort across all the seafood sectors is required in order to make progress,” he added.
Activities to date have included educational and networking session with hotel chains, restaurant groups, chefs and buyers; ‘Scottish Seafood Weeks’ in Asian cities; awareness raising and product education sessions in supermarkets supported by point of sale material; development of a toolkit to help Scottish businesses promote their products in the Asian marketplace; profile building in trade and specialist publications and a greater online and social media presence; sponsorship of food events and culinary competitions, and learning journeys to key cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur.
Several key changes were suggested through the review, to make the programme stronger over the next few years. These include introducing an Industry-led awareness raising committee, with partners invited to give ongoing feedback to ensure the project remains relevant, effective, and recognised by the entire Scottish industry; engaging in a greater level of commercial activity using local agencies to ensure high market penetration; maximising Scottish Government influence to gain greater political support for the project, particularly in China; and assisting Scottish companies to build relationships in the target countries.
Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation, said: "Export sales of Scottish salmon are currently buoyant, with particular success in the Asian market. We want to ensure that this becomes an established market and are therefore very pleased to be supporting a second development campaign in these locations. The collaboration with other seafood partners is very successful in ensuring that Scotland is recognised as the home of excellent fish and shellfish."
Anne MacColl, Chief Executive of Scottish Development International, said: "Scottish seafood is of the highest international quality, deserving of the world's best chefs and the most discerning customers. The Asian market continues to offer an excellent fit for Scotland's strategic focus on premium products, health and provenance.
Last year, exports of Scottish salmon to China alone increased by over 100 per cent, and exports of Scottish salmon to Asia are also now at record levels following the third consecutive year of increases. The high rate of growth of the sushi and sashimi markets offers further huge potential.
The high value activity delivered by the Scottish Seafood Collaborative Group continues to fully exploit these opportunities, helping to ensure that the food and drink industry in Asia see Scotland's offer as ideally suited to their customers."