Scottish salmon continues to do relatively well in supermarkets, although sales value fell by 1.9%.

UK salmon sales fall but market share increases

Fish faring better than other species as consumers tighten their belts


Farmed salmon has marginally increased its share of the UK retail market for fish, despite the value of salmon sales falling by 1.9% in the year to October 8 compared to the same period last year.

This is because other sales of other fish species fell further as rising energy and housing costs put pressures on consumers.

£4.1 billion worth of fish was bought at UK retailers during the period, down 4.2% compared to the same period last year and close to values in 2020.

£1.2 bn spent on salmon

Scottish and imported salmon accounted for £1.2 bn of retail sales with almost 68,500 tonnes sold. Although that value was 1.9% lower than in 2021, salmon increased its market share of total fish purchase in the year from 28.9% to 29.6%.

Overall fish sales by volume were down 5.3% to below 400,000 tonnes for the period. Salmon volumes, which accounted for 17 % of all fish volumes purchased, were 7.6% lower than a year earlier, highlighting the impact of higher prices at the checkout.

Sales of salmon have been worth more than those of any other seafood in the first nine months of 2022, in part due to high prices.

The figures are included in the autumn economic quarterly report from trade body Salmon Scotland, which also reported that lower production volume led to a significant drop in exports of whole, fresh Scottish salmon in the first nine months of 2022.

Between them, Mowi, Bakkafrost Scotland, and Scottish Sea Farms have lowered harvest guidance for 2022 by a total of 28,000 gutted weight tonnes due to fish deaths largely caused by gill disease and micro jellyfish.

Drop in exports

Scotland exported 55,000 tonnes of fresh salmon, some 24,000 fewer tonnes than in the first nine months of 2021. Despite the lower volumes, high prices and a premium over other salmon of between €1-€3 per kilo means this equated to almost £450 million worth of exports, just 8% lower than 2021 export values.

A further £88 million worth of further processed salmon (including fresh and frozen fillets and smoked salmon) was exported from the UK in the first three quarters of the year, taking the total salmon export valuation to above £530 m.

The European Union remains the main destination for Scottish salmon exports, accounting for 72% of exports in the 12 months to September.

North America and Asia remain key regions with more than a third of the value of all exports destined beyond the EU.

Popular fish

Salmon Scotland chief executive Tavish Scott said: “With food price rises, soaring energy bills and rampant inflation, the fact that salmon has increased its share of the UK market demonstrates the popularity of our fish"

He added: “Our sector is not without its own challenges, and we can’t hope to repeat the record-breaking performance of 2021, but international demand remains high – particularly in France, where Scottish salmon is recognised by chefs, restaurants and consumers as the best in the world.”