New industry figures show UK sales of British seafood, much of it from Scotland, grew at their highest rate for four years during the 2016 festive season.
People snapped up more fresh, frozen and “ambient” – for example, canned fish – seafood to celebrate Christmas, according to trade body Seafish.
Premium products were on many people’s festive menu, with consumers buying 24.7% more caviar during the week running up to Christmas Day, compared with a year earlier.
Lobster sales grew by 4.7%, helped by a major promotional push by one of the leading discount supermarket chains.
Cold water prawns were one of the most significant success stories during Christmas 2016, with the £10.9million-worth sold representing a 10.2% increase by weight.
But it was bite-sized whitebait, or small fry, that achieved the biggest sales surge of all after volumes increased by around 16 times from relatively low quantities in 2015.
A total of 8,000tonnes of seafood worth £98million was purchased during period December 18 to 24, said Seafish, highlighting year-on-year increases of 25.4% and 24.5% respectively.
Traditional species, including salmon, cod, tuna, prawns, mixed seafood, haddock, pollock and mackerel all did well.
Fresh fish worth a total of £69million made its way into people’s shopping baskets during the last week before the big day, a £15million increase on 2015 Christmas week sales.
The frozen sector saw total sales volume increase by 21.8%, while demand for ambient products was up by 28.4%.
Seafish market insight analyst Julia Brooks said: “2016 saw the best Christmas trading period for seafood in four years.
“The data is a strong indicator of consumer trends and shows that people favoured traditional favourites”.
She added: “We have a rich source of seafood available in the UK, which is incredibly good for you.
“It’s good to see consumers embrace seafood of all varieties and species.
“Retailers are offering a wider variety of flavoured fresh, frozen and ambient seafood, which make it even easier to incorporate seafood into any meal.”