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Scottish processors court London fish and chip trade

Seafood Scotland led a trade mission to London at the end of September, to help Scottish whitefish processors and fishermenbillingsgate explore the potential of the Capital's fish and chip sector.

Led by Will Clark of Wilsea Ltd, the mission kicked off with dinner at acclaimed fish and chip restaurant Kennedy's, where the Scottish contingent was joined by representatives from wholesalers Unique Seafood and Zampa Fish, and top fryers from Golden Union Fish Bar and Brockley's Rock.

"We spent a most productive evening discussing everything from stock recovery and the potential effects of the forthcoming landing obligation, to traceability, freshness and product durability," said Will Clark.

An early start the following morning saw the group at Billingsgate Market for a guided tour hosted by Chris Leftwich, Chief inspector to the Fishmongers' Company. The programme continued with a networking breakfast attended by Billingsgate traders, who took the opportunity to learn about fresh supply from the Scottish industry.

The final highlight of the visit was a presentation from Jack McIntyre of NPD, which provides leading foodservice information and insight through its flagship information service CREST®. The presentation focussed on market analysis of the opportunities and challenges faced by seafood in the foodservice market, and specifically in the fish & chip sector.

The visit was timely, because the Marine Conservation Society has just taken North Sea cod off its list of fish to avoid eating, so traders were keen to learn about supply from Scotland," explained Will Clark.

"We were also able to talk them through other whitefish species we have to offer, such as North Sea haddock and saithe, which are MSC certified, hake, pollack and whiting. We offer friers an excellent choice of fresh, sustainable fish that is fully traceable back to the boat, and remind them that provenance can be used as an effective marketing tool.
"A great deal of the cod and haddock sold in fish and chip shops comes from the North Atlantic and is frozen at sea, but with more and more stocks around our own shores recovering, we are in a good position to encourage a fresh supply from North of the Border," he said.

Alan Downie, managing partner of Downies of Whitehills, was a keen participant on the trip.
"This was very a useful and informative visit, particularly the opportunity to speak to the Billingsgate traders over breakfast, which enabled us to share insights from both perspectives. I gained some useful contacts, which is a first step to doing business, and hope these will turn into firm orders in the near future," he said.

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