Norway - UK 2024 Seafood Summit galvanises seafood sector

Fish & Seafood

Close to 200 leading stakeholders from across the seafood industry united on 27th February for the 2024 Norway-UK Seafood Summit, at Fishmongers’ Hall in London.

Posted on Mar 05 ,00:03

Norway - UK 2024 Seafood Summit galvanises seafood sector

The event, which is firmly cementing itself as an important date in industry calendars, led with bilateral updates from the Norwegian Minister for Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Cecilie Myrseth, and the UK Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, Rt Hon Mark Spencer, on how the two countries are working together, with joint efforts to further strengthen and develop seafood trade and relations.

Organised by the Norwegian Seafood Council, the Summit attracted key stakeholders from the seafood sector and related industries, from fishing fleet exporters and distributers, through to retail, foodservice, analysts and media.

The two countries have a long-standing seafood partnership with close relations across the industry. Among top species exported from Norway to the UK are salmon, cod, haddock, cold water prawns and halibut.

Key figures include:

  • Norway is the top exporter of seafood to the UK holding an estimated 20% share of the market (January - November 2023.
  • 64% of total UK salmon imports were from Norway in 2023, up from 59% in 2022
  • last year the UK became the largest market for frozen cod exports from Norway, and the third largest market for total cod exports from Norway

Bi-lateral discussions highlight Norway and the UK’s ongoing commitment to collaboration and transparency as cornerstones for future growth

The Summit took a deep dive into a number of topics relevant to the seafood industry, with the consensus that collaboration and transparency are pivotal to securing future growth.

Norwegian Minister, Cecilie Myrseth, provided the Norwegian perspective:

"It is important for me to be here as the UK is one of our most important partners, in many ways, but especially when it comes to seafood. We have to work together to support growth and sustainability in our seas, it is important for the economy but also because we want to make sure people eat more food from the sea. There are big opportunities for both the UK and Norway to explore together in the ocean".

Whilst British Minister, Rt Hon Mr Spencer added:

"The United Kingdom and Norway’s relationship is a historic one, based on friendship, respect, and cooperation. We recognise the importance of seafood from Norway; having easy access to it is important for consumer choice and as part of a healthy diet".

Norwegian Seafood Council UK Director Victoria Braathen said:

"Norway and the UK are proud ocean nations and share a long-standing seafood partnership. Bringing together 200 stakeholders from across the value chain is a true testament to our far-reaching collaboration and joint seafood agenda.

As with many industries the seafood market has gone through turbulence over recent years, with diets and lifestyles changing due to forces including global unrest, the pandemic, environment and cost of living challenges. Yet seafood is well-aligned to consumer trends; it is the perfect fit for those wanting healthy, sustainable and delicious meal options. To build confidence, inspire and achieve understanding for the value of responsibly sourced seafood and provenance, we believe that working together closely across the value chain is key to driving success".

Insight-led discussions provided a positive outlook for the sector

Nathan Ward of Kantar Worldpanel studied how world events over the past 5 years have impacted consumer behaviour and looked at how seafood can win with British consumers in 2024:

  • forces remain dynamic and our in-home occasions are settling above the pre-pandemic averages
  • more flexible working locations remain part of people’s lives
  • the recovery of out of home continues and is polarised with cheaper everyday occasions and larger, more up-tempo occasions
  • the evening meal remains the core of chilled and frozen fish at 68% of seafood occasions
  • seafood has a story to tell across the long-term trends impacting our meals: health, sustainability, worldwide flavours, versatility and convenience
  • seafood is important for M&S consumers – seen as a healthy option with a great taste
  • consumers are more worried about sustainability in seafood than other categories
  • consumers are seeking education when it comes to seafood purchasing – with a responsibility from the wider food industry to facilitate this

Linda Wood, Aquaculture and Fisheries Manager, M&S Food Group

shared insights on responsible seafood sourcing from a retail perspective:

Linda highlighted M&S’ requirements for sourcing seafood – from responsible fisheries to crew and fish welfare, quality and innovation to improve fishery sustainability. In conclusion, collaboration is required with cross industry initiatives to drive change.

Insights from Head of Strategy & Sustainability of Norwegian Seafood Council, Bjørn-Erik Stabell, highlighted the need for a blue revolution to meet the growing demand for seafood while preserving marine ecosystems.

In culmination, the Norway – UK 2024 Seafood Summit served as a pivotal platform for industry leaders to convene, exchange insights, and chart a sustainable path forward for the seafood sector. With focus on collaboration and transparency, this summit underscores our collective commitment to boosting seafood consumption and driving future sustainable growth. 

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