Boxing Day (26 December) staple Scottish smoked salmon will be making a name for itself on menus across the world over the holiday period with global sales of salmon from the UK rocketing up-stream 27 per cent in the first half of this year.
The equivalent of 25 million salmon was shipped across the world in 2013 to 89 countries including shrimp-loving Australia and sushi capital, Japan. Growing global demand for salmon from the UK has meant it is now our second most exported food, muscling in just after chocolate and confectionery.
Worldwide sales in 2013 reached an all-time high of £571 million – and 2014 looks to be even bigger with sales in the first half of this year already reaching £313 million.
Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: "I am delighted that more and more families are enjoying the delicious, unique taste of this country’s smoked salmon. UK produce is something we should all be proud of.
"These impressive figures show the UK is a place the world increasingly comes to buy quality, trusted food – that’s great news for our growing economy and great news for UK businesses looking to sell their produce across the globe."
Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, said: "Scottish salmon is a successful, sustainable healthy food that brings economic prosperity and long term employment to the UK. This year, for the second time in succession, Scottish salmon was named ‘best farmed salmon in the world’ in a poll of retail and food-service buyers.
"It was also the 10th anniversary of receiving the European PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), granted to products with distinct regional characteristics, placing it alongside Champagne and Parma Ham.
"Industry continues to focus on protecting the Scottish salmon brand and markets by using sustainable production standards and husbandry techniques that produce high quality fish. Qualities such as firm flesh and distinct flavours, combined with Scottish provenance and tradition, have all been crucial to establishing our iconic brand and are especially important to our export markets in Europe, North American and the Far East."
Around 40 per cent of all the UK’s £1.5 billion of fish and fish preparations exports came from Scotland in 2013 – almost all UK salmon exports come from Scotland. The top 3 destinations for salmon exports in 2013 were US (£200 million, up from £48 million in 2008); France (£110 million, up from £72 million in 2008) and China (£50 million, up from £0.1 million in 2008).
Protected Food Name status
This export success comes as one brand of smoked salmon makes a bid to become London’s first legally recognised food name, joining the ranks of Stilton cheese and Melton Mowbray pork pies.
London Cure Smoked Scottish Salmon has established itself thanks to its delicate taste and texture. It has been smoked in the East End of the city since at least the late 1800’s – the curing process uses only rock salt and oak smoke to bring out the taste of the salmon without leaving a strong smoke flavour.
Ms Truss added: "The marriage of a generations old curing process born in London’s East End and quality Scottish salmon is testament to this country’s amazing food culture.
"I very much hope that by next Christmas, London Cure Smoked Scottish Salmon will have followed in the footsteps of Cornish clotted cream and Stilton cheese, and bring London its first food with protected status."
Lance Forman, PFN applicant H Forman and Sons, said: "Over the 20th century, smoked salmon became one of the most popular gourmet foods across the western world - its origins as a gourmet food began in London’s East End.
"H. Forman & Son, as the UK’s oldest salmon curers, is delighted to be submitting an application for protected status for its traditional and artisanal ‘London Cure’ smoked salmon. We are keen to engage the public about the heritage of smoked salmon, so it retains its status as a fine food which consumers love and appreciate."
The Protected Food Name scheme is designed to identify world class produce, boost local economies and protect regional heritage. Other British foods to achieve the status include Whitstable oysters and Orkney lamb. If the application is successful, London Cure Smoked Scottish Salmon will be the first London food to gain protected status.