Scottish seafood producers need to be far more innovative in order to capture a bigger slice of a growing but highly competitive global market, an industry chief warned yesterday.
Patrick Hughes, head of Seafood Scotland, was speaking as a big contingent of Scottish firms prepares to head to the US for North America’s largest trade showcase for the sector.
Seven Scottish businesses will exhibit on the Scottish pavilion at Seafood Expo North America in Boston. They are all aiming to increase their overseas market share, and each of them has developed products with international appeal.
Chef, author and Edinburgh restaurant owner Mark Greenaway will also be at the annual event for a third consecutive year, hosting daily cooking demonstrations.
The expo, which runs from Sunday to Tuesday, will feature more than 1,300 exhibitors and an estimated 22,000-plus trade visitors.
Mr Hughes said: “Scotland has some of the best fish and shellfish in the world and we know that preparing it simply allows the true quality to shine through, but tastes in other markets can be very different.
“Scottish seafood companies need to take note and adapt accordingly, while still retaining the authenticity of the raw product.
“The quality sells itself adage doesn’t necessarily hold true any longer – innovative and tailored taste options, astute marketing approaches and smart use of market data all have a huge part to play in growing our exports, ensuring Scotland can stand up against intense competition from other seafood exporting countries.”
He added: “Developing the product, whether through flavour variations or by ensuring high levels of sustainability and authenticity, and creating bespoke marketing tactics that appeal to international buyers is the direction of travel for many savvy suppliers.
“If more of Scotland’s seafood suppliers broaden their approach to suit, we stand to increase Scotland’s share of the world market.”
Scottish businesses going to Boston include Dawnfresh, Wester Ross Salmon, Marine Products Scotland, Loch Fyne, Campbells and Co, Scottish Seas and the Scottish Salmon Company.