Coronavirus advice and support

Seafood Scotland are working with key stakeholders, government and partners on the impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak. This unprecedented event is a catastrophic threat to the entire seafood supply chain in Scotland. The worldwide impact to the sector is not an overnight fix but we are working relentlessly to ensure that the impact of this and the support that is required by businesses is conveyed to government for urgent action. Please be assured that we are all working together to push for solutions to the sector’s crisis.

One of the lessons from any crisis situation is the importance of clear communications. We therefore will put out daily communications to the industry giving updates. We are in constant dialogue with our food & drink specialists in market to get the latest information and insights throughout our key export markets and we will give updates on these markets as part of the daily update.

Scotland Food & Drink are also communicating daily updates on the impacts of the Coronavirus outbreak to all of the Food & Drink sector in Scotland , and will cover the latest situation with the outbreak and the advice to businesses and on public health. We will therefore combine the information given by them which is relevant to the seafood sector alongside our update.




27th October

 

Hospitality restrictions extended

The hospitality lockdown in the central belt has been extended by a further week until 2 November. In the meantime, the Scottish Government has increased the grants available to those that have either closed or face disruption due to closure. Applications can be made to your local authority (up to 3 Nov). Details of the grants available to businesses as part of the new ‘Levels’ approach (more on that below) can be found here.

Job Support Scheme – employers will now pay less, UK Government will pay more

Last Thursday the Chancellor announced major changes to the planned Job Support Scheme, which starts on 1 November. To be honest, it is a more complex scheme than the furlough scheme but there is a useful guide to how it will work and who qualifies here. The main change is that UK Government will now pick up more of the bill. The previous model required workers to work for a minimum of 33% of their hours but with employers picking up 55% of their normal salary, with an additional 22% of their salary provided by a government grant. Now, employers will have to ensure staff are working only 20% of their hours and must pay them 25% of their normal salary. Government will then pay for 62% of hours not worked.
 
Scotland’s level approach to Covid-19 & discussions with industry

The First Minister announced on Friday a new, five-level structure to managing Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland. It ranges from Level 0 (near normal) to Level 4 (close to full lockdown). A summary of the broad elements of each level are set out below but you’ll find more detail here (scroll to the end for the tables).

Level 0

  • Indoor meetings allowed – maximum 8 people from 3 households and 15 people from 5 households can meet outdoors
  • Hospitality permitted to open for food and alcoholic drinks – time restrictions may apply

Level 1 

  • 6 people from 2 households can meet indoors and outdoors
  • Hospitality permitted to open for food and alcoholic drinks – time restrictions may apply

Level 2 

  • 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings
  • Hospitality permitted to open but alcohol sales only allowed indoors with a main meal and time restrictions may apply

Level 3 

  • 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings
  • Most hospitality permitted to open but no alcohol sales indoors and outdoors

Level 4

  • Essential workplaces will be allowed to remain open including manufacturing and outdoor workplaces
  • All hospitality to close with exceptions for hotel restaurants
  • Schools aim to stay open

For ease of understanding, the restrictions in the central belt would be considered broadly Level 3 and the rest of Scotland would be considered Level 2. Decisions on which local authority areas will fall under which levels are expected to be made this week.

FSS guidance on face-coverings

The guidance from Food Standards Scotland has been updated to reflect the latest advice on face coverings in communal areas (corridors, canteens etc). You will find it here.

 

20th October

Face coverings within businesses – the new guidance

Following the news in last week’s update on face coverings, new regulations come into effect last Friday. Anybody in a workplace canteen now has to wear a face-covering unless they’re seated at a table or eating and drinking.  From Monday, the regulations will also require individuals to wear face coverings in communal areas in workplaces such as corridors. We know this raises some questions of where communal areas start and stop and where guidance on food production areas becomes relevant. There is still some detail being worked on and FSS guidance will be updated where required. A reminder that the latest FSS guidance is always to be found here.

Covid Restrictions Fund – small grants

Today, the new grant scheme for businesses directly or indirectly affected by the new hospitality closures will open. Each of the 32 local authorities will manage the funds in their own area. However, the grant levels are very small (£3k if directly having to close, £1.5k if affected by a closure). In addition, though, there is £9 million set aside to support employers with furlough costs (essentially topping up the current scheme to reduce the employers’ contribution). Details on how that will be delivered and who might be eligible have yet to emerge. We’ll share as soon as we know more.

 

Export Markets Update

Benelux

Update on foodservice 

Due to the increase of cases during the month of September, the National Security Council has advised communes and cities to take measures at a more local level to avoid a decision that would impact larger areas, for example, in several communes in Brussels, the number of people allowed at a table in a restaurant is of 5 instead of 10, weddings can only welcome limited guests.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities

The government will grant new financial support for the hospitality business (event, catering…). The amount will be between 5000€ to 25000€, depending on the size of the business.

Even if the number of cases is continuously growing, the government is counting on everyone to comply with the measures such as distancing, the number of people we meet…

A new “Trace & Track” App has been created to alert you if you have been in close contact for more than 15 minutes and at less than 1.5m with an infected person. The government encourages everyone to download this app but it is not mandatory. There is also the possibility of taking a paid leave if your child is not allowed to go to school due to a quarantine issue.

France

Update on food service

The government has announced new support measures for restaurant, cafe and hotel owners. Aid from the solidarity fund will be moved to a ceiling of 10,000 euros to cover loss of turnover. Partial unemployment “supported at 100% ” is extended until December 31st for the hotel, restaurant and tourism sectors. 

In a press release, Caterers of France trade body evokes this new blow to a sector already severely affected. Since the beginning of the crisis, the association has recorded, for its members, more than €126 million in cumulative turnover losses at the end of December 2020, a drop of 77% compared with 2019. Since May, only 2,000 receptions have been organised, compared with 10,000 in normal times.

The research and consultancy firm Food Service Vision is publishing the results of its 4th Strategic Review “Food service & Covid-19” on Wednesday, October 7th. Covering the period from June to the end of September, this new study highlights a real rebound in activity in all segments of the restaurant business (before recent restrictive measures concerning the opening of restaurants). On a global level, the out-of-home consumption market recovered significantly in July and August during which it showed a drop in turnover of “only” 17% compared with the same period in 2019.

Food service has been conditioned by tourist flows. The turnover linked to foreign tourists has fallen with the almost total absence of tourists from non-EU countries. Fast food remains the main driver of the rebound: in the summer of 2020, it accounted for 93% of the summer 2019 sales. It is followed by table-service restaurants (89%), accommodation and self-service restaurants (around 70%) and transport restaurants (56%).

Update on retail

E-retail: The Covid19 health crisis generated the explosion of e-commerce in general and food online sales in particular. According to Kantar’s barometer, online commerce – total goods excluding services – generated 44.5 billion euros in the first six months of 2020. This is a spectacular increase of 13% compared to the first half of 2019 when total online sales peaked at €39.5 billion.

During lockdown, FMCG and self-service fresh food products fared well, with an increase in online spending in this product category of 55% compared to the period from April to June 2019. Large food retailers’ website accounts for 59% of the expenditure made during containment. 

Changes/impact on consumer behaviour

According to the Food Service Vision study, 46% of working people aged 18-24 have reduced their meals at corporate restaurants.

After the first announcements at the end of September of new restrictive measures, the French clearly reaffirmed their support for the sector: 58% of them judged that the regulations imposed on restaurants and bars were “totally unjustified”, these establishments being no more at risk than other outlets.

Freight and logistics issues

Vinci Airports, which operates 45 airports worldwide, has had its health protocol and measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus validated by certification and audit company Bureau Veritas. The evaluation criteria are based on the internal organisation of the airports, their protocols and documentation, as well as on the health measures implemented throughout the passenger journey in the airport areas under the responsibility of Vinci Airports.

The Bureau Veritas Certificate of conformity applies to all airports in the Vinci Airports network located in France,  Portugal and the United Kingdom.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities

The international foodservice industry event SIRHA, originally planned for late January 2021, has been postponed to May29th-June 2nd, 2021. Some events like Restau’Co on collective catering have announced their cancellation/postponement after the new restrictive measures announced by the government.

Germany

Update on foodservice 

Foodservice suppliers in Germany are still struggling because, although bars, cafes, restaurants etc are open, the number of guests allowed in the restaurants is limited to be able to respect distancing rules. Many people also avoid restaurants as they think it is not safe enough.

Foodservice companies only have achieved 55% to 60% of their usual sales. Business focusing on breakfast and food for travel are most heavily hit. Business and conference hotels suffer from missing guests because of cancelled events.

All restaurants, bars, cafes etc must record contact details of their guests (there are also apps used for this) and keep these data for the case of an outbreak. There is a threat of punishment (fines of 250€ !) if guests do not indicate correct names, addresses etc.

Update on retail

From Jan to June German FMCG retail, including fresh products, has increased sales by 13.7%, 9.2% by volume, 4.5% by value.

Consumers have increased their spending on food and drink, young consumers more than older.

Feedback from buyers

Sales for high-protein products have increased by 31.4% from Jan to June 2020

Total food and drink: food plus 14.2% growth Jan to Aug 2020.

Changes/impact on consumer behaviour

Recent studies say that consumers, particularly those working from home, have improved their nutrition. They eat healthier, eat more fresh products and a healthy, balanced diet has become more important.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities

Reduction of VAT from 19% to 16% (food items 7% to 5%) from July until December 2020 did not (yet) bring the effects the Government had hoped for.

The general atmosphere seems chastened as people are afraid of a second lockdown because of an increasing number of cases.

E-Commerce for food and drink has seen significant growth in the last months, up to 56%

Italy

Update on foodservice 

C-19 Restrictions: Bars, Restaurants and caterings allowed to serve food with no additional restrictions up to date. Customers must sign a paper declaring that they have no symptoms; communicate mobile number to be contactable in case any case arise in the restaurant/bar. Few Regions (Campania for instance) have laid down earlier closures (at 11 pm) of foodservice businesses to reduce the risk of contagious.

FIPE: Italian Federation of Foodservice Businesses estimated an impact of 22bn over the sector by the end of 2020. Between April and June 2020 FIPE estimated losses for € 13 bn due to restrictions laid down by the Italian Govt to fight the spread of the virus. In 2019, consumption of food and beverage “away from home” was worth € 85 bn;

Update on retail 

E-grocery: In August 2020, online retail sales registered an increase by +115% compared with August 2019, reaching the record of € 66 m. Over the 12 months, Sep19- Aug20, online retail sales beat the € 1 bn threshold, +90% compared with the same period in 2019. While the august results can be explained with the scarce numbers of Italians who travelled abroad for the summer break (hence remaining home or travelling across Italy), the record of € 1 bn in online retail sales reflects the widespread use of technology also for the daily grocery shopping.

Feedback from buyers

E-commerce: Most buyers report the constant increase of e-com sales observed also after the lift of the restrictive measures. Stakeholders are all convinced that digital sales are going to play a greater role in the future, and this new path is already clear and visible.

Changes/impact on consumer behaviour

Consumption Habits: The experience of the lockdown alongside with the persistent use of smart-working practices across most private and public sector entities seem to have deeply changed consumer’s spent priorities, who now make more extensive use of the house spaces. Observations can be resumed in the following points: higher spent for quality products (premium and super-premium), widespread use of international ingredients and attempts to prepare international dishes at home (mainly Japanese/Asian), improved attention for healthy diets and ingredients, improved use of technology by older generations, decreased importance of the mainstream segment.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities

State of the Economy:

GDP: In recent weeks, the Italian economy has shown timid signs of recovery. An ISTAT (ONS equivalent) analysis dated August 2020 suggests that there is more optimism throughout companies, probably due to the re-opening process, the increase in production, and an increase in export sales (+ 14.4% in June, on a quarterly basis) and imports (+16.1% on a quarterly basis). Nevertheless, the situation of the Italian economy is, and will most likely remain for some time, seriously negative as reflected by the latest forecasts on Italian GDP released by the European Commission (-11.2%) and the OECD (-10.5%);

Trade Performance: ISTAT (ONS Equivalent) released updated figures for Italy’s trade performance with non-EU countries during August. On a monthly basis, exports decreased by 0.3% while imports experienced a considerable increase (+5.1%). In terms of export destinations, it is worth noting that on an annual basis only exports to China increased (+4.8%), whereas sales to all other key trading partners dropped (-11.5% towards the US, -20% to Russia, – 25% to MERCOSUR countries), including the UK (-11.3%). Exports of agri-food products are holding on (+3.5% globally during the period January-July with respect to 2019);

Bilateral trade with the UK has experienced a considerable contraction during the period Jan-July (-14%). UK exports to Italy slightly increased (+2.4%) against a massive drop of imports from Italy (-22.7%), meaning that the UK’s trade deficit has slightly decreased. “Il Sole 24 Ore” (FT equivalent) warned in an article recently that Italian exports to the UK, in particular those ones of food and drink products, might suffer from a potential non-negotiated outcome with the EU which would result in the imposition of import tariffs.

Labour Market: 818.000 Jobs lost in 6 months due to the pandemic (INPS data – National Social Security Board)

Nordics

Update on foodservice 

Denmark: 
A political agreement ensures compensation for bars, cafes and restaurants that are affected by reduced opening hours.  If at least 35% of the turnover has disappeared, compensation can be obtained for 25% of the fixed costs. It is gradually increasing. If the decline is 90%, companies can get 80% compensated. Very small businesses that choose to stay closed for a shorter period of time can get 90% of their fixed costs paid. For independent owners of bars and restaurants, at least 30% of the turnover must have disappeared for at least 14 days before compensation can be obtained. Also, subcontractors who primarily supply to bars and restaurants are entitled to compensation. The compensation is valid until 31 October. However, it can be extended for the rest of the year – and extended to other industries if they are affected by similar restrictions. The agreement applies retroactively from 19 August. DKK 100 million is set aside for further help to the industry. In the coming days, negotiations will take place on how to distribute them. Horesta, the industry association for the hotel, restaurant and tourism industries, is concerned that the government’s help won’t save enough businesses and many more lay-offs are to be expected.

Several institutional kitchens and catering companies have formed a partnership – Frokostordningen – during the corona crisis and have developed their own platform to help the smaller kitchens access the lunch market so that the large catering companies don’t monopolise the market.

The drastic changes in global travel patterns are also affecting aviation suppliers. Gate Gourmet is one of the largest players in Copenhagen Airport and Billund Airport as a food supplier, and it has been hit hard by the covid19 crisis. They lack DKK 130-140 million to survive.

Finland:
Noho Partners, the operator of over 200 restaurants in Finland, stated on Tuesday sept 29th that it would begin consultative negotiations with its 1,300 staff members to align its operations to the restrictions announced by the Finnish government. The restaurant industry giant expects the negotiations to have an indirect impact also on its roughly 2,000 temporary agency employees.

Update on retail 

Several retail chains have decreased their prices, like the Meny chain in DK.

Denmark: 
Denmark local food – Sept 28th: Local Danish products from small innovative producers are now available to Danes across the country, since Coop.dk MAD has just opened the online store ‘Taste of Denmark’. With the opening, customers’ demand for local Danish goods will be met, and it will be easier for Danes to support the small Danish producers.

Feedback from buyers

Local companies selling to HORECA and hospitality are stressed, afraid and discouraged. People who used to work free-lance have shifted to employed jobs. A number of small businesses/buyers won’t survive.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour 

Denmark:
Danish consumers shop in fewer shops and buy more locally. They buy less products on sale. The chains must therefore focus more on the fixed prices of the goods.

e-commerce: The increase in online shopping under corona is, among other things, driven by older Danes’ increased purchases. A record number of Danes have shopped online on Danish and foreign webshops, Statistics Denmark says. In a study, 79% of all Danes between the ages of 16 and 74 say that they have shopped online within the past three months, and that is 7% more than in 2019, where the number was 74%. The number of Danes who shop online will take a significant leap upwards in 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, there have been 220,000 new internet shoppers, which is the largest number of new internet shoppers since 2007, according to Statistics Denmark. In the period 2019-2020, online shopping has increased the most among the older part of the population. Among the 70-74-year-olds, the number of people who had shopped online increased by 16%, which is the highest relative growth seen in all age groups#.

Sweden: 
e-commerce: Significant growth but more modest development than during the Spring and Summer. Most traded products are beauty and fashion. Growth in e-commerce landed at 25% in August and 77% of Swedes e-shopped during the month, according to the E-barometer from Postnord. Postnord notes that consumption was quieter and that sales in e-commerce, after the good growth months of April to June, have returned to levels approaching the time before the pandemic.

Norway: 
Norway food waste reduced after the corona outbreak, according to a survey; more surplus food is being saved by the food centres.

Norway local food: A survey conducted by Respons shows that Norwegians think it is important that Norway is as self-sufficient in food as possible. Norwegians shop more locally after the Corona closure, according to a survey from Mastercard.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities 

Denmark:
the UK removed Denmark from its quarantine exemption list, and Denmark added the UK to its “banned/orange” list.

FoodTech trade show – Sept 29-Oct 1 – got cancelled days before opening. It is now scheduled for Fall 2022.

Sweden:
bankruptcies: In September this year, 43 retail companies went bankrupt, compared with 59 in the same month last year. That is a decrease of 27%, according to statistics from UC. So far this year, January to September, 536 companies in the retail trade have collapsed compared to 529 during the same period last year, which is an increase of 1%.

Spain

Update on foodservice:

The Juntos con la Hostelería platform made up of Hostelería de España, Fiab and Aecoc, warns that nearly 125,000 hospitality establishments could close if the ERTEs (furlough) are not extended, which would mean the loss of 40% of the hospitality business.

Update on retail

Despite COVID, investment in the Spanish retail industry was close to 1 billion euros in the first part of 2020. This represents an increase of 75% compared to the same period last year where it reached 550 million. Between April and June 2020, investment in supermarkets alone reached 200 million euros (Knight Frank report).

Middle East

Update on foodservice:

This sector is slowly picking up, as consumers are now more confident to eat out and with tourists starting to visit the country (mainly Dubai, UAE).

Many hotels now opening again, after being closed for more than 3-6 months.

Showing positive signs, although the assumption is that this sector will be back to full swing only by 1st Oct 2021, in line with Expo.

Update on retail:

Retail is going strong however sales have now normalised (after a massive peak in sales in the last 6 months)

E-commerce still on the rise, although now retailers seeing a lot of footfall in their stores too (as people are getting confident to shop from stores)

E-commerce platforms such as Kibsons and Seafood Souq doing very well and still experiencing a sharp increase in sales every month. 

Changes/impact on consumer behaviour

Consumers now going back into supermarkets and buying instead of just relying on e-commerce / online shopping.

13th October

Important change to advice for manufacturers
The main change in advice to food and drink manufacturers is a new requirement for face coverings to be worn in communal, indoor areas (e.g. corridors, canteens). The latest FSS guidance is here.

 

Export Markets Update

Canada

Update on foodservice 

Restaurants Canada have continued to lobby the Federal Government on extending relief to the industry during the next session of Parliament just beginning. They noted:

  • Total foodservice sales in Canada could drop by nearly half in 2020, representing $44.8 billion in lost sales compared to 2019.
  • Roughly 10 per cent of foodservice businesses have already permanently closed due to the impacts of COVID-19 and most are still losing money. More than half of respondents to a survey that Restaurants Canada conducted during the summer said they are continuing to operate at a loss and expect to take at least a year to return to profitability.

They have proposed a similar scheme to the UK’ Eat Out to Help Out’ as a support solution in a package of other measures. Take out and delivery have performed strongly over the last 6 months and as quarter 4 begins, this pace is set to increase as patios shift to colder weather.

Changes/impact on consumer behaviour

In response to a recent Restaurants Canada survey:

  • 87% of Canadians said restaurants are doing a good job keeping their customers safe.
  • 86% said they don’t want province-wide shutdowns of indoor dining when COVID-19 cases increase in their communities.
  • 92% of respondents said restaurants are an important part of their community.

USA

Update on food service

The industry is at a pivotal point in the US. There remains plenty of uncertainty, even six-plus months in. A testy election awaits less than 30 days away. Regulations and restrictions continually change. 

According to industry management platform Restaurant365, which has a customer base of 10,000-plus restaurants, closures rose to 60 % in mid-April (not permanent necessarily). As of September 20, the percentage stood at 13.6 %, reflecting reopenings. 

If we turn the calendar back to March 1, takeout accounted for 18% of total industry sales, Restaurant365 said. Within a mere 23 days, it skyrocketed to 70%.

Takeout sales hovered in the 67–70% range through April 30 (minus a dip to 57% on Easter Sunday). It then trended steadily downward to 30% by September 20. The upward-downward phenomenon was inversely impacted by outdoor dining. As the latter lifted in summer, the former declined. It illuminates what could come next if dine-in recovers.

Restaurants have continued to push Congress for more direct aid and appear to be gaining ground with the latest Heroes Act proposal, which includes a $120 billion fund for the industry.

A study from The National Restaurant Association found 40% of operators think it’s unlikely their restaurant will still be in business six months from now if there are no additional relief packages from the federal government.

China

Update on foodservice 

According to China Smart Food Service & New Retail Alliance, following 3 trends are vital for post-Covid foodservice development in China:

1.    Digitalization based on big data to guide foodservice operation and decision making;

2.    The integrity of dining-in, takeout, pickup and new retail service to realize consumption possibility for all consumption scenery, all sales channels, all age group consumers, all time and all product categories;

3.    Industrialization of foodservice supply chain.


Changes/impact on consumer behaviour
A few trends continue to impact consumers after COVID-19 in China which are heavy social buying behaviours influenced by social media, especially among young professional female consumers for healthy leisure/packaged food products, accordingly to Food and Beverage Innovation Conference 2020 organized by Foodaily.

Freight and logistics issues 

Finnish logistics company launches new N Europe-China rail freight service

Last week, Finnish transport company Nurminen Logistics launched a new rail freight route between Finland’s capital Helsinki and Chongqing, a major city in Southwest China. The new route also includes a branch line connecting the Norwegian town of Narvik and Chongqing via Helsinki.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities 
Importance of Food and Drink product innovation was emphasized by various consulting agencies in recent meetings/calls.

Hong Kong

Update on food service 
Starting from 18th Sept, each table can accommodate 4 people max. in the restaurants, and each table should be effectively partitioned.

During the four-day Mid-Autumn Festival holidays, some F&D industry expressed that on 1st Oct, the revenue of the restaurants in HK reached HK$0.28billion (which was HK$70million less than last year). According to The Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades Limited, due to social movement, the business of F&D industry during Mid-Autumn Festival holiday was HK$0.35billion in 2019 (which was HK$50million less than that in 2018); yet the business further declined to HK$0.28billion this year.

The HK Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades also stated that around 8% of the revenue (around HK$8billion) is contributed by tourists

Update on retail 
Wellcome supermarket will roll out HK$120 million (US$15.4 million) worth of sweeteners, including cash coupons, meal vouchers and cash donations to the needy while keeping the price of 300 daily necessities unchanged for 6 months.

ParknShop supermarket pledged that it would offer HK$40 million worth of food coupons to about 200,000 people, including needy families, the elderly and the disabled, with HK$200 vouchers to be budgets per person in October.

Feedback from buyers
Sales from supermarket has slightly dropped from the peak

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Go out dinning and shopping more often than last 2 months

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities

  • Seafood Expo Asia which had planned to move to Singapore from Hong Kong will go entirely online and become SEA Reconnect, it’ll include B2B matching and live conferences. It will be held on 17th – 19th Nov.
  • Starting from 18th Sept, each table can accommodate 4 people max. in the restaurants, and each table should be effectively partitioned. 

Japan

Update on food service 

  • Go To Eat campaign. Kicking off in October 2020, by the Japanese government to boost consumer spending. Go To Eat encourages people to dine out by offering them “discounts” (or savings) of up to 25%. To make that happen, a number of restaurants are being subsidized by the Japanese government.

Update on retail 
Supermarket sales in Japan have remained good condition

Feedback from buyers

  • It is hard to start doing new business with new items/partners without visiting the market
  • importers are keen to see if there is latest information on FTA between UK and Japan

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour 

Point-based rewards: A different way that customers will be able to save money on eating out is by booking certain restaurants online, which will give them ¥500 (from lunches) to ¥1,000 (from dinners) in points when they pay after their meal.

Freight and logistics issues 

The freight rate remains high, and lots of businesses are suffering but the number of flights has been recovering little by little

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities 
Japan’s parliament has elected Yoshihide Suga as the country’s new prime minister

Singapore

Update on food service 
Maximum group bookings for restaurants remains at 5 people with potential for increase to 10 in November

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities 
Green lanes for business travel established with Brunei, South Korea, Japan, China and MalaysiaOpen travel lanes for all travellers from New Zealand and Brunei and less restrictive policy for Australian travellers

30th September

Marine Scotland has launched some surveys on the impact of COVID-19 on marine sectors.
 
There are surveys for fisheries and aquaculture businesses . The surveys can be found here 
 

Export Markets Update

Canada

Update on food service – Summer has proved to be good for operators. While a number of chains have reduced outlets or shed significant loss-making outlets, neighbourhood and suburban outlets have done better than CBD located outlets. As we move into autumn, patio seasons will start to close and will significantly affect how operators continue to balance in dining vs at home. Continue to see further menu simplification and direct delivery options as operators move steadily towards revenue recovery. We move into a traditionally busy quarter Sept-Dec with major holidays, but in the main markets of Ontario and Quebec, restaurants and hotels are on limited seating. Small hotels have had a strong summer with staycations. On a macro level the Canadian federal and provincial level Governments continue to support with CERB stimulus –and support to average foodservice workers remains steady, the programme may soon end as the cost mounts. Hotels and resorts are recovering in key markets and have performed better than usual in smaller jurisdictions across the country as Canadians stay home and stay local. Provincial rates are relatively low, less than 200 cases daily in Quebec and Ontario which count for 755 of all new cases.

Update on retail – Canadian retail has had a solid 2 quarters and smaller format operators are looking at new neighbourhood sized sites. Strong sales in packaged goods, consumer staples, frozen products. Fresh counters have reopened. Costco and larger formats have had double digit growth. 

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour – Masks are a mandatory norm and grocery delivery has accelerated strongly with all main grocery chains experiencing large growth. Pricing remains stable except for some meat items such as beef, which has gone up and chicken, whose price collapsed.

Hong Kong

Update on food service – Starting from 11th Sept, food service outlets are allowed to provide dine-in services in the evening. But the maximum number of customers per table remain to be 4, and effective partitioning should be applied between tables. Bars are remained closed until further notice.

Update on retail – •According to Census and Statistics Department, HK’s retail sales shrank 23.1% (Y-O-Y) in July, and consumer spending dropping to HK$26.5 billion in July. Most categories recorded a contraction compared to the same period last year, but supermarkets continued to outperform with a 26.5% surge in sales in July (which could probably due to the worries over wet markets after infection clusters were reported at some premises)

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour – More people are going out shopping at shopping malls. The biggest online shop, HKTV Mall announced that the monthly GMV on order intake in August reduced 13.5% monthly, or surged 126.2% yearly, to $536 million.

Freight and logistics issues – Until Aug 2020, the total passengers handled in the last 8 months were 8.5 million (-83.2% Y-O-Y) while the air traffic movement was 114,000 (-60.1% Y-O-Y-). As for the total cargo throughput, it fell 9% (Y-O-Y) to 2.8million tonnes

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities – All public services resumed from 15th Sept • HK schools resume face-to-face classes from 23rd Sept • Until 13th Sept, over 1.7 million people registered the Universal Community Testing Programme for free Covid-19 testing, and over 1.6 million samples had been tested, in which 26 of them were tested positive for Covid-19 

Benelux

Update on food service – Since September 1, new measures have been brought back by the Government in this sector due to the increase of infections. Extension of the terrace has pushed until December. Numbers in the social bubble has gone back down to 5 people so this means only tables of 5 are allowed in restaurants and bars. And the closing time is still 11pm. Clubs have not been allowed to reopen.

Update on retail – Due to the increase of new infections in the middle of the summer, the retail sector had to go back to certain rules such as wearing a mask and shop with only one other person. There are almost no more reports from the retail medias on covid expect for a strike that started a few days ago at AB-Inbev as several employees were infected by Covid and requested the closing of the production. Also, the government had announced at the end of August that we can now shop with another person.

Feedback from buyers – Buyers are still very reluctant to introduce new products but Covid not the only reason, the Brexit negotiations are bringing and increasing uncertainty as we are coming closer to a deal that doesn’t look favourable.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities – Number of infections is at 750 per day, with 30 hospitalisations and 2 deaths per day in average. Most trade fairs have been postponed to 2021 or turned into virtual events.

Nordics

Update on food service – Denmark bankruptcies: Despite the corona crisis, the number of bankruptcies remains stagnant. According to economists, the government’s financial aid packages have postponed a possible wave of bankruptcies – if it comes at all. However, the number of jobs lost in hotels and restaurants has more than doubled.

Update on retail – Denmark online trade: Although the corona crisis shaved off billions of travel purchases, the Danes’ online consumption in the first half of 2020 rounded DKK 74.7 billion and thus set a new record. The record is due to changed consumption habits and not least an explosive increase in sales of groceries, hand alcohol and hobby projects. Coop group online food retail: The DK retail group Coop has doubled its online sales since the start of the corona crisis, and the growth is far from over. In three years, the market will be four times larger than today, assesses the director of Nemlig.com.
Sweden: relief for Swedish border shops when Norway allowed passage of tourists and shoppers into 6 Swedish regions.
Norway Retail chain Kiwi cut prices for the third time, to “give back to customers”. The third time included over 130 items until October 3. The price cut is between 10% and 35%.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour – Danish consumers have a Nordic record in online shopping during the corona pandemic.Thus, almost 8 out of 10 Danish consumers have made one or more online purchases during the pandemic, but this applies to only 72% in Sweden, 66% in Norway and 67% in Finland, shows a new study, Nordic Consumer Trends, which has been conducted by PwC and Norstat. Grocery purchases represent the largest change in consumer behavior, and almost half 46%) of consumer in Scandinavia state that they have used more online channels to shop for groceries. Especially people who are + 75-year will keep on buying groceries online. As many as 63% of those who now shop online reply that they will continue to buy groceries online. For the 24-39-year-olds, this applies to 43%. According to the survey, 31% of the Danish consumers who have taken advantage of more online shopping during the corona pandemic expect that they will continue to use online channels for shopping in the future. This applies to 27% in Sweden, 29% in Norway, and 35% in Finland. As more sectors now approach normalcy, cultural life and tourism are still suffering.
 
Norway: hand sanitizer products are expected to remain in use in retail and the service industry after Corona.
Norway consumer behaviour: Nielsen Norway has looked at sales development for the grocery market in the corona period from 9 March to 9 August. Not surprisingly, people have shopped for more groceries in Norway while restaurants and canteens have been closed. Strict travel control measures have also affected cross-border trade and travel abroad. Some food categories were apparently sales winners, while others had lower growth. ”During the pandemic, we have so far seen a relative decline in demand for products that are typically enjoyed on the go”, says communications manager Gunnar Portvik in Nielsen to NTB. “Less money is invested in fresh small dishes such as small breads and sushi, while the growth that muesli bars had has been reversed to a decline”. Sales of portion packs, for example with yoghurt, have also declined during the pandemic. This development is apparently in stark contrast to the trend in recent years where snacks have had an enormous growth, a trend referred to as “snacking”, where it has become common to eat and drink between main meals without actually being hungry or thirsty, just because you want something, preferably something a little healthy.”

Freight and logistics issues – Finland- The number of passengers at Helsinki Airport plummeted by 87% year-on-year to around 270,000 in August. Passenger numbers began to grow noticeably in July but the growth was thwarted by the re-introduction of strict travel restrictions by the government in mid-August. Connections that are crucial for the national economy as enablers of not only tourism but also export promotion trips and other forms of business travel are all but completely non-existent. Helsinki Airport also recorded a dramatic year-on-year drop of 93% in one its most important passenger segments – transit passengers – and a fall of 54% in the volume of freight in Aug. Finavia, the state-owned operator of airports in Finland, reported that in August its airports recorded a year-on-year decline of 85% in passenger numbers to 328,600. The number of passengers that passed through the airports during the eight seven months of the year stood at 5.6 million, signalling a drop of 68% – or almost 12 million – from last year. Helsinki Airport could be at risk of losing its status as a popular transit airport if the crisis set off by the coronavirus pandemic drags on. “With the passenger numbers this low, Finland is losing jobs and revenue. Air travel has enormous multiplier effects on the tourism, service and construction industries, among others”.
Any other comments / challenges / opportunities – Overall a relative surge in infections across the region, especially in Denmark. Sweden still has the most deaths and very few measures to limit social interaction and business activities.
Denmark government financial aid: The government approved a new aid package for companies that are forcibly closed or affected by border closures, travel restrictions or assembly bans. The companies can receive support until 31 October. If there are still restrictions after the end of October, the parties behind the agreement agree to extend the aid – however, for a maximum of the rest of the year. 
Denmark employment trend: As a consequence of the corona crisis, 4 out of 10 of the largest danish companies expect to have to lay off employees in the coming months.
In response to a surge in infections, Denmark has twice introduced regional measures to restrict social interaction.
These measures will negatively affect bars, restaurants and cafes all while their business conditions are already stretched.
The latest measures will cost the HORECA and hospitality industry DKK 100-200 mio, according to the HORESTA organisation.
Copenhagen area and Odense – the assembly ban is lowered to 50 from 100 people in 18 municipalities.Bars and restaurants, which would otherwise have been allowed to extend the opening hours in phase 4 of the reopening, must again close at midnight (instead of 2 am) in the 18 municipalities. 
Sept 15th – Additional measures which will apply to the Greater Copenhagen Area from 17 September until 1 October:
Bars, cafes and restaurants
• Must close at 10pm (midnight for the rest of the country).
• Face mask requirement for customers and serving staff when not seated (e.g. when queuing for the bathroom).
• Increased focus on 1m distancing and requirement to post signs on maximum guest capacity.
Private events and football matches
• Encouragement to end private events and parties at 10pm.
• Weddings, confirmations and other special occasions that are already planned can still be held if they end at 10pm and Health Authority recommendations are followed.

Chancellor’s announcements on financial support
The main headline from the Chancellor was a replacement for the furlough scheme. To be frank, it looks problematic and potentially ineffective for businesses that have severe revenue shortfalls, due to the requirement for employers to pay for hours not worked by their employees. It is not the most straight-forward scheme to understand, but this factsheet is a useful summary:

Alongside the new jobs support scheme, other announcements included:

  • A self-employed grant will be extended on similar terms as this new support scheme
  • A “pay as you grow” scheme to allow companies more time to repay bounce back loans (over 10 years rather than 6)
  • Those struggling to pay loans back will now be able to choose to make interest-only repayments or could suspend repayments altogether for up to six months
  • VAT will remain at 5% for hospitality and tourism until 31 March 2021 (a 3 month extension)
  • The deadline for taking out a coronavirus business interruption loan (CBILS) will be extended until 30 November, with the government guarantee on them extended for up to 10 years

Download the new Test & Protect app in Scotland
The new app to assist with identifying contacts of Covid-19 positive cases launched yesterday (Thursday). In the first 12 hours, over half a million people across Scotland downloaded it. We would encourage everyone to do so. The links to download it onto your phone and an explanation of how it works (including issue of privacy and data management) are all available here.
It takes roughly two minutes to set up on your phone.

Funding Support for Remote Training in Scotland’s Seafood Industry 
There is still a very limited amount of funding support available for seafood companies to undertake training. Full details of the courses can be found here

Production Staff Wanted
There is a growing number of companies throughout Scotland making contact with vacancies within their operations. If any companies are making redundancies or knows of anyone looking for employment can they please contact enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

22nd September

Export Markets Update

France

Update on food service
• Due to the still active circulation of Covid-19 in Paris, which is classified as an “active virus circulation zone”, the Paris city hall team will “exceptionally” extend the extension of the terraces of the pubs and restaurants in the Parisian public space until June 2021. “The extension and the free of charge taxes of terraces until June 2021 is maintained given the extent of the crisis that has hit the sector,” said Anne Hidalgo. This measure includes the closing of terraces at 10 pm and the limitation of noise pollution for local residents.
As of Wednesday, September 9th, bars and restaurants in the North department are required to close their doors from 12:30am until 6am to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. This announcement by the prefecture concerns, for the moment, the next 15 days.

Update on retail
• Following a first half year that was heavily impacted by the health crisis, the Conseil National des Centres Commerciaux (national council for shopping centres) is showing a turnover performance of 93% of the same month in 2019. Also, over the cumulative first seven months of the year, the same index stands at 70% compared to last year, bearing in mind that sales were non-existent, except for those of hypermarkets and pharmacies, for two months due to the confinement of the shopping centre (from 15 March to 11 May).
• Auchan’s sales declined by -7% in France during the first half of the year. Covid-19 has accentuated the difficulties of the French hypermarket brand and the voluntary redundancy plan launched at the beginning of the year will have cost the company 80 million euros. On a comparable shop basis, the sales performance is not bad: +0.8%. The health crisis has however upset the brand’s balance, favouring supermarkets and e-commerce to the detriment of hypermarkets, and has also caused fuel sales to plummet. Acc

E-retail
• The Covid19 health crisis generated the explosion of e-commerce in general and food online sales in particular. According to Kantar’s barometer, online commerce – total goods excluding services – generated 44.5 billion euros in the first six months of 2020. This is a spectacular increase of 13% compared to the first half of 2019, when total online sales peaked at €39.5 billion.
• During lockdown, FMCG and self-service fresh food products fared well, with an increase in online spending in this product category of 55% compared to the period from April to June 2019. Large food retailers’ website account for 59% of the expenditure made during containment.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
• According to a study published by Rakuten Advertising, 82% of French people have no intention of cutting their Christmas budget. 41% would even be ready to increase it to please their loved ones. Even in the worst-case scenario of a reconfinement, 1 in 2 French people would not want to change their budget. Monthly household expenses have been largely impacted by Covid-19. Consumer purchasing habits have adapted to the new recommendations. Thus, 39% of French people say that their current expenditure has increased with the Coronavirus epidemic and containment, particularly for food (35%), on-line entertainment (45%) or electronics (30%).

Freight and logistics issues
• Vinci Airports, which operates 45 airports worldwide, has had its health protocol and measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus validated by certification and audit company Bureau Veritas. The evaluation criteria are based on the internal organisation of the airports, their protocols and documentation, as well as on the health measures implemented throughout the passenger journey in the airport areas under the responsibility of Vinci Airports.
The Bureau Veritas certificate of conformity applies to all airports in the Vinci Airports network located in France, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

General
• New hospitalisations also continuing to increase, with 447 on September 13th (including 64 new cases in ICU). Positivity rate (PCR) is up to 5.4% nationally and 42 departments are now classed as ‘red zones’ based on the incidence rate being above 50/100k (as well as other indicators).
The self-isolation period will be reduced from 14 to 7 days.
• France unveiled a €100bn domestic recovery plan, whose objective is to bring the economy back to its pre-Covid levels by 2022. The plan prioritises the environmental transition, competitiveness, and regional/social cohesion, addressing the short-term consequences of Covid but also longer-term economic challenges. Implementation will be key to restore confidence and strengthen Macron’s economic credentials ahead of his re-election bid in 2022.

Spain

Update on food service
According to Hosteleria de Espana, FIAB and AECOC, it is estimated that of the 300,000 establishments in the hospitality sector, around 65,000 will go out of business by the end of the year. Currently 40,000 have already closed. This is very worrying as it contributes 6.2% to the GDP of the Spanish economy.

Update on retail
Carrefour has purchased Supersol chain in Spain (172 stores) for 78 million Euros.
The sales of products from small producers and agricultural cooperatives of Catalonia in Caprabo during the first eight months of the year have increased by 15% compared to the same period of the previous year. This data represents an increase even more pronounced than that registered in the global one for 2019, which resulted in a rise of 6.5%, reaching 31.3 million euros.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
The mass consumer market experienced an atypical second quarter due to the confinement which translated into an unusual growth of 9.1% in Spain. In fact, of the five major European economies, Spain was the one that grew the most, according to the Nielsen “Growth Reporter” report.

Middle East

Update on food service
• Although hotel occupancy is still very low, restaurants and café are doing well now, mainly during the weekends.
Food service is driven by tourism, especially in the UAE. Now that tourists have started coming in, although very few, food service sector has started showing signs of recovery.
• Experts believe it would not be until Sept 2021 when tourism and food service sector fully recover.

Update on retail
• Going strong, with retailers now looking at health & wellness category more closely.
• Most opportunities lie in the retail sector until the end of 2020.
• E-commerce at a rise, although most of that sector is controlled by traditional retailers who now have their own e–commerce offering.

Feedback from buyers
• Food service buyers not very keen to look at new products and prefer to maintain or grow sales of existing brands in their portfolio, unless something unique is offered to them which is hard to resist. retail buyers keen on looking at health & wellness offering from Scotland; however, price is key and just because a product ticks the right boxes doesn’t mean they should be ridiculously expensive.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
• Seafood sector (food service and retail) and retail / grocery sector are where at the moment the opportunities seem to be. We are in discussion with several retailers and seafood buyers to hold virtual events with them.

USA

Update on food service
Summer has proved to be a mixed blessing for operators. A number of chains have moved to chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, shed significant loss-making outlets, and or have sought financing. Ghost kitchen growth has accelerated – the predicted 5 year growth curve is happening now. We move into a traditionally busy quarter Sept-Dec with major holidays. New York City, arguably one of the largest foodservice markets in the US and the world announced in dining at restaurants will open from Sept 30 at 255 capacity with mandatory masks. This will be the first opening since March indoors. The US federal and state level Governments continue to support with trillions of dollars of stimulus – however support to average foodservice workers remains patchy. Hotels and resorts are recovering in key markets and have performed better than usual in smaller jurisdictions across the country as Americans stay home and stay local. All this with the backdrop of a US presidential election.

Update on retail
Retailers continue to perform generally strong in MoM / YoY sales particularly larger chain grocery, where consumer staples such as packaged, can goods and consumer durables continue to drive sales. However, this has come at a critical point for manufacturers who can’t keep up supply resulting in key SKU’s such as soups, sauces, personal care items and consumer staples which have gone ‘on allocation’ ie rationed supply.

Feedback from buyers
Buyers are generally cautious except for where they are seeing strong demand – value added frozen seafood, canned goods and packaged goods, certain fresh items. Meat production issues have dogged supply in a number of states and prices have risen.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Consumer sentiment remains cautious, given that unemployment rose sharply in April, May and then US economy began adding back jobs as lockdown eased. With continued high rates in many states and rising, consumers are adopting to new ways of buying and more in-home cooking. However, with the ongoing Presidential race and the threat of more traditional retail businesses closing, the landscape is still very mixed.

Freight and logistics issues
Volumes continue to recover albeit slowly in transatlantic air movements with airlines reporting around 50-60% capacity back from pre COVID levels. Internal domestic freight continues to move as essential. US / Canada border remains closed to all non-essential travel, but freight continues to move cross border in US Canada and US-Mexico.

China

Update on food service
There is no newly reported local COVID-19 cases in China for more than two weeks and restaurants and food service in Xinjiang has resumed partially. Urumqi city of Xinjiang still have a few existing cases; As more consumers order food deliveries after COVID-19, food delivery service partner fee rise heavily in past few months in China and the cost must be bared by foodservice sector and general consumers. It is said that some highest food delivery fee rates charged by Meituan APP have gone to 30% of order value. According to the survey data from the China Chain Stores Association, 67.6 percent of respondents said they would plan to improve digitalization, transform their supply chains and actively embrace new retail models, while 19.7 percent said they would try to use unmanned equipment or empty restaurants.

Update on retail
China launched a month-long campaign across the country to promote consumption to consolidate the recovery in spending. A total of 179 cities across the country will participate in the upcoming event, organizing more than 2,800 key activities. Such events will integrate online and offline commercial activities and involve 100,000 companies. Also, the registration of new instant/convenience food companies in China have increased 98% in Q2, according to QCC.com The development of Hainan Free Trade Port is drawing a much-desired blueprint for locals, tourists and business people. Hainan has become one of the hottest tourist destinations, as the COVID-19 epidemic is now mostly subdued domestically, and travel restrictions were lifted in large parts of the country. 

Salmon Buyers feedback from Global Salmon Summit on 26 August in Shanghai that they have basically recovered about 30% of normal import volume as of now.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
A few trends continue to impact consumers after COVID-19 in China which are heavy social buying behaviours influenced by social media, especially among young professional female consumers for healthy leisure/packaged food products, accordingly to Food and Beverage Innovation Conference 2020 organized by Foodaily.

Freight and logistics issues
China’s rail freight transport volume, a broad indicator of economic activity, rose 7.3 percent year-on-year in August, according to the China Railway Corporation. The cost of air freight from China to Europe, the US and Japan are rising as China takes the lead in resuming production after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Japanese news website nikkei.com’s Chinese edition reported on Aug 24.

Japan

Update on food service
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government lowered its coronavirus alert status. Requests for bars, restaurants and other eateries in the capital to close at 10 p.m. to avoid possible cluster-causing late-night crowds, which have been in place since early August, ended on 15th Sep.

Update on retail
Supermarket operators in Japan intend to win the loyalty of online customers by offering diversified services, in response to demand from people staying at home. One of the biggest supermarket chain Aeon Co. started a full-scale service in which customers are able to receive items that they order online via a drive-through system. They are able to pick up the products whenever they can, as long as it is during store hours.

Feedback from buyers
After the state of emergency in April, business for Hotels / Restaurants has plummeted and has not yet recovered. The hotel occupancy rate from April to June this year was 20-30%, but now it has recovered to 30-40%. Sales to the retail industry such as supermarkets are going well, but there is not much advertising to avoid the store becoming crowded Because of no promotion activity, luxury products are not selling very well. the sales of online supermarkets are steadily expanding.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Cashless payments gain more although Japan has long been known for having cash-preferring consumers and businesses

Freight and logistics issues
Currently, passenger flights from Europe are not operating normally, so importers are using freight flights because the freight rate of freight flights is high, lots of businesses are suffering.

Singapore

Update on food service
Grand Hyatt Singapore pivoting its business to include online ready meals and an online supermarket including the hotel’s produce items. Majority of bars and night venues remain closed and forecast to be so until end 2020. Hotel staycations continue to be popular with local residents.

Update on retail
Retail trading well with major grocery chains reluctant to pass on higher supply chain costs to shoppers during COVID

Feedback from buyers
Retail sales remain strong with foodservice showing some signs of recovery

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Consumers looking to optimise healthy diets with a new focus on plant-based meat substitutes and seafood as protein sources
 

Furlough discussions

The end of the furlough scheme in October is looming and talks have intensified around any successor arrangements. The Chancellor has been clear that the furlough scheme will end, but with the very real prospect of re-imposed restrictions and localised or sector interventions affecting business, there is a growing sense that some targeted form of support – along the lines of furlough – will have to emerge. We will share any insight on further discussions as they emerge. Similar schemes in France and Germany have already been extended.

Download the new Test & Protect app in Scotland
The new app to assist with identifying contacts of Covid-19 positive cases launched yesterday (Thursday). In the first 12 hours, over half a million people across Scotland downloaded it. We would encourage everyone to do so. The links to download it onto your phone and an explanation of how it works (including issue of privacy and data management) are all available here.
It takes roughly two minutes to set up on your phone.

Funding Support for Remote Training in Scotland’s Seafood Industry 
There is still a very limited amount of funding support available for seafood companies to undertake training. Full details of the courses can be found here

Production Staff Wanted
There is a growing number of companies throughout Scotland making contact with vacancies within their operations. If any companies are making redundancies or knows of anyone looking for employment can they please contact enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

15th September

As we know we are coming to the end of the transition period and come the 1st January we will become an independent coastal state. A lot of information is in the public domain and a lot of organisations are issuing guidance. Seafood Scotland has set up a Brexit Working Group and will work through the key issues with stakeholders and provide all the information you require to continue to trade on the 1st January 2021. Over the coming weeks Seafood Scotland and other key stakeholders will work together to provide easy to follow guidance, webinars and a forum to highlight issues and concerns that are not being addressed or where there is no clear guidance.

In the blue box below you will see the guidance that has been produced by Scottish Government Brexit team for anyone wanting to access further information. We will be breaking this information down over the coming weeks for key subjects.

The very first step companies should be doing if they haven’t already done so is the Check, Change, Go survey here which will highlight any gaps in your preparations. 

COVID 19

Export Markets Update

France

Impact / update on food service – Since the application of new health and safety rules on 13 August, several pubs and restaurants have been subject to administrative sanctions. Some establishments have been sanctioned for receiving too many customers, for not having sufficiently enforced barrier measures, for allowing people not to wear protective masks. French tourism interests are concerned. More than 150 establishments open to the public are said to have been forced to close their doors temporarily for a period of 15 days to three weeks. This is notably the case in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, with more than 30 establishments affected. Tourism Minister Lemoyne announced yesterday that the furlough scheme will remain in place and available to the tourism sector (hotels, restaurants, tourist venues) until December to help support the struggling sector. The national furlough scheme covering all sectors – including tourism – is set to end in September, however tourism has been singled out for an extension given its current difficulties.

Impact /update on retail – While many industrialists fear a price war in September, panellist Iri indicate, in their latest report, that for the last 5 months, the prices of consumer goods have already been falling. The return of deflation that began in June was confirmed in July with prices still falling. This deflation can be seen above all on national brands. In July 2020, the price of frequently purchased goods decreased by 0.1% in hyper and supermarkets. According to the latest Fox Intelligence Barometer, the food delivery sector – which is multiplying its alliances with the retail sector – is returning to a strong level of growth. After having recorded a 32% drop during confinement, the players in the field are now exceeding their 2019 level.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour  – According to an Ifop poll for AliExpress, published on 8 July, e-commerce is gaining ground over physical commerce after the health crisis. 48% of consumers surveyed prefer to make their purchases online rather than in stores despite the end of confinement.

Specific local Government support for F&D industry / companies – •the PM announced the furlough (chomage partiel) scheme will be extended an additional month and remain open to all businesses in its current form / under the same conditions until 1 November ‘at least’ and beyond that for two year for certain firms/sectors covered by a long term furlough scheme. He cited the forthcoming €100bn economic relaunch / recovery plan and said it will particularly benefit SMEs and be adapted locally. It will also comprise an export support feature for the international level of growth. The PM confirmed that production taxes will be lowered in France from 1 January of up to €10bn / year.

Freight and logistics issues – Brittany Ferries has announced line suspensions and schedule changes post-August due to a fall in demand given UK quarantine on arrivals from France. 35,000 ferry passengers have cancelled/delayed their travel plans according to the company. 50,000 passengers with existing bookings are expected to be affected by these changes.The current health crisis is believed to have advanced the growth of e-commerce by 2 to 3 years. However, delivery companies have to deal with ever increasing volumes. Already under strong pressure, they are warning about a breaking point around the end of the year.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities – The main risk facing France is the prospect of a second wave, which the French system is planning for extensively and expects to hit as the country returns to work in the autumn. Figures from 26/8 show a post-lockdown record number of daily new cases (+5,429) as the Government’s message focuses on the need “to learn to live with the virus” ahead of the return to school and work next week. There are currently 340 clusters being investigated in France. Paris, Bouches-du-Rhone (Marseille), Gironde, Guyane, Hauts-de-Seine, Herault, Loiret, Rhone, Sarthe, Seine-Sainte-Denis and Val-de-Marne departments are on a heightened level of alert – though some think these regions have inflated figures due to a) testing at their airports; and b) their inhabitants getting tested while on holiday (and registering with their home postcodes).
• The Government has announced stricter measures in affected areas:,Prime Minister Castex said mask wearing would become compulsory everywhere in Paris in the coming days – as it is already is in Marseille. As of 26/9, bars and restaurants in Marseille also have to close between 23H-6H.
Further measures have been taken in businesses and workplaces, which includes compulsory mask wearing in all workplace meeting rooms, corridors and open spaces with working from home continuing to be recommended where the virus is in active circulation.

Italy

Impact / update on food service – Govt Restrictions: on 16 August 2020, Italian Minister of Health Roberto Speranza issued a new Ordinanza with more restrictive measures following an increase in Covid-19 infections: the closure of discos and night clubs and the compulsory use of face-masks between 6pm and 6am in outdoor public spaces, squares and places where risks of gatherings and social distancing would be an issue. Up to €1,000 fines for businesses that do not respect new govt measures.
Impact /update on retail – Nielsen Data: According to Nielsen, retail sales stop the growing trend showed during and after the months of the lockdown (9 march – 18 May). Between the 29th of June and the 26th of July, data shows a drop by 3.2.% in retail sales compared with the same period in 2019, heavenly spread across the whole national geography. In terms of store format, speciality stores confirm their leadership in the post lock-down months with a +6.9% while discounts (-0.8%), independent stores (-5.5%), Hypermarkets (-5.4%) and supermarkets (-2.8%) report a decline on sales during the summer months till end of July. Nielsen pointed out that sales trends data is partially distorted by lack of international tourism and improvement of domestic travel during the summertime, more reliable data will be available in the coming months.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour – Consumption habits: Consumption of food and drink “Away from home (afh)” resumed in Italy after the loosening of the restrictive measures and the re-opening of Bar and restaurants at the beginning of June. An interview carried out by the consultancy agency “Trade Lab” showed that, after the lift of the restrictions, 8 out of 10 Italian had a meal “Away from Home” but, interestingly, what has clearly changed are the habits, reflected on the time when customers eat “away from home”. The research showed that there is a net preference for breakfast and Dinner, while less Italians have lunch “afh”, probably due to the extensive use of smart working put in place by companies and Public Sector.

Specific local Government support for F&D industry / companies – Govt support Digitalization: ITA is currently focused on digitalisation in order to exploit innovative channels to facilitate placement of “made in Italy” exports all over the world. After launching a comprehensive “Pact for Export” in June, ITA are now ready to launch “Exhibition Smart 365”, a new platform that will be made available to companies and private hosts to organise online business exhibitions. Govt support E-commerce: Moreover, Italian Trade Agency have targeted e-commerce as a key area for development: Italian “online” exports grew from 17% to 23% of total sales abroad and ITA are committed to further increase this share through a number of agreements with e-commerce platforms all over the world (by the end of 2020 agreements will have grown from 12 to 25). ITA is signing agreements with key platforms such as Amazon, Ocado, AliBaba. The aim is to allow Italian SMEs to reach the world average penetration rate of online sales (14%) starting from current 6%. Govt Support Internationalization of SMEs: ITA chairman Calo Ferro explained, “50% of Italian exports are made by SMEs, 20% of which have less than 20 employees”. Those enterprises often lack internal resources to develop far-reaching internationalisation activities, therefore ITA’s action is crucial to increase their presence abroad. The “Pact for Export”, launched earlier in June this year, strengthens the resources allocated to support the TEM programme. Temporary Export Managers are professional export advisers who are directly trained by ITA. After attending the ITA Master programme on Business Internationalisation, the TEMs will be included in a public roster which will be made available to eligible companies. These will be able to hire TEMs for up to 6 months in order to be supported in putting in place their internationalisation activities

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
State of the Economy: According to ISTAT, Italy’s industrial production keeps recovering after the lockdown. Activity increased by 8.2% in June on a monthly basis with particularly positive performance on consumption goods (+9.8%) and intermediate goods (+9%), which is a positive signal of the reactivation of key supply chains where Italy is included. Unfortunately, data remain negative on a quarterly basis, with a 17% drop in Q2 with respect to Q1 of 2020 and -13% on a y-o-y basis. Most affected sectors, in particular tourism and car manufacturing, are starting to show some signs of a partial recovery. 
Tourism: In August, according to the National Institute for Tourism (ENIT), 8 out of 10 available accommodations have already been booked for August. However, this figure does not consider that many tourist facilities have remained closed because of lack of foreign visitors. 87% of Italian B&Bs fully booked until 24 August, mostly because of domestic tourism, with international tourism dropping by 90% in July. The season will close with 51 million fewer tourists (-44%). Furthermore, €500m made available in grants to help businesses in the 29 towns hit by the absence of foreign visitors. Exhibitions: As per the new guidelines, govt allows on 07 August 2020 cruises and trade exhibitions to resume, wearing face masks. 

China

Impact / update on food service A nationwide “Clear Your Plate “campaign is gaining steam online. Media outlets, government agencies, social organizations and internet influencers have joined the online relay of messages against food waste. Efforts to stop food waste and promote thrift are also being made by catering firms and restaurants that have been urged to create an environment in which consumers are reminded to not waste food. They are also encouraged to offer different portion sizes so that customers can have more choices.

Impact /update on retail – A Nielsen report on shopping centre in China was published in August saying that over 60% shopping malls they have investigated claim to over 50% consumer reduction after Covid and about 40% shopping malls say their Q1 turnover declined by 30-50%. Retail sales of grain, oil and food reached 745.35 billion yuan ($107.85 billion), up 12.9 percent from a year ago. 

Feedback from buyers – Import Supermarket Chain buyer has suspended business discussions with all salmon exporters after mid-June. Other Scottish salmon buyers also highlight the difficulty of distribution in food service and high-end retail channels due to consumer confidence breakdown over seafood led by fear of contacting coronavirus. One Salmon Buyer now recover to import 30% of his normal volume of salmon and expect market recovery from end of 2020. The buyer has confidence of branded Scottish salmon product winning premium market in China for coming years. 

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour – Consumer confidence in China towards seafood hit new low now following COVID-19 breakout in Beijing (June) and Dalian (July). The recent COVID-19 outbreak in Dalian, Liaoning province, could have been triggered by imported sources. 

Grocery Buyer Feedback – there are consumers who are concerned if UK products are shipped after Covid-19 breakout; some smaller distributors feedback that domestic brands are more popular than imported brands this year.

Freight and logistics issues – China has adopted a new policy on airport slot allocation for cargo flights to boost the country’s air logistics industry. It is the first slot allocation policy specifically designed for cargo flights and will be implemented starting from Oct 25, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The new policy is aimed at increasing the daily utilization of cargo airplanes and airport facilities, improving China’s international air cargo capacity, and strengthening the competitiveness of its aviation logistics sector. China sees improvement in air cargo capacity – Chinese and foreign airliners carried 2,390 scheduled cargo flights every week in June. The figure represented a 135.7-percent increase compared with the number of flights before the COVID-19 pandemic, and a 203.3-percent increase from that in mid-February.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities – Challenges: • Consumer’s negative perception on imported Seafood • Cancellation of China Fisheries & Seafood Expo in Qingdao Opportunities: • Instant Seafood snacks market size in China is estimated at RMB 50 billion with over 70% targeting consumers female • Health & Wellness Food including Sugar free drinks, Low/Non-Alcohol Beer, and health supplements, etc

General situation Scotland
Containment of the virus has been deteriorating in the last fortnight. In part, rising cases can be attributed to greater testing. Hospital admissions and deaths remain low. However, the R rate – whilst not the sole indicator of the success of disease management – is still rising. It may be as high as 1.5 now in Scotland. The daily case average has risen from 14 cases a day (six weeks ago) to 52 cases a day (three weeks ago) and is now at 155 cases per day. As a result, the First Minister confirmed last Thursday that Scotland would not move to Phase 4 of unwinding lockdown.

Current restrictions and timetable for change
A new restriction on people meeting up has been introduced. That, alongside other changes, are summarised below:

From Monday 14 September

  • No more than 6 people from two different households can meet socially, either indoors or outdoors. However, under 12s do not count in this limit. Some limited exemptions do apply.
  • Face coverings are mandatory in hospitality venues for both staff and customers when not eating or drinking

Other restrictions:

  • In addition to the general restriction on gatherings being introduced on Monday, people living in Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire are not to visit other households at all. Full detail of restrictions in these areas is available here
  • Working from home remains the default position and that advice will not change before 1 October.

Full details of the latest restrictions are available here.

Download the new Test & Protect app in Scotland
The new app to assist with identifying contacts of Covid-19 positive cases launched yesterday (Thursday). In the first 12 hours, over half a million people across Scotland downloaded it. We would encourage everyone to do so. The links to download it onto your phone and an explanation of how it works (including issue of privacy and data management) are all available here.
It takes roughly two minutes to set up on your phone.

Guidance for food and drink businesses in managing Covid risks and potential outbreaks
SF&D hosted a very helpful meeting this week with industry partner organisations, Food Standards Scotland and the Scottish Government’s Test and Trace team. The meeting was to discuss issues arising from recent outbreaks of Covid-19 linked to food businesses across the UK and what additional steps businesses and the authorities could take to reduce risks in the businesses and prepare for any potential outbreaks. Further discussions will be held in the coming days and we will share key findings and messages for businesses as soon as they are ready.

Kickstart Scheme – the “30 problem”
Last week’s update shared the details of the newly launched UK Government Kickstart Scheme which provides fully funded placements of unemployed 16-24 years for 25 hours a week, for six months.  This week we have been involved in a number of meetings with UK Government departments discussing the minimum threshold of 30 placements that companies require to make available to apply directly to the scheme. 
For companies that would only be able to offer less than 30 placements (in other words, just about every food and drink business in Scotland), they must work through an intermediary. Discussions this week have focussed on establishing an intermediary to support individual businesses in our sector that wish to take advantage of what is a good, potential scheme. At the moment, there are no registered intermediaries, but SF&D is looking at that option itself, alongside other organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce.  In the meantime, if you wish to register interest in offering a placement, you can contact the local DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) office via scotland.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk.

Skills Case Studies
Scotland Food & Drink partnership Skills Board work, are creating new skills case studies. They will focus on how investment in skills and training can boost companies’ resilience. The idea is to show how this helped them during Covid (or other challenges, it doesn’t need to be Covid specific) and makes them better equipped to deal with other challenges, past or future. If any companies have a story to tell and would like to feature in a case study please let us know at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

Production Staff Wanted
There is a growing number of companies throughout Scotland making contact with vacancies within their operations. If any companies are making redundancies or knows of anyone looking for employment can they please contact enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

 

The weekly updates are back. These updates will be on a Tuesday and whilst there will be COVID 19 updates and information, these updates will also focus on Brexit.

As we know we are coming to the end of the transition period and come the 1st January we will become an independent coastal state. A lot of information is in the public domain and a lot of organisations are issuing guidance. Seafood Scotland has set up a Brexit Working Group and will work through the key issues with stakeholders and provide all the information you require to continue to trade on the 1st January 2021. Over the coming weeks Seafood Scotland and other key stakeholders will work together to provide easy to follow guidance, webinars and a forum to highlight issues and concerns that are not being addressed or where there is no clear guidance.

In the blue box below you will see the guidance that has been produced by Scottish Government Brexit team for anyone wanting to access further information. We will be breaking this information down over the coming weeks for key subjects.

The very first step companies should be doing if they haven’t already done so is the Check, Change, Go survey here which will highlight any gaps in your preparations. 

COVID 19

Export Markets Update

France

Impact / update on food service – Since the application of new health and safety rules on 13 August, several pubs and restaurants have been subject to administrative sanctions. Some establishments have been sanctioned for receiving too many customers, for not having sufficiently enforced barrier measures, for allowing people not to wear protective masks. French tourism interests are concerned. More than 150 establishments open to the public are said to have been forced to close their doors temporarily for a period of 15 days to three weeks. This is notably the case in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, with more than 30 establishments affected. Tourism Minister Lemoyne announced yesterday that the furlough scheme will remain in place and available to the tourism sector (hotels, restaurants, tourist venues) until December to help support the struggling sector. The national furlough scheme covering all sectors – including tourism – is set to end in September, however tourism has been singled out for an extension given its current difficulties.

Impact /update on retail – While many industrialists fear a price war in September, panellist Iri indicate, in their latest report, that for the last 5 months, the prices of consumer goods have already been falling. The return of deflation that began in June was confirmed in July with prices still falling. This deflation can be seen above all on national brands. In July 2020, the price of frequently purchased goods decreased by 0.1% in hyper and supermarkets. According to the latest Fox Intelligence Barometer, the food delivery sector – which is multiplying its alliances with the retail sector – is returning to a strong level of growth. After having recorded a 32% drop during confinement, the players in the field are now exceeding their 2019 level.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour  – According to an Ifop poll for AliExpress, published on 8 July, e-commerce is gaining ground over physical commerce after the health crisis. 48% of consumers surveyed prefer to make their purchases online rather than in stores despite the end of confinement.

Specific local Government support for F&D industry / companies – •the PM announced the furlough (chomage partiel) scheme will be extended an additional month and remain open to all businesses in its current form / under the same conditions until 1 November ‘at least’ and beyond that for two year for certain firms/sectors covered by a long term furlough scheme. He cited the forthcoming €100bn economic relaunch / recovery plan and said it will particularly benefit SMEs and be adapted locally. It will also comprise an export support feature for the international level of growth. The PM confirmed that production taxes will be lowered in France from 1 January of up to €10bn / year.

Freight and logistics issues – Brittany Ferries has announced line suspensions and schedule changes post-August due to a fall in demand given UK quarantine on arrivals from France. 35,000 ferry passengers have cancelled/delayed their travel plans according to the company. 50,000 passengers with existing bookings are expected to be affected by these changes.The current health crisis is believed to have advanced the growth of e-commerce by 2 to 3 years. However, delivery companies have to deal with ever increasing volumes. Already under strong pressure, they are warning about a breaking point around the end of the year.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities – The main risk facing France is the prospect of a second wave, which the French system is planning for extensively and expects to hit as the country returns to work in the autumn. Figures from 26/8 show a post-lockdown record number of daily new cases (+5,429) as the Government’s message focuses on the need “to learn to live with the virus” ahead of the return to school and work next week. There are currently 340 clusters being investigated in France. Paris, Bouches-du-Rhone (Marseille), Gironde, Guyane, Hauts-de-Seine, Herault, Loiret, Rhone, Sarthe, Seine-Sainte-Denis and Val-de-Marne departments are on a heightened level of alert – though some think these regions have inflated figures due to a) testing at their airports; and b) their inhabitants getting tested while on holiday (and registering with their home postcodes).
• The Government has announced stricter measures in affected areas:,Prime Minister Castex said mask wearing would become compulsory everywhere in Paris in the coming days – as it is already is in Marseille. As of 26/9, bars and restaurants in Marseille also have to close between 23H-6H.
Further measures have been taken in businesses and workplaces, which includes compulsory mask wearing in all workplace meeting rooms, corridors and open spaces with working from home continuing to be recommended where the virus is in active circulation.

Italy

Impact / update on food service – Govt Restrictions: on 16 August 2020, Italian Minister of Health Roberto Speranza issued a new Ordinanza with more restrictive measures following an increase in Covid-19 infections: the closure of discos and night clubs and the compulsory use of face-masks between 6pm and 6am in outdoor public spaces, squares and places where risks of gatherings and social distancing would be an issue. Up to €1,000 fines for businesses that do not respect new govt measures.
Impact /update on retail – Nielsen Data: According to Nielsen, retail sales stop the growing trend showed during and after the months of the lockdown (9 march – 18 May). Between the 29th of June and the 26th of July, data shows a drop by 3.2.% in retail sales compared with the same period in 2019, heavenly spread across the whole national geography. In terms of store format, speciality stores confirm their leadership in the post lock-down months with a +6.9% while discounts (-0.8%), independent stores (-5.5%), Hypermarkets (-5.4%) and supermarkets (-2.8%) report a decline on sales during the summer months till end of July. Nielsen pointed out that sales trends data is partially distorted by lack of international tourism and improvement of domestic travel during the summertime, more reliable data will be available in the coming months.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour – Consumption habits: Consumption of food and drink “Away from home (afh)” resumed in Italy after the loosening of the restrictive measures and the re-opening of Bar and restaurants at the beginning of June. An interview carried out by the consultancy agency “Trade Lab” showed that, after the lift of the restrictions, 8 out of 10 Italian had a meal “Away from Home” but, interestingly, what has clearly changed are the habits, reflected on the time when customers eat “away from home”. The research showed that there is a net preference for breakfast and Dinner, while less Italians have lunch “afh”, probably due to the extensive use of smart working put in place by companies and Public Sector.

Specific local Government support for F&D industry / companies – Govt support Digitalization: ITA is currently focused on digitalisation in order to exploit innovative channels to facilitate placement of “made in Italy” exports all over the world. After launching a comprehensive “Pact for Export” in June, ITA are now ready to launch “Exhibition Smart 365”, a new platform that will be made available to companies and private hosts to organise online business exhibitions. Govt support E-commerce: Moreover, Italian Trade Agency have targeted e-commerce as a key area for development: Italian “online” exports grew from 17% to 23% of total sales abroad and ITA are committed to further increase this share through a number of agreements with e-commerce platforms all over the world (by the end of 2020 agreements will have grown from 12 to 25). ITA is signing agreements with key platforms such as Amazon, Ocado, AliBaba. The aim is to allow Italian SMEs to reach the world average penetration rate of online sales (14%) starting from current 6%. Govt Support Internationalization of SMEs: ITA chairman Calo Ferro explained, “50% of Italian exports are made by SMEs, 20% of which have less than 20 employees”. Those enterprises often lack internal resources to develop far-reaching internationalisation activities, therefore ITA’s action is crucial to increase their presence abroad. The “Pact for Export”, launched earlier in June this year, strengthens the resources allocated to support the TEM programme. Temporary Export Managers are professional export advisers who are directly trained by ITA. After attending the ITA Master programme on Business Internationalisation, the TEMs will be included in a public roster which will be made available to eligible companies. These will be able to hire TEMs for up to 6 months in order to be supported in putting in place their internationalisation activities

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
State of the Economy: According to ISTAT, Italy’s industrial production keeps recovering after the lockdown. Activity increased by 8.2% in June on a monthly basis with particularly positive performance on consumption goods (+9.8%) and intermediate goods (+9%), which is a positive signal of the reactivation of key supply chains where Italy is included. Unfortunately, data remain negative on a quarterly basis, with a 17% drop in Q2 with respect to Q1 of 2020 and -13% on a y-o-y basis. Most affected sectors, in particular tourism and car manufacturing, are starting to show some signs of a partial recovery. 
Tourism: In August, according to the National Institute for Tourism (ENIT), 8 out of 10 available accommodations have already been booked for August. However, this figure does not consider that many tourist facilities have remained closed because of lack of foreign visitors. 87% of Italian B&Bs fully booked until 24 August, mostly because of domestic tourism, with international tourism dropping by 90% in July. The season will close with 51 million fewer tourists (-44%). Furthermore, €500m made available in grants to help businesses in the 29 towns hit by the absence of foreign visitors. Exhibitions: As per the new guidelines, govt allows on 07 August 2020 cruises and trade exhibitions to resume, wearing face masks. 

China

Impact / update on food service A nationwide “Clear Your Plate “campaign is gaining steam online. Media outlets, government agencies, social organizations and internet influencers have joined the online relay of messages against food waste. Efforts to stop food waste and promote thrift are also being made by catering firms and restaurants that have been urged to create an environment in which consumers are reminded to not waste food. They are also encouraged to offer different portion sizes so that customers can have more choices.

Impact /update on retail – A Nielsen report on shopping centre in China was published in August saying that over 60% shopping malls they have investigated claim to over 50% consumer reduction after Covid and about 40% shopping malls say their Q1 turnover declined by 30-50%. Retail sales of grain, oil and food reached 745.35 billion yuan ($107.85 billion), up 12.9 percent from a year ago. 

Feedback from buyers – Import Supermarket Chain buyer has suspended business discussions with all salmon exporters after mid-June. Other Scottish salmon buyers also highlight the difficulty of distribution in food service and high-end retail channels due to consumer confidence breakdown over seafood led by fear of contacting coronavirus. One Salmon Buyer now recover to import 30% of his normal volume of salmon and expect market recovery from end of 2020. The buyer has confidence of branded Scottish salmon product winning premium market in China for coming years. 

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour – Consumer confidence in China towards seafood hit new low now following COVID-19 breakout in Beijing (June) and Dalian (July). The recent COVID-19 outbreak in Dalian, Liaoning province, could have been triggered by imported sources. 

Grocery Buyer Feedback – there are consumers who are concerned if UK products are shipped after Covid-19 breakout; some smaller distributors feedback that domestic brands are more popular than imported brands this year.

Freight and logistics issues – China has adopted a new policy on airport slot allocation for cargo flights to boost the country’s air logistics industry. It is the first slot allocation policy specifically designed for cargo flights and will be implemented starting from Oct 25, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). The new policy is aimed at increasing the daily utilization of cargo airplanes and airport facilities, improving China’s international air cargo capacity, and strengthening the competitiveness of its aviation logistics sector. China sees improvement in air cargo capacity – Chinese and foreign airliners carried 2,390 scheduled cargo flights every week in June. The figure represented a 135.7-percent increase compared with the number of flights before the COVID-19 pandemic, and a 203.3-percent increase from that in mid-February.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities – Challenges: • Consumer’s negative perception on imported Seafood • Cancellation of China Fisheries & Seafood Expo in Qingdao Opportunities: • Instant Seafood snacks market size in China is estimated at RMB 50 billion with over 70% targeting consumers female • Health & Wellness Food including Sugar free drinks, Low/Non-Alcohol Beer, and health supplements, etc

General situation Scotland
Containment of the virus has been deteriorating in the last fortnight. In part, rising cases can be attributed to greater testing. Hospital admissions and deaths remain low. However, the R rate – whilst not the sole indicator of the success of disease management – is still rising. It may be as high as 1.5 now in Scotland. The daily case average has risen from 14 cases a day (six weeks ago) to 52 cases a day (three weeks ago) and is now at 155 cases per day. As a result, the First Minister confirmed last Thursday that Scotland would not move to Phase 4 of unwinding lockdown.

Current restrictions and timetable for change
A new restriction on people meeting up has been introduced. That, alongside other changes, are summarised below:

From Monday 14 September

  • No more than 6 people from two different households can meet socially, either indoors or outdoors. However, under 12s do not count in this limit. Some limited exemptions do apply.
  • Face coverings are mandatory in hospitality venues for both staff and customers when not eating or drinking

Other restrictions:

  • In addition to the general restriction on gatherings being introduced on Monday, people living in Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire are not to visit other households at all. Full detail of restrictions in these areas is available here
  • Working from home remains the default position and that advice will not change before 1 October.

Full details of the latest restrictions are available here.

Download the new Test & Protect app in Scotland
The new app to assist with identifying contacts of Covid-19 positive cases launched yesterday (Thursday). In the first 12 hours, over half a million people across Scotland downloaded it. We would encourage everyone to do so. The links to download it onto your phone and an explanation of how it works (including issue of privacy and data management) are all available here.
It takes roughly two minutes to set up on your phone.

Guidance for food and drink businesses in managing Covid risks and potential outbreaks
SF&D hosted a very helpful meeting this week with industry partner organisations, Food Standards Scotland and the Scottish Government’s Test and Trace team. The meeting was to discuss issues arising from recent outbreaks of Covid-19 linked to food businesses across the UK and what additional steps businesses and the authorities could take to reduce risks in the businesses and prepare for any potential outbreaks. Further discussions will be held in the coming days and we will share key findings and messages for businesses as soon as they are ready.

Kickstart Scheme – the “30 problem”
Last week’s update shared the details of the newly launched UK Government Kickstart Scheme which provides fully funded placements of unemployed 16-24 years for 25 hours a week, for six months.  This week we have been involved in a number of meetings with UK Government departments discussing the minimum threshold of 30 placements that companies require to make available to apply directly to the scheme. 
For companies that would only be able to offer less than 30 placements (in other words, just about every food and drink business in Scotland), they must work through an intermediary. Discussions this week have focussed on establishing an intermediary to support individual businesses in our sector that wish to take advantage of what is a good, potential scheme. At the moment, there are no registered intermediaries, but SF&D is looking at that option itself, alongside other organisations such as the Chambers of Commerce.  In the meantime, if you wish to register interest in offering a placement, you can contact the local DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) office via scotland.kickstart@dwp.gov.uk.

Skills Case Studies
Scotland Food & Drink partnership Skills Board work, are creating new skills case studies. They will focus on how investment in skills and training can boost companies’ resilience. The idea is to show how this helped them during Covid (or other challenges, it doesn’t need to be Covid specific) and makes them better equipped to deal with other challenges, past or future. If any companies have a story to tell and would like to feature in a case study please let us know at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

Production Staff Wanted
There is a growing number of companies throughout Scotland making contact with vacancies within their operations. If any companies are making redundancies or knows of anyone looking for employment can they please contact enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

20th August

Export impact of Coronavirus
The half yearly export statistics were published by HMRC on Wednesday this week. The full regional stats for Scotland won’t be available for a few weeks, however the details of the two largest export sectors – Scotch whisky and salmon – are available. They make predictably grim reading. In the first six months of 2020, Atlantic salmon exports were valued at around £214 million, which is a decrease of £106 million (33%) compared to the same period last year. £1.5 billion worth of Scotch Whisky was exported  in the first six months of 2020, down £683 million (31.2%) on that exported in the first six months of 2019.  The whisky figures are also impacted significantly by the 25% US tariff on malt whisky. 

There are, however, signs of an improving situation for salmon exports as the year has progressed. They were almost 60% down, year on year, for April with the situation improving to just a 10% deficit in June.  However, with a volatile disease situation in Asia and in key European markets such as France, further closures of hospitality and other disruption is likely.

Enquiry regarding Serve the Sea Units
We are a company based in Holland with a purification centre with Agrade water and a wet storage facility with 1,6 mio liters capacity. Our technology (Ocean Perfect system) is patented and consists of containers with seawater circulation of 1,5 cbm of seawater. We call them Serve-the-Sea Units. These SSU’s are also operational (in beta prototype) with a battery with a lifespan of 66 hours for the aeriaton system.
 
This means we will be able to move goods in groupage loads throughout Europe, either for packing or for direct delivery to the customers concerned.

We are currently having a battery powered SSU doing a trial from Tarbert through Bellshill into Boulogne s/ Mer.

If this enquiry is of interest and you would like more details please contact enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

Selling Seafood Direct to Consumers? Want to Increase your ‘Net Income’?
With increasing numbers of consumers accessing fresh seafood online, locally and at the quayside, how do you ensure they know where you are and what you have to offer?

For businesses that want to increase their customer base, Seafood Scotland has worked with three consumer directories to create a one-stop listing process so that consumers can find your business more quickly, and with less hassle for you and your team.

By visiting www.seafoodscotland.org/scotland-local seafood sellers can submit a single application which will see their business listed, for free, with Scotland Food and Drink ‘Support Local’ directory, Seafish’s ‘Fish is the Dish’ and ‘Fish on Friday’, all reaching hundreds of consumers every day.

To register details of your business and start marketing your offering to a broader audience, just visit the website and complete the form – we’ll do the rest!

By-Product Opportunity
A company based in France who would like to connect with fish processors in Scotland as they are looking to access fish by-products.
 
SCALE is a young company whose aim is to produce bio-sourced materials from by-products of the fishing industry.
 
Their first material, SCALITE, is 100% made from fish scales. This stone like material degrades rapidly in a natural environment so as to cause no harm to ocean ecosystems. It is delivered in the form of small sheets or tiles for interior applications such as wall covering, furniture or home accessories.
 
The company currently use Salmon and Sardines scales, and they are looking to scale up and bring the supply to 4 tonnes/months by the end of the year and 15 Tonnes the year after. The scales should have minimal foreign elements in them ( no heads, bones, guts etc.), minimal water content (within reason typically 60 to 70%, less is best), and be delivered to Brittany in frozen block of 10 to 15kg.
 
If you feel this may be of interest or you would like to discuss this opportunity further, please contact: enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

New funding to support youth employment
You may be hearing of new Government funding mechanisms to support young people into work, given the unemployment crisis arising from Coronavirus. The UK Government has announced a £2 billion “Kickstart” programme to fund six-monthly placements of 16-24 year olds at risk of long term unemployment. Details are sketchy as they are still to be worked out, but it looks like the scheme will start in November 2020 and run to Spring 2022.  It will provide full funding for 25 hours work per week at minimum wage, as well as funding for other business support costs. The individual taking the placement will have to be currently out of work and it is designed to create new employment/placement opportunities, not meet existing needs. In addition, the Scottish Government has announced £60m in a ‘Youth Job Guarantee’ scheme. Again, details are yet to emerge, but the principle is that every 16-24 year old in Scotland will have the opportunity to be in paid employment, training or education – with funding to assist that. We will share more info as and when it emerges.

 

Coronavirus Information Hub

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance 
The Digital Development Loan is open for applications for companies who wish to improve their digital capabilities and capacity. More details here.

>> Business help

Zero Waste Scotland has launched an online matchmaking service aimed at rescuing food that would otherwise be wasted, by connecting suppliers with surplus produce and organisations that will benefit from it. Find out more.

>> Insights, webinars & guides

Workforce
>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> HR & Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

A workforce portal has been developed by Skills Development Scotland to connect those looking for work with those needing additional workforce. All you need to do is fill in a quick online form with some details about your vacancy.

10th August

COVID-19 spikes Impact on Markets

We have seen in recent weeks export markets picking up – in particular Europe with increasing orders, food service in the UK starting to re-open with encouraging signs of growth. Asian markets had opened back up. With spikes happening again in a number of countries we will start to feel the impact of these with a reduction in orders again. In China the government are (wrongly) linking COVID cases to imported seafood and are advising all consumers not to eat raw seafood. In Hong Kong they are on their third spike and lock down again of restaurants and bars.  Across Europe we are seeing spikes and local lockdowns are occurring and countries being removed from the air corridor deterring tourists from holidaying in these countries. Seafood relies on tourism in Europe to pay the premiums of our Scottish seafood. In the UK too we are now experiencing local lockdowns with the closure of bars and restaurants. These coming months are going to be volatile and difficult for the sector. We will be bringing a series of webinars to the sector looking at recovery and opportunities in various markets and will be announcing these dates soon.

China Seafood Expo 2020

This year’s China Seafood Expo in October has been cancelled.

Selling Seafood Direct to Consumers? Want to Increase your ‘Net Income’?

With increasing numbers of consumers accessing fresh seafood online, locally and at the quayside, how do you ensure they know where you are and what you have to offer?

For businesses that want to increase their customer base, Seafood Scotland has worked with three consumer directories to create a one-stop listing process so that consumers can find your business more quickly, and with less hassle for you and your team.

By visiting www.seafoodscotland.org/scotland-local seafood sellers can submit a single application which will see their business listed, for free, with Scotland Food and Drink ‘Support Local’ directory, Seafish’s ‘Fish is the Dish’ and ‘Fish on Friday’, all reaching hundreds of consumers every day.

To register details of your business and start marketing your offering to a broader audience, just visit the website and complete the form – we’ll do the rest!

By-Product Opportunity

A company based in France who would like to connect with fish processors in Scotland as they are looking to access fish by-products.
 
SCALE is a young company whose aim is to produce bio-sourced materials from by-products of the fishing industry.
 
Their first material, SCALITE, is 100% made from fish scales. This stone like material degrades rapidly in a natural environment so as to cause no harm to ocean ecosystems. It is delivered in the form of small sheets or tiles for interior applications such as wall covering, furniture or home accessories.
 
The company currently use Salmon and Sardines scales, and they are looking to scale up and bring the supply to 4 tonnes/months by the end of the year and 15 Tonnes the year after. The scales should have minimal foreign elements in them ( no heads, bones, guts etc.), minimal water content (within reason typically 60 to 70%, less is best), and be delivered to Brittany in frozen block of 10 to 15kg.
 
If you feel this may be of interest or you would like to discuss this opportunity further, please contact: enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

Staff Vacancies

We have a number of companies who are unfortunately downsizing their workforce due to COVID 19 and the restart of production. If any companies have staff vacancies can they please contact me donna.fordyce@seafoodscotland.org and we will pass on CVs. Likewise if you are unfortunately having to let staff members go please put them in touch and we will pass on their CVs.

Changing guidance for food and drink businesses

There is now a pattern of regular updates to the core Food Standards Scotland guidance for food and drink businesses. The document is always found at this link if you need the latest version.  Many of the changes are to reflect the implementation of the different phases of easing lockdown. This week, for example, there is new advice with regards to employees that were previously shielding.
It is worth emphasising again, that as clusters of Covid cases arise, adherence to this FSS guidance (and associated risk assessment) is the best tool to mitigate disruption in the business. In many cases, the actions of the workforce outside the business presents the biggest risk of an outbreak impacting the workplace. 

Aberdeen restrictions

The first localised reintroduction of restrictions was announced on Wednesday due to a worrying outbreak of Covid-19 cases. With a high likelihood of other disease outbreaks, it provides a model of what a localised approach could look like if required elsewhere. As of 5pm on Wednesday evening, the restrictions in the Aberdeen city area include:

  • All indoor and outdoor hospitality venues are closed
  • As general advice, no-one outside of the city should visit Aberdeen
  • Residents should not visit other households
  • Residents must not travel more than 5 miles for leisure

A full breakdown for the restrictions is available here. They will be reviewed 7 days after their introduction.

Changes facing hospitality, including face coverings

Changes have been announced today (Friday) on a number of rules which relate to hospitality. From next Friday, it will be a legal requirement for hospitality businesses to collect customer details to support the test and trace process. This is a change from what was previously just guidance. There will be an update to guidance for venues issued next week and we will share that when available. In addition, advice to the general public on the use of face coverings has been extended to most indoor, public places. For example, it will now include take-away food outlets, libraries, museums and places of worship. It will also be encouraged in restaurants and other eating establishments for when customers are moving about within them and not eating. 

Countries covered by quarantine rules

Another area of regular change is to the list of countries that requires 14 days of self-isolation after visiting. There is a long exemption list of countries that you can travel to without having to quarantine when you return. However three countries – Belgium, Andorra and the Bahamas – were removed from the list this week. If you or your staff want to see the latest countries exempt from quarantine requirements, you can find it here. It is worth bearing in mind that changes are introduced almost immediately, so if you are travelling abroad, it is highly likely you may have to quarantine on your return.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance 
The Digital Development Loan is open for applications for companies who wish to improve their digital capabilities and capacity. More details here.

>> Business help

Zero Waste Scotland has launched an online matchmaking service aimed at rescuing food that would otherwise be wasted, by connecting suppliers with surplus produce and organisations that will benefit from it. Find out more.

>> Insights, webinars & guides

Workforce
>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> HR & Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

A workforce portal has been developed by Skills Development Scotland to connect those looking for work with those needing additional workforce. All you need to do is fill in a quick online form with some details about your vacancy.

24th July

Selling Seafood Direct to Consumers? Want to Increase your ‘Net Income’?

With increasing numbers of consumers accessing fresh seafood online, locally and at the quayside, how do you ensure they know where you are and what you have to offer?

For businesses that want to increase their customer base, Seafood Scotland has worked with three consumer directories to create a one-stop listing process so that consumers can find your business more quickly, and with less hassle for you and your team.

By visiting www.seafoodscotland.org/scotland-local seafood sellers can submit a single application which will see their business listed, for free, with Scotland Food and Drink ‘Support Local’ directory, Seafish’s ‘Fish is the Dish’ and ‘Fish on Friday’, all reaching hunderds of consumers every day.

To register details of your business and start marketing your offering to a broader audience, just visit the website and complete the form – we’ll do the rest!

By-Product Opportunity

A company based in France who would like to connect with fish processors in Scotland as they are looking to access fish by-products.

SCALE is a young company whose aim is to produce bio-sourced materials from by-products of the fishing industry.

Their first material, SCALITE, is 100% made from fish scales. This stone like material degrades rapidly in a natural environment so as to cause no harm to ocean ecosystems. It is delivered in the form of small sheets or tiles for interior applications such as wall covering, furniture or home accessories.

The company currently use Salmon and Sardines scales, and they are looking to scale up and bring the supply to 4 tonnes/months by the end of the year and 15 Tonnes the year after. The scales should have minimal foreign elements in them ( no heads, bones, guts etc.), minimal water content (within reason typically 60 to 70%, less is best), and be delivered to Brittany in frozen block of 10 to 15kg.

If you feel this may be of interest or you would like to discuss this opportunity further, please contact: enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

Funding for Scottish Seafood businesses for Training

The Scottish Seafood Training Network is pleased to announce the release of further training funds for August 2020.

Scottish seafood business wishing to benefit from the ongoing funding support from the SSTN should submit an expression of interest form to onshore@seafish.co.uk.

The SSTN will start to allocate applications received by the 31st July (and later) on the 7th August.  Funding released as part of this round will be used for training carried out in August and September 2020.

For more information visit this SSTN webpage.  A full list of supported programmes is available here as a pdf.

Webinar – Export Health Certificates Online

We are delighted to have partnered with DEFRA to offer a webinar session to go over the process of applying for Export Health Certificates online.

Following our exit from the European Union, you will need a completed Export Health Certificate (EHC) for all consignments. Anything going through an EU border will require an EHC from 1st January 2021.

Date: Tuesday 4th August 2020
Time: 2pm – 3pm

To register for this webinar please click here

Once registration is complete you will receive joining instruction on how to enter the Webex session.

Staff Vacancies

We have a number of companies who are unfortunately downsizing their workforce due to COVID 19 and the restart of production. If any companies have staff vacancies can they please contact me donna.fordyce@seafoodscotland.org and we will pass on CVs. Likewise if you are unfortunately having to let staff members go please put them in touch and we will pass on their CVs.

Next steps in phase 3 of easing lockdown

Whilst the further re-opening of hospitality – including indoor and outdoor areas of pubs and restaurants – has been welcome, the events sector remains mostly locked down. The restart of the events is also built into phase 3 but the current assumption has been that there will be no restart before 31 July.  We are expecting further information on the remaining elements of phase 3 next Thursday (30 July). Given people can now gather for food and drink inside and outside of pubs, the hope is that small events, with distancing, may get the greenlight very shortly.
Furlough scheme changes

Changes are being implemented monthly under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. A reminder that there is a calculator available on the HMRC website to help you calculate what is claimable. You will find that here (which also connects to the other rules around the scheme).
Registration for the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ Scheme

The new UK Government scheme which will provide for a 50% discount on food sales in eateries will start on 3 August (and run until 31 August). If you have a hospitality side to your business which serves food and you want to offer this discount to customers, you need to register your premises for the scheme. You can do that here.

The scheme is open to a wide variety of establishments that serve food in-house. However, it isn’t open to those just doing takeaway nor mobile food facilities.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance 
The Digital Development Loan is open for applications for companies who wish to improve their digital capabilities and capacity. More details here.

>> Business help

Zero Waste Scotland has launched an online matchmaking service aimed at rescuing food that would otherwise be wasted, by connecting suppliers with surplus produce and organisations that will benefit from it. Find out more.

>> Insights, webinars & guides

Workforce
>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> HR & Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

A workforce portal has been developed by Skills Development Scotland to connect those looking for work with those needing additional workforce. All you need to do is fill in a quick online form with some details about your vacancy.

17th July

 

Webinar – Export Health Certificates Online

We are delighted to have partnered with DEFRA to offer a webinar session to go over the process of applying for Export Health Certificates online.

Following our exit from the European Union, you will need a completed Export Health Certificate (EHC) for all consignments. Anything going through an EU border will require an EHC from 1st January 2021.

Date: Tuesday 4th August 2020
Time: 2pm – 3pm
 
To register for this webinar please click here
 
Once registration is complete you will receive joining instruction on how to enter the Webex session.
 

Staff Vacancies

We have a number of companies who are unfortunately downsizing their workforce due to COVID 19 and the restart of production. If any companies have staff vacancies can they please contact me donna.fordyce@seafoodscotland.org and we will pass on CVs.

Updated guidance for food business operators and their employees  

Food Standards Scotland has updated their guidance for food and drink manufacturers to reflect recent changes. Following reports of outbreaks of Covid-19 in food production facilities in the UK and Europe, the updated guidance further emphasises the need to consider physical distancing and hygiene measures for employees in shared spaces out with the working environment, including staff accommodation, transport facilities and communal areas such as canteens, rest rooms and smoking areas.  

The guidance has also been updated to include the new measures that apply to pubs and restaurants. It provides details of appropriate risk mitigation measures that should be applied to businesses who wish to be exempt from the 2 metre physical distancing rule permitted for hospitality and retail.  

Click here to read the full guidance.  

Test and Protect 

The First Minister has stressed again this week the importance of collecting contact details from customers or visitors to support the Test and Protect strategy. The gathering of this information is designed to assist NHS Scotland to identify and contact individuals who may have been exposed to the virus, and request them to take appropriate steps to prevent the potential onward spread. To provide further clarity for businesses, the Scottish Government has issued multi-sector guidance here.  

Finally, two other updates to note. Guidance to help small and micro businesses re-open safely has been published here, and HMRC has issued a reminder that Self-Assessment taxpayers can automatically defer their July payment on account. To make this as hassle-free as possible customers will not need to contact HMRC to defer their payment  – they opt into the deferral by simply not paying their tax bill due by 31 July 2020. More information here

 

Coronavirus Information Hub

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance 
The Digital Development Loan is open for applications for companies who wish to improve their digital capabilities and capacity. More details here.

>> Business help

Zero Waste Scotland has launched an online matchmaking service aimed at rescuing food that would otherwise be wasted, by connecting suppliers with surplus produce and organisations that will benefit from it. Find out more.

>> Insights, webinars & guides

Workforce
>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> HR & Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

A workforce portal has been developed by Skills Development Scotland to connect those looking for work with those needing additional workforce. All you need to do is fill in a quick online form with some details about your vacancy.

9th July

Spain and North America Webinar

Interested in the Spanish and North American export markets? Seafood Scotland and Scottish Development International will be delivering a webinar on seafood opportunities in Spanish and North American markets. This webinar is designed for all Scottish seafood companies who are looking to increase export or are interested in exporting to these markets.

The event will take place on the 14th of July at 2 pm (GMT)

For more information and to register please click here.

Markets Update

Benelux

Update on food service
The National Security Council met on 24 June to discuss and agree the next phase of the exit strategy. The agreed measures can be seen below:
From 1 July:
– The social bubble of 10 people can be expanded to 15 people. Everyone is therefore allowed to see 15 people, and this group can change each week.
– Public events are allowed again. Indoors there is a maximum limit of 200 people (for example in theatres and cinemas), outdoor events can receive 400 people. From 1 August, this number may increase to 400 people indoors and 800 people outdoors, but only in case the epidemic continues to decline and after approval by the regions and the task force. An exception can be made for places where the public can sit and where social distancing can be guaranteed. The PM insisted that this only applies to public events, and that people are not supposed to invite 200 people to their homes.
– Shopping: it will no longer be obligatory to shop alone, and shopping visits will be allowed to last longer than half an hour. People will still have to respect the social distancing measures.

Update on retail
According to Nielsen, during the week 25 of the crisis, the growth of sales seems to stabilize in the grocer shops. It has not exceeded 3% in Belgium and 5.9% in NL which is the lowest since the beginning of the crisis. The lack of bank holiday that week and the fact that bars and restaurant have reopened can explain this drop.

Shortage of small pink shrimps in Belgium as the Moroccan factories can’t produce because of Covid restrictions.
 Aldi has just introduced a new “Sustainable” Logo on its products to how the efforts they make. They have the ambition to reduce their CO2 emissions by 40% by 2021
Creation of a new concept in Delhaize of fine food/Deli counter called Mr. George, like what is done in Waitrose and Wholefood. They are hoping to attract a new type of customer with more specific needs and happy to pay the price. Also, Delhaize announced they want to open 30 new stores in 2020 in Belgium.

France

Update on food service
• The reopening of restaurants and bars is accompanied by the introduction of a number of sanitary measures which it is up to the restaurant owners to take.
• Town halls and prefectures are threatening to sanction hospitality establishments, following the example of Corsica’s Prefecture, which recently announced that several establishments had been summoned for failing to comply with the deconfinement protocol.The insurance group Axa’s director Thomas Buberl announced on June 30th that the company had reached a settlement with several hundred restaurateurs to compensate “a substantial part” of their operating losses related to the Covid-19 crisis. The food service sector “represents 20,000 contracts out of our seven million policyholders and our 300,000 business contracts in France. Very few of them were insured against the risk of operating loss without damage. For them we have put in place extra-contractual solidarity measures,” Thomas Buberl said at the group’s general meeting.

Update on retail
Activity in shopping centres is intensifying (according to the Quantaflow/CNCC index). Shopping mall attendance has now reached 84% of what it was at the same time a year ago. The reopening of cinemas on June 22nd and the start of sales on July 15th should consolidate this recovery.
• The Conseil du Commerce de France (CdCF), French retail and trade council, welcomed the government’s announcements to support local shops and help them return to pre-crisis levels of activity, notably through the introduction of the solidarity fund and state-guaranteed loans during the crisis, but also measures to support companies’ cash flow with reductions and exemptions from social security contributions.

Feedback from buyers
• Attended a meeting with the Brittany regional council and the number one concern for their local companies is a no deal Brexit and the lack of clarity around the impact on food&drink import/export.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
• Reworld MediaConnect conducted a survey on the impact of deconfinement from May 27 to June 8, 2020.
Regained freedom was accompanied by a massive return to physical stores (75%) with 2 clearly expressed motivations: the pleasure of shopping and the will to support local trade.
After forced and utilitarian purchases that dominated during the confinement, the French consumers turned to fun and indulgence. Garden items, fashion, cars, hygiene-beauty are the products that have progressed the most since the deconfinement.
• According to a recent Opinion Way poll for Rakuten, the health crisis is driving the French to change their online consumption patterns towards the second-hand market. 74% of interviewees say they are ready to give up buying new products, particularly technological ones.
• The YouGov study for Too Good To Go1 on the new eating habits of the French reveals that 1 in 3 French consumers has wasted less food during confinement and that the economic, ecological and social value of food has changed for half the population. French people who wish to maintain their new eating habits believe that producers and distributors have a greater responsibility and must develop a better offer of local products or short circuits for 51% of them, propose and promote more anti-waste food initiatives (36%), develop a better offer of organic products (28%).
• The Covid-19 crisis has only strengthened the appeal of local products to consumers, whether out of solidarity with producers, for environmental reasons or to reassure themselves about the quality and safety of products. A C-Ways study evaluates at + 113% the delivery of local products during confinement and at + 331% the choice of a local producer over the period and according to Kantar.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
Arrivals from outside the European Area and from the UK as invited to self-isolate for 14 days on entry.
Fishing: Les Echos’s Richard Hiault reports on ‘Brexit: storm warning for French fishermen’. 17,000 French fishermen fear losing access to British waters due to EU Exit. Expected on 1 July, ‘the prospect of an agreement between London and Brussels is fading’. At the port of Lorient, ‘the tension is palpable’. ‘The English have tried to negotiate a separate agreement with each country, without success’.

Germany

Update on food service
• Restaurants, pubs, etc are open and must obey the rules of distances between the tables and hygiene concepts. There are diverging rules in the federal states
• Hotels: Occupancy rate for German hotels in May was 13.5% only, so 82% less than in May 2019. For June, however, projections say that loss will be 67% (July – 52%, August – 42%), so the situation is improving.

Update on retail
• “Real”, big German hypermarket chain was finally sold by Metro Group to an investor last week. It is expected that the Russian investor SCP will resell most of the 279 shops. 141 shops will go to REWE and Kaufland, but 8 will definitely be closed. Kaufland will take over the “real” online shop (www.real.de)
• From 1st July VAT is reduced from 19% to 16% (7% to 5% for food items) for a period of 6 months. Most food retailers have announced to reduce consumer prices accordingly. Non-food retailers want to keep the benefit for themselves as they have suffered more during lockdown than food businesses.

Feedback from buyers
• German importers report that their financial situation is critical: funding they got cannot compensate loss of sales that are massive as running costs for warehouses, staff etc remain the same.

Italy

Update on food service
• Massiamilano Giansanti, Confagricoltura (Italian Leading Farmers Union) president, commented in a call with HMA to Italy Jill Morris – “many producers had suffered from the complete shutdown of the recreation and hospitality structure (Ho.Re.Ca sector), wine producers, dairy industry and fishermen in particular. The lockdown restrictions penalised the consumption of premium products that are usually not for household consumption.”
• E-Commerce: leading food importer and distribution company Longino and Cardenal, invest in a structured e-Commerce platform opening up its business to consumers. The company was previously focussed on B2B targeting high-end businesses such as Michelin starred restaurants.

Update on retail
• CONAD, leading Italian retailer confirm its market leadership following acquisition of Auchan in 2019. The retailer’s turnover touched € 14.2 bn in 2019, +5.9% compare to 2018.

Feedback from buyers
• Trade Development resume in June with Scottish Companies starting to re-engage with Italian buyers through SDI office support.

Nordics

Update on food service
Norway / hotel and restaurant bankruptcies: The hotel/restaurant industry has seen the largest increase in bankruptcies so far this year. First with shutdown, and then with restrictions on the number of guests. 17.4% more have gone bankrupt in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, 

Update on retail
Denmark: Sales growth continues for grocery stores. Despite reopening of restaurants, grocery sales in May were almost 8% above last year’s level. After the re-opening of the border shops between DK and Germany, sales are growing solidly.
Norway: New optimism in the service and convenience trade.

Feedback from buyers

1 Danish buyer has postponed the decision-making moment re. a private label opportunity involving 2 Scottish salmon producers introduced by the Nordic IMS.

Spain

Update on food service
From 8th-14th June 62% of the bars and restaurants in Spain opened, compared to 50% in the first week of June. However, sales have only grown by 6%. Castilla y León, Murcia and the Basque Country are the communities with the highest economic return since re-opening. The tourist areas (especially the Balearic Islands) are having a rate of openings and business performance below that of other areas.

Update on retail
Despite COVID the main retailers are opening new stores all over Spain. At the end of May, Aldi announced that it plans to open more than 20 supermarkets in Spain throughout 2020. Lidl has invested 17 million in 3 new stores in Spain and created 35 jobs.

Middle East

Update on food service
• All hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars are open in the UAE. No more full or partial lockdowns in any part of the UAE.
• Most food service business working at between 30 – 50% capacity.
• Most ME markets had a lot of the population leaving for holidays, especially to escape the heat. As this year, that wouldn’t be possible or advisable, food service buyers are hoping to capitalise on this opportunity by providing fantastic deals on hotel rooms and restaurant meals
• UAE is open for tourist (with a few restrictions in place). This should support the food service sector.

Update on retail
• Online food shopping at an all-time high, however, for companies to sell online, they would still need to have an in-market importer/distributor.
• Most retailers now looking at sales returning back to as per what they were in Q2/Q3 2019.

Feedback from buyers
• Hypermarkets/supermarkets – buyers have confirmed they have slowed down their plans to open new stores in 2020 and 2021.
• Convenience stores: buyer have confirmed they have ramped up their plans to open new stores in 2020 and almost double them by 2021. The two main ones were Geant Express (Urban Foods) and Viva (Landmark). We are in touch with both and suggested several Scottish brands to them already. Urban Foods have started buying a few Scottish brands now.

Freight and logistics issues
• Situation has improved drastically with costs close to pre-Covid times. However, it would still take a good number of months to return to normality

Canada

Update on food service
Foodservice; Broadline distributors continue to realign business with focus on retail-grocery and on-line home pick-up/delivery segments. With many restaurants remaining closed, Sysco continues to grow online supply program that was launched at the end of April, where bulk-size products for household pick-up is available to the general public. Foodservice sales have fallen to the lowest level in more than a decade. Down 36.6% Nearly nine out of 10 restaurant operators are providing takeout and/or delivery have adapted by: • Reducing/simplifying menu • Offering contactless pick-up/curb-side pick-up. • In some provinces, adding alcohol sales to delivery. • Selling groceries. • Selling meal-kits. Restaurants Canada is the leading industry source providing links to reopening trackers, recovery programs, guides, Government Resources, handbooks, webinars and links to partner agencies. https://www.restaurantscanada.org/industry-news/navigating-coronavirus-covid-19-resources-for-foodservice-operators/

Update on retail
According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian household spent $8500.00 annually on food. Typical inflation is between 1.4% and 2.5%, COVID-19 is expected to push that to a 4% increase.

Feedback from buyers
Insecurity in the Food supply chain is about to get worse due to COVID-19. Even with strong pushback and refusal from buyers to accept price increases from vendors, ultimately, the rising cost to get food to market will be passed on to consumers.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
There is much focus on the new in-store environment. Consumers are re-defining how they will evaluate the instore experience. Within guidelines, chain grocery stores have implemented their own restrictions and measures to safeguard customers and prioritize the safety of their staff.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
There continues to be concerns in food production, with one agri-farm in Ontario reporting 191 cases of the virus. It is expected that seasonal migrant workers contracted and spread the virus in the shared housing facilities. Public health units have shut down operations and are monitoring and enforcing restrictions on other operations. Though the number of COVID-19 cases reported in Canada is currently on the decline, the Government of Canada continues to enforce that the risk to Canadians is high. Cases surging in the US has reminded Canadians of the importance of being vigilant. 

USA

Update on food service
According to the United States National Restaurant Association, 2/3 of industry jobs have been lost due to COVID-19, that is more than 8 million jobs. Foodservice resources and approach to managing, responding and re-opening is at the discretion of the State Governor’s Office, and therefore they differ by state. Detail can be found on the NR Association website. https://restaurantsact.com/. Most states had moved into phase 2 and 3 of reopening, however many are now pausing or dialling back as a result of recent resurgence of new COVID-19 cases. California for example announced on July 1, the closure of indoor dining operations for a minimum of 3 weeks in most areas of the state.

Update on retail
• Retailers are getting creative to appeal to consumers. Walmart is launching virtual summer camps for kids and turning parking lots into Drive-in Movie theatres. • COVID-19 related food supply disruptions have normalised with the exception of the meat and fresh produce categories. • There is continued focus to increase online grocery options, including FreshDirect starting 2-hour grocery delivery and major digital platforms are integrating and expanding reach. Target has added fresh and frozen food to online grocery pick up mix. • Since its start-up in 2012, Instacart has raised approximately $2.1 billion in funding. “COVID-19 created a massive shift for the grocery industry and forever changed how people view the necessity of on-demand services. Overnight, Instacart became an essential service for millions of families across North America, and our teams have worked incredibly hard to safely serve customers and shoppers during this time of need,” Apoorva Mehta, Instacart founder and CEO.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
The USA: A recent surge in the number of reported cases of COVID-19 has many US States ‘pausing’ or rolling back on re-opening. USA Re-Opening Guidance is implemented at the discretion of individual State Governors: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Guidelines-for-Opening-Up-America-Again.pdf

Hong Kong

Update on food service
Started from 19th June, restaurants have been exempted from maximum customer number restrictions but will still have to comply with other regulations, e.g. a minimum 1.5 metre distance between tables and “effective” partitioning. The industry is planning to offer a “30% off” dinner promotion in July and “20% off” dinner promotion in August. Many hotels offer staycation packages, including special discount for dinning and accommodation. In addition, many hotels continue to offer monthly rental package for the locals and travellers. It is estimated that thousands of restaurants will participate. Food and drink business in hotels are picking up as the hotel room occupancy rates has resumed to over 60% in some hotels. 

Update on retail
HKTV Mall (the biggest online shop in HK) has 15,000 orders daily and its average daily order quantity up of 100% Y-O-Y in May 2020; its number of customers also has a 63% Y-O-Y increase. The retail market in HK has been plummeted for 16 consecutive months: the overall retail sales recorded in May 2020 fell 32.8% to HK$26.8 billion (compared to May 2019), yet the rent continued to rise for 4 consecutive months. According to HK Retail Management Association, 60% of the 91 international luxurious brands that were interviewed claimed that they would be closing the shops in HK before the end of May. The brands also stated that they were not giving up on HK market, it was mainly due to the high rent rates and lack of tourists, particularly Chinese tourists.

Feedback from buyers
An importer said business from retail channel is still very strong though it has passed the peak earlier. They’re keen to promote Scottish live brown crab on the biggest channel if there’s a suitable packaging solution.

Freight and logistics issues
For the freight industry, 40% and 60% of the products rely on passenger flights and cargo flights for transportation respectively. Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, some passengers flights are changed to cargo flight to adapt the change, thus carry more products. The cargo flight capacity in May 2020 was 6,335 (+29.3% compared to May 2019). The goods shipping volume in May 2020 was 377,000 tonnes (-6.8% compared to May 2019).

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
Other policies: seating capacity originally capped at 50% at spots ranging from bars to concert halls to places of worship will be increased to 80%. Group limit at karaoke premises and party rooms will also be upped from 8 to 16 people.

Japan

Update on food service
There has been an easing of social distancing measures, allowing bars and restaurants to reopen after months. The government has started Go To Campaign intended to mainly help the struggling tourism and restaurant industries. In the Go To Travel Campaign, tourists will be given discounts and coupons for shopping and eating at travel destinations worth up to ¥20,000 per person for each they night stay at an accommodation facility. Those on day trips will be given discounts and coupons worth up to ¥10,000. In addition to individual trips, group trips such as those by schools and companies will also be covered by the campaign.

BA have informed that they will resume Tokyo (Haneda) to London flights from July, 3 times per week for the time being.

Singapore

Update on food service
Cafes opened up for dine in service on June 19 and bars followed on June 26 – overall a good response from consumers and adherence to social distancing and track/trace/temp measurement measures in place at the venues.

Feedback from buyers
Importers reluctant to expand portfolios until they can be certain that consumers have returned to the market and trade restrictions have lifted on a sustaining basis.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Ecommerce remains very strong with consumers still conservative with buying habits outside the home.
Freight and logistics issues
Air freight from Europe is picking up from a service frequency perspective but rates remain very high – grocery prices reflect the higher cost. Short life products reliant on air freight beginning to reappear on grocery shelves.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
Singapore government continues bilateral discussions with several relatively safe COVID countries around business and official travel.

Lockdown

The First Minister has today confirmed that Scotland will officially move to Phase 3 of the route map out of lockdown.  As with Phase 2 there will be a staged approach to further easing of restrictions.  Details are available here.
Useful links:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Framework for Decision Making – Scotland’s route map through and out of the crisis – Phase 3 Update
 
Route map physical distancing update
 
Coronavirus (COVID-19): shielding support and contacts
 
Transport Transition Plan
 
Latest advice on quarantine rules in Scotland 

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

2nd July

New Market Opportunities

Singapore

We have a new opportunity to collaborate with Enterprise Singapore (the Singapore government’s agency that supports local enterprise and innovation) and ultimately the Seafood Association of Singapore on the supply of a broad range of chilled and frozen seafood to local importers in the market.
 
If this is an opportunity that you are interested in please could you email natalie.bell@seafoodscotand.org by Friday 3rd July with the following information.
 

  1. Company brochure and link to company website
  2. Species that you would be interested in supplying to the market
  3. Format – fresh/frozen
  4. Contact details

Seafood Scotland Support

As COVID 19 has severely impacted markets and with Brexit on the horizon we are seeing more companies coming forward looking at new market opportunities to de-risk some of the current markets they currently operate. Seafood Scotland are here to support companies and work closely with in-market specialists throughout the world to develop opportunities in international markets. We have a team of trade managers who look at Scotland, UK, Europe, Asia and Middle East who would be delighted to work with you. If this would be beneficial to your company please email me donna.fordyce@seafoodscotland.org

Easing of Lockdown timetable

From Friday 3 July

  • Travel beyond your local area for leisure allowed
  • Self-catering accommodation (without shared facilities) to open and second homes accessible

From Monday 6 July

  • Outdoor areas of hospitality (e.g. pubs & restaurants) can open, subject to physical distancing measures.

From Friday 10 July

  • Facecoverings will be mandatory in shops
  • Extended groups can meet outdoors, subject to distancing
  • Up to three households can meet together indoors, subject to distancing

From Monday 13 July

  • Outdoor contact sports for under 18’s can start
  • Dental practices can re-open for limited procedures
  • Non-essential retail within shopping centres/malls can re-open

From Wednesday 15 July

  • Indoor areas of hospitality can re-open, subject to physical distancing
  • Childcare providers (nurseries) can re-open
  • All accommodation providers (e.g. hotels, B&B’s, camping & caravan parks) can re-open
  • Hairdressers can re-open
  • Museums, cinemas, galleries etc can re-open

What will happen to the rest of Phase 3?

At the three-weekly review scheduled for Thursday 9 July, we are likely to get advice on the introduction of other elements of Phase 3. This will include an update on the following, with the working presumption of no changes until 23 July at the earliest:

  • Opening of non-essential offices and call centres (but working from home will remain the default for some time)
  • Phased/blended return to teaching at universities and colleges
  • Opening of places of worship

There is also likely to be an update on the timelines for outdoor and indoor events and the opening of indoor entertainment venues (nightclubs, theatres, music venues).

Two metre rule review

A reminder that this review is ongoing and we may hear next Thursday 2 July, of any changes to the physical distancing rules in Scotland. This will be ahead of the indicative re-opening dates for hospitality set out above.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

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29th June

Seafood Expo North America

The rescheduled Seafood Expo North America in Boston has been cancelled. The show was to go ahead 22-24 September but due to continued concerns over COVID 19 decided it was best to cancel. The show will return to Boston 14-16 March 2021.

Whitefish Landings Update

Total for week 103 individual landings for 39093 boxes across main auctions.  ( previous week 25 – 40945, week 24 – 29450, week 23 – 38973).
 
Up until today when some signs of interest returned to the auction,  week 26 has been a fairly difficult week.  Cod and larger haddock grades maintained reasonably decent demand, but prices for most other species remained flat or fell as the week progressed – the small haddock market is especially vulnerable as the herring season ties up processing capabilities.
 
On the continent, even with the relaxation of lock down rules, the hospitality market is struggling to maintain sustained momentum, and any flurry of higher footfall is being followed up by a slump.  The heatwave, while entirely normal for this time of year, is also adding additional pressure onto an already shaky market.   Cooler weather is expected across NW Europe next week, and this, along with the reopening of hospitality markets in England on July 4th, would be expected to give some bounce to sales, but it remains to be seen what longer term benefit arises.
 
A lighter start to next week is expected, with landings increasing as the week goes on.
 
At the close of the week operational demersal vessels =  82  (previous week  = 80)

Thanks to Bill McKenzie Don Fishing Company for the valuable updates

New dates for easing lockdown – a summary

The First Minister has announced a range of dates over the next fortnight for the further unwinding of restrictions. Below is a summary of the headline points. I know some of you circulate these updates to your wider staff teams, so I have included changes related to personal activity, as well as changes relevant to your businesses.
Please note, as always, these are indicative dates. They may change and are provided at this stage to help with planning. Implementation is still to be confirmed before each date and changes are conditional on continued progress against the virus. Please also note, there will be specific, detailed guidance for each activity referred to below.
From Monday 29 June

  • Indoor, non-essential, non-office workplaces can re-open subject to guidance (e.g. warehousing, lab & research facilities)
  • Street access retail can open (however, non-essential retail in shopping malls/centres will remain closed)
  • Outdoor markets can open, subject to guidance
  • Outdoor sports areas/playgrounds/public gardens can open

From Friday 3 July

  • Travel beyond your local area for leisure allowed
  • Self-catering accommodation (without shared facilities) to open and second homes accessible

From Monday 6 July

  • Outdoor areas of hospitality (e.g. pubs & restaurants) can open, subject to physical distancing measures.

From Friday 10 July

  • Extended groups can meet outdoors, subject to distancing
  • Up to three households can meet together indoors, subject to distancing

From Monday 13 July

  • Outdoor contact sports for under 18’s can start
  • Dental practices can re-open for limited procedures
  • Non-essential retail within shopping centres/malls can re-open

From Wednesday 15 July

  • Indoor areas of hospitality can re-open, subject to physical distancing
  • Childcare providers (nurseries) can re-open
  • All accommodation providers (e.g. hotels, B&B’s, camping & caravan parks) can re-open
  • Hairdressers can re-open
  • Museums, cinemas, galleries etc can re-open

What will happen to the rest of Phase 3?

At the three-weekly review scheduled for Thursday 9 July, we are likely to get advice on the introduction of other elements of Phase 3. This will include an update on the following, with the working presumption of no changes until 23 July at the earliest:

  • Opening of non-essential offices and call centres (but working from home will remain the default for some time)
  • Phased/blended return to teaching at universities and colleges
  • Opening of places of worship

There is also likely to be an update on the timelines for outdoor and indoor events and the opening of indoor entertainment venues (nightclubs, theatres, music venues).

Two metre rule review

A reminder that this review is ongoing and we may hear next Thursday 2 July, of any changes to the physical distancing rules in Scotland. This will be ahead of the indicative re-opening dates for hospitality set out above.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

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22nd June

Join us for a webinar on safer working practices under Covid-19

We’re delighted to bring you this webinar from the Scottish Seafood Training Network featuring Helen Muir of Dawnfresh Seafoods who will discuss the measures currently in place across their sites to ensure safer working conditions for their workforce.

The webinar takes place on Wednesday 24 June at 3pm. Sign up here

Further details below:

This webinar is brought to you by the Scottish Seafood Training Network and hosted by Seafish and Seafood Scotland.

During Covid 19 measures have been put into place in manufacturing sites around the UK. Talking about those and how to ensure businesses are Covid-19 compliant is Helen Muir, from Dawnfresh Seafoods Ltd.

`15:00

  • Welcome from Donna Fordyce, Seafood Scotland
  • Presentation by Helen Muir, HR Director, Dawnfresh Seafoods Ltd

Helen is the Group HR Director and Company Secretary for Dawnfresh Seafoods who employ a workforce of over 620+ employees.She is responsible for the human resource strategy to support the company’s growth opportunities, people development and talent management programmes. Helen firmly believes that employing quality people and developing them, drives business success – she firmly believes that people are at the heart of business. A key objective is to attract and retain the best so that we deliver a great service to our customers and create an environment in which we support and reward individuals for their skills and contribution to the business.Her key people responsibilities include executive and senior management leadership development, strategic planning and implementation, and employee engagement. Regular travel to all the company’s locations enables Helen to keep close to what is happening in the business.As part of broadening her experience, Helen is Chair of the Scottish Seafood Training Network, Chair of Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce LED Region, a Board member of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (Frameworks and Standards Group) and a member of the Scotland Food & Drink People and Skills Advisory Board.

  • Q&A session with a panel comprising of – Donna Fordyce : Seafood Scotland; Helen Muir : Dawnfresh Seafoods; Donna Maver : DM Training , and Gordon Gibb : Polaris Learning

16:00

Session ends

Covid cases in food processing plants in England and Wales

The recent cases of Covid infections amongst workers in meat plants south of the border (and in Germany) has re-emphasised the importance of the existing Food Standards Scotland guidance. You’ll find the current guidance and other useful resources here.

It may be the common thread in these cases is a workforce that live and travel – as well as work – together. In this scenario, an infected individual could transmit the virus to co-workers quickly. Communal gathering areas are also an area of particular focus and the FSS guidance covers all part of the business.

Contact Tracing Guidance

Health Protection Scotland have issued guidance on how contact tracing will operate. You can find this guidance here.

UK Government announce ‘bounce back’ export plan 

DIT and Defra announced today a number of measures to support exporters as part of Covid recovery work

  • Package of measures designed to turbo charge UK food and drink as the world recovers from coronavirus
  • The plan will provide unprecedented help for SMEs and allow them to capitalise on trade agreements being negotiated by DIT with Japan, US, Australia and New Zealand
  • Designed in conjunction with business and the devolved administrations, the plan will be driven jointly by Defra and DIT

Further information can be found here and I keep everyone up to date with the detail once we have the programme of activity.

Guidance for re-opening hospitality now published

For companies that receive this update and also have a hospitality side to the business (restaurant, café, bar), guidance and a risk assessment for planning for re-opening on 15 July has now been published. You will find it here. The 15 July target date is when Scottish Government has asked the sector to plan for re-opening, but it remains subject to change and review. We expect the next signal on the timing of re-openings to come this Thursday (2 July).

Economic recovery group publishes report

The Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, chaired by Benny Higgins, published its report at lunchtime today. If you want a brief summary of the 25 recommendations, you’ll find them here. If you do want to read the full report (be warned, it is 80 pages), it is available here.

The report is founded upon a real fear that without significant intervention, Scotland faces a hugely damaged economy that will deepen inequality. State investment in companies, a jobs guarantee for the young, digital infrastructure, a more regional approach to economy action and a ‘green recovery’ are consistent themes in the report.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

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18th June

Training Update please note closing date is Friday 19th June for support towards funding

Funded e-learning for onshore workers

Skills development Scotland are providing £18K of funding through the Scottish Seafood Training Network. Visit the Seafood Training Academy website for more details on how to apply.

**Closing date is Friday 19th June at noon for expressions of interest**

As a special measure during the Covid-19 lockdown, Seafish is subsidising the cost of e-learning for workers in the onshore sectors of the seafood industry.

Funding will cover the full cost of the following e-learning courses, allowing learners who pass an invigilated exam to gain a regulated qualification for free:

Funding can also be used to contribute towards the cost of our remote learning Intermediate Food Hygiene qualification. Further information on this course is available on our Food Hygiene and HACCP Training Courses webpage.

Funding can also support part of the cost of the following taught courses, delivered by video conference software:

This funding to support onshore training courses is available during June and July 2020 (subject to approval). To register for support please apply to onshore@seafish.co.uk using this expression of interest form, or via your local Seafish approved trainer.

Our online Elementary Food Hygiene materials and online exams are now available in Polish.

If you would like to study using these materials then please email onshore@seafish.co.uk.

Join us for a webinar on safer working practices under Covid-19

We’re delighted to bring you this webinar from the Scottish Seafood Training Network featuring Helen Muir of Dawnfresh Seafoods who will discuss the measures currently in place across their sites to ensure safer working conditions for their workforce.

The webinar takes place on Wednesday 24 June at 3pm. Sign up here

 

Markets Updates

Canada

Update on food service
Ontario and Quebec with 75% of Canadian cases remain at the centre of the crises. Other provinces have moved to phases where dining is allowed at limited capacities. Operators are reporting slow but steady recoveries in these areas, but the bulk of their operations remain closed. Ontario outside of the metro Toronto area have allowed reopening of bars and restaurants from 12 June – the metro region will likely be open on a limited basis for outside dining in the next 2 weeks. Metro Montreal in Quebec remains the hardest hit and the province may look to raise restrictions by July 1st (Canada Day)

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Continued strong build of takeout / delivery for food and strong retail sales in core items. Food prices have fallen in some core items that were displaced from foodservice.

Freight and logistics issues
Air Transat to resume flights on July 23 to certain European destinations with a daily Toronto Glasgow on 25 July.

USA

Update on food service
National lockdown came to an end on June 1st reverting back to state by state restrictions. Over 50% of states are now in a phased opening that allows limited restaurant dining capacity – 25-50% typically and stringent cleaning regimes. Restaurant groups are seeing sales figures now at 25-35% down on an annualised basis versus 60+% plus new business from takeout / delivery. Operators now looking to see whether sales cannibalise. • Strong employment data in May pointed to the rehiring in hospitality and we have begun to see enquiries again for products – principally salmon / seafood.
Larger states like NY,MA and parts of CA still behind and in unlocked states some spikes in cases have been observed. The US has seen 2 million cases and 120,000 deaths officially recorded • While many restaurants groups are franchised, groups continue to look at site viability and will inevitably see rationalisation in the coming 3 months after years of strong footprint and format expansion.

Update on retail
Retailers continue to see strong sales. Publicly traded companies are reporting better than average quarterly sales as stockpiling and more in-home dining.

Feedback from buyers
Retailers are still open to new product discussions but hesitant on committing to non-core items.

Freight and logistics issues
Discussions with airfreight operators have confirmed they expect capacity to be rebuilt to 30-40% over the summer to Europe.

Hong Kong

Update on food service
Catering businesses must continue to adhere to anti-epidemic restrictions, such as a mini. 1.5m distancing rule, max. 8 people per table and temperature measure until 18th June subject to further review. Many hotels are promoting their accommodation and F&D package in HK to push local consumption. Some high-end hotel restaurants even deliver their food to customers themselves; these include set lunch and even afternoon tea set!

Update on retail
Hong Kong Retail Management Association reports that the total sales in retail sector dropped by 36.1% (yoy) to HK$24118 M in April 2020 after reaching its lowest level in Feb (-44%) & Mar (-42.1%). It had dropped consecutively for 15 months since Feb 2019. Hong Kong Census & Statistics Department released that total sales value of supermarkets raised 17.1% in April 2020. The statistics show that consumer expenses on fresh & frozen fish and poultry increased by 19.4%. While expenses on alcohol & tobacco plunged 81.9% (yoy).

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Consumers start going to dine in restaurants more often as only a few new local covid-19 cases were recorded since the beginning of May.

Freight and logistics issues
HK Airport recurred transferring service on 1st June. Virgin Atlantic Airways is planning to recur the flight between Heathrow and Hong Kong in mid-July. Hong Kong government will pump HK$27.3 billion (US$3.52 billion) into Cathay Pacific Airline as part of a larger HK$39 billion recapitalisation effort, in exchange for 6.08% of shares. The government said it viewed its stake as a medium-term holding to keep for 3 – 5 years.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
Quarantine Policy: all overseas travellers must be in quarantined for 14 days when they travel to Hong Kong, such policy will be extended to 18th Sept One of the two major theme parks in Hong Kong, Ocean Park will reopen on 13June. Disneyland remains closed. Tourism: According to Cathay Pacific, they only accommodated 500 passengers per day in May; they are hoping at the end of June, the passenger capacity could be brought up to 5% of the normal capacity

Japan

Update on food service
All restriction for working hours will be removed from 19th June. All restaurants/bars will be open and close with normal working hours. Number of seats are guided by government to keep social distance.

Update on retail
There is no particular restriction but retail shops itself encourage shopper to keep social distance such as marking queue line, restricting number of entrants at the same time.

Feedback from buyers
Really expensive and delays with logistics remain a big issue for importer.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Growing number of people going back to restaurants. According to media says about 20% of customers came back since state of emergency has been lifted.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
Government is now discussing loosening normal restriction on road traffic law for food service that they can put tables and seats outside of the shop.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

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Workforce

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>> Key workers
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15th June

Markets Update

Benelux

Update on food service
The National Security Council met on 3 June to discuss and agree the next phase of the exit strategy. The agreed measures can be seen below:
– From 8 June bars/restaurants can reopen until 01.00 under certain conditions: tables should be 1.5m apart or have plexiglass to separate each table, each table should have a maximum of ten people, each customer should sit at their own table and be served, and waiters should wear a face mask. No paper menu, only available online via scan code on the table or from the board. There are exceptions: reception rooms with a maximum of fifty attendees and casinos may only reopen on 1 July, discos may not open before the end of August.
– Travelling/borders: from 8 June, excursions or multi-day trips will be allowed again inside Belgium.
– From 15 June, Belgium will reopen the borders to and from the countries belonging to the European Union – including the United Kingdom – and the other 4 “Schengen” countries. It is for other countries to decide whether Belgians can enter or not, and under what conditions.
– Cultural activities can take place again, without audience. Performances with audience, including cinemas, can resume from 1 July, with maximum 200 attendees and with respect of the distancing rules.

Update on retail
The safety measures in retailers in place since the beginning of the crisis will remain the same (shop alone, use a cart to keep distancing, suggestion of wearing a mask, sanitize hands before entering, plexiglass at the food & the cashiers counters, … Lidl: New Purchasing Director for Benelux who has been asked to start a new campaign on price to reduce them due to the outgoing recession so suppliers can expect harder negotiations on prices when trying to sell to Lidl Benelux. They are also going to encourage more the usage of the benefit point cards and special offers.
Aldi: in 3 weeks, Aldi has created a new advertisement campaign on the various Belgian TV to show that buying a week’s food is very cheap with Aldi. They put forward their strength compared to the current restrictions: Shop locally, in less than half an hour, for fresh products and with good prices. Delhaize: From June 4, Delhaize will also start a campaign on new discounts on 200 products with Nutri-Score A or B, 1+1 free, to defend the fact that you can buy healthy products at a good price in these difficult financial times.
They are also allowing their customers to choose what products should get discount in the next few weeks.
Those various campaigns are due to the facts that prices had increased during the crisis.
From June 17, Colruyt is testing a new shop concept for Professionals only. They were already known for attracting this kind of clientele and now want to dedicate a shop for them that will answer their needs better. New online shop for AB-Inbev to sell directly to customers: www.jupilershop.be. The crisis has accelerated this project.

Feedback from buyers
30% of the business in the food service are to go bankrupt.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Since the reopening of bars and restaurants, a big rush has been noticed but due to the summer holidays coming, will only last for the first few weeks.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
The Belgian government is going to give a cheque of 300€ to each citizen to use locally in restaurant, bars, cultural and touristic activities. They will also give a train pass for 10 trips anywhere in Belgium.
A Brussels hotel (Jam Hotel) has transformed several rooms into mini disco allowing 10 guests as per the latest rules. Some rooms are for eating only, some for partying. A roof top terrace space with a pool can also be rented.

France

Update on food service
• Food Service Vision research firm estimates the loss of turnover for the food industry at 8.8 billion euros at the end of April, with three-quarters of this loss being in the commercial catering sector alone. This represents 682 million meals lost in April alone and 430 million meals had already been lost by the end of March.
• The government was to announce new opening measures for restaurants and bars on June 22nd for the orange zone (Ile de France). However the Secretary of State for Tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne announced on June 9th that restaurants in the orange zone could perhaps reopen a little earlier than planned: “It seems to me that the evolution of sanitary conditions in the Île-de-France region and the gradual decline of the virus should make it possible, I hope, to bring forward by a few days the reopening of all restaurants “.
• The government wants to grant a specific status for workers who work for online platforms and who currently have a self-employed status, such as Deliveroo delivery drivers and Uber drivers, as they are among those with the least social protection. Edouard Phillipe is calling on the magistrate to propose scenarios to strengthen the base of rights enjoyed by platform workers without calling into question the flexibility provided by their self-employed status. This resulted in the proposition to create an intermediate status specific to platform workers, distinct from employees or the self-employed.

Update on retail
• “The summer sales will begin on July 15th and will last 4 weeks. I have accepted the request of small shopkeepers, who have been very affected by the crisis. This will enable them to rebuild their cash flow”, announced Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy, on RTL on June 2nd.
• Nielsen reviews the markets that have seen their sales increase since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis:
o Online grocery shops: No fewer than 7.4 million households have bought a grocery product online at least once a month. The most purchased products were alcohol, which doubled over the period (versus -6% drop in physical stores). Seduced by the practicality that e-commerce offers, many French consumers will continue buying online after the crisis.
Supermarkets: While hypermarkets have really suffered from the crisis (-6% turnover), supermarkets experienced a 13% increase in sales, largely due to the weight of private labels in their offer and their click and collect format (called «drive » in France). Private labels have indeed been more dynamic than national brands, as they offer competitive pricing while still ensuring good quality.
o “Eat better” trend and proximity shopping: The healthy trend already very strong in France got even stronger during the crisis. Sales of organic products (which are very much associated with a healthy diet in France) jumped by nearly 25%. The gap is even more significant in proximity/convenience stores with an increase in sales of more than 50%.
• To prevent contamination in the store, the members of Intermarché Paul Bert, in Lyon, have installed a transparent coating provided by Clean Zone Protect that eliminates 99.9% of microbes, bacteria and viruses on screens, trolley bars and all flat surfaces of the shop.

Feedback from buyers
• Speaking to a distributor for the retail industry, the health crisis has not and is not preventing them from listing new products. Brexit, however, is a source of concern.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
• Approximately 70% of the French population has bought organic products during the confinement, 8% of new consumers. Hypermarket has remained the preferred channel for these purchases, but direct sales have increased. Almost all buyers plan to continue to favour organic in the future (survey by AgenceBio).

Freight and logistics issues
• UK self-isolation requirements came into effect on June 8th. Form checking of HGV drivers by UK Border Force has caused tailbacks at Calais port.
• Air (Air France, British Airways), Eurotunnel, Eurostar and ferry (P&O, DFDS) routes continue to run on reduced schedules – but with entry restrictions still in place. Press coverage about Easyjet flights from UK-Nice week commencing 15 June. Brittany Ferries is due to resume passenger services from 15 June. Paris Orly airport may reopen from 26 June depending on overall Covid19 situation.
Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
The second phase of deconfinement in France started on 2 June. Mainland France is now green, apart from Ile-de-France (Paris). Cafés, restaurants and bars have reopened (limited to terraces only in orange zones). Across France museums, beaches and monuments can open; the 100 km travel limit has been revoked; parks have reopened, and schools continue their progressive reopening. A maximum limit on gatherings (of 10 people) remains in force. The next phase will come into effect on 22 June.
From 25/5 France introduced a system of voluntary quarantine for those arriving from outside the European Area and by air from Spain. The quarantine will be extended to arrivals from the UK once the UK’s own quarantine measures come into force on 8/6. There are a small number of exemptions to this quarantine which largely mirror the UK’s own exemptions.

Germany

Update on food service
Restaurants and hotels are open in all Federal States, but work with limited capacity. Table bookings are mandatory and guests must indicate name and address to make sure that they can be tracked and informed if needed. Face masks must be worn when entering a restaurant and distancing rules must be obeyed. Bars and clubs are still closed, but pubs are open. Public dispute about the definition and the differences between a pub and a bar.

Update on retail
Retail businesses work normally, with limited number of people in the shops. Often people have to queue in front of the shops. Face masks are mandatory in any shop.

Feedback from buyers
Hospitality sector experts say that every third pub will not survive.
Reduction of VAT from 19 to 16 % (7 to 5% for food items) engenders criticism from retail and foodservice companies: Additional work and effort are expected to change IT systems etc. Some companies have announced to cut prices so that consumers will benefit, others (particularly non food retailers) want to keep the advantage for themselves as they have suffered from the crisis.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Restaurants complain about little interest from potential guests. People do not go out for a meal as often as usual. Similar situation in pubs: pub owners report very little footfall.

Italy

Update on retail
ISTAT (ONS equivalent) latest estimates on retail sales show a persistent decline in all sectors but food in April 2020. Data report e-commerce as the only channel showing double digits positive trends.
COOP Italia: major Italian retailer for food, drink and consumer products release data on sales during the months of the lockdown (March and April). Data show huge improvements, up to 25% for small, proximity, point of sales while supermarkets registered a +16. Sales decline by 11% in Hypermarkets. Coop Italia confirm huge reduction in people flow in March and April and the rise in the average purchase receipt, from €26 to €46.

Freight and logistics issues
Food Logistics: Marco Comelli – Secretary General of OITA – Food Transport Observatory – says food logistics need to redesign their networks due to the persistent changes brought by C-19 crisis. Logistics and supplies in the Ho.Re.Ca, Retail, Home Delivery and e-Commerce have all been affected by Covid-19 crisis which has worked as an accelerator of certain processes, digitalization for instance, but a more structured and organised food logistics in needed in the long term.

Spain

Update on food service
Restaurants, bars and hotels are now allowed to open at 40-50% capacity but with social distancing measures in place. Nightclubs and cocktail bars will remain closed.

Update on retail
Retail stores are now allowed to open but with social distancing measures in place and at 40% capacity. Food markets can open 30% capacity.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
Most of the country has now moved to at least phase 2 (as of 08.06.20) including Barcelona and Madrid. 52% of Spain is in phase 3. This means increased mobility, getting together with groups of up to 15 people, shops/bars/restaurants opening their inside space (not just terrace).
Spain is getting ready to receive tourists from 1st July and the government has said that agreements need reached with UK.

Nordics

Update on food service
Denmark: with the easing of restrictive measures, the Food Service sector seems to be getting back to normal gradually. Arla’s sales of food service products grew 30% between the last week of May and the first week of June.
Norway and Germany have changed their VAT for hotels or restaurants to boost these sectors. The Danish HORECA industry is lobbying for Denmark to lower its 25% VAT as well, or the country will lose tourism to the neighbouring countries.
Norway has decreased VAT on hotel stays to 6% from April 1 to Oct 31 2020. Germany has decreased VAT on hotel stays and restaurant visits/food from (not incl. drinks) from 7% to 5% from Jul 1 2020 – Jun 30 2021. VAT on drinks remains at 16%.
Danes, Norwegians and Finns will largely spend the summer holidays in their own country. F&D consumption born by tourists will be reduced whiles spending by the local population will represent a greater amount. Over 50% of Finns plan to travel domestically at least much as usual this summer. Denmark: important drop in hotel stays/accommodations. The hotel sector is still hard hit
Update on retail
Denmark and Norway food prices have risen during the Corona crisis. In Norway, grocery stores have increased prices sharply during the corona crisis. Now food and drink are close to 5% more expensive than just one year ago.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
Finland / HORECA openings June 1: restaurants, theatres, libraries and sports facilities. On June 1, Finland will also raise the ban on assembly from 10 to 50. In August, the assembly ban will apply to 500 people. Professional sports can also begin June 1 under special circumstances.
Norway / seafood exports: export of seafood decreased 2 months in a row, April and May. In May the decrease was 9%.
Denmark / Food exports: The corona crisis is expected to cut billions in exports from the Danish food industry. Exports from the Danish Food cluster will likely fall by up to $9 billion in 2020 as a result of the corona crisis, according to an analysis by Agriculture & Food. It will be a long time before exports are back to the same level as before the crisis.
Denmark: the salary compensation scheme offered by the government for businesses has been extended until August 29th. This will help more companies survive the crisis.
Norway June 9: Norwegian companies forecast sharp slowdown and zero growth over the next six months. Norges Bank presented the Regional Network report on Tuesday morning, which is based on interviews with managers from over 300 companies and organisations. According to the companies, activity has fallen at an annual rate of 5.3% in the last three months, which is a far sharper decline than during the financial crisis of 2008. “According to the companies in the Regional Network, the corona outbreak and the measures to limit infection have caused economic activity to fall sharply this spring. The fall in oil prices has contributed to the sharpening of the decline,” Norges Bank writes in a press release. The krone weakened abruptly when the report was published.

Training Update

Funded e-learning for onshore workers

Skills development Scotland are providing £18K of funding through the Scottish Seafood Training Network. Visit the Seafood Training Academy website for more details on how to apply. 

**Closing date is Friday 19th June at noon for expressions of interest**

As a special measure during the Covid-19 lockdown, Seafish is subsidising the cost of e-learning for workers in the onshore sectors of the seafood industry. 

Funding will cover the full cost of the following e-learning courses, allowing learners who pass an invigilated exam to gain a regulated qualification for free:

Funding can also be used to contribute towards the cost of our remote learning Intermediate Food Hygiene qualification. Further information on this course is available on our Food Hygiene and HACCP Training Courses webpage.

Funding can also support part of the cost of the following taught courses, delivered by video conference software:

This funding to support onshore training courses is available during June and July 2020 (subject to approval). To register for support please apply to onshore@seafish.co.uk using this expression of interest form, or via your local Seafish approved trainer.
 

Our online Elementary Food Hygiene materials and online exams are now available in Polish.

If you would like to study using these materials then please email onshore@seafish.co.uk.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

11th June

Training Update

Funded e-learning for onshore workers

Skills development Scotland are providing £18K of funding through the Scottish Seafood Training Network. Visit the Seafood Training Academy website for more details on how to apply. 

As a special measure during the Covid-19 lockdown, Seafish is subsidising the cost of e-learning for workers in the onshore sectors of the seafood industry. 

Funding will cover the full cost of the following e-learning courses, allowing learners who pass an invigilated exam to gain a regulated qualification for free:

Funding can also be used to contribute towards the cost of our remote learning Intermediate Food Hygiene qualification. Further information on this course is available on our Food Hygiene and HACCP Training Courses webpage.

Funding can also support part of the cost of the following taught courses, delivered by video conference software:

This funding to support onshore training courses is available during June and July 2020 (subject to approval). To register for support please apply to onshore@seafish.co.uk using this expression of interest form, or via your local Seafish approved trainer.
 

Our online Elementary Food Hygiene materials and online exams are now available in Polish.

If you would like to study using these materials then please email onshore@seafish.co.uk.

News on re-opening tourism and hospitality businesses

Fergus Ewing has announced yesterday that the Scottish Government hopes to give the go-ahead for the re-opening of tourism and hospitality businesses from the 15th of July. A decision will be taken at the Scottish Government’s three-weekly review of restrictions scheduled for the 9th of July, with tourism and hospitality businesses told they can plan now for a re-opening on the 15th of July. However, as with all Covid-19 plans, the date is an aspiration and is provisional. It will change and be delayed if the disease situation deteriorates between now and then. In the meantime though, tourism and hospitality can at least plan with a little more certainty.

Transport restrictions & impact on business

Not surprisingly the two metre social distancing guidelines are resulting in significant capacity constraints on public transport. The capacity on the average bus is around 25-30% and trains are even lower at around 15% on some routes. However, it is the reduced ferry capacity that has the potential to cause some significant logistics disruption for food and drink freight. Larger vessels are running at around 20% on-board capacity. Some smaller vessels are able to accommodate more due to greater flexibility in the use of vehicle decks. Some Northern Isles ferry routes have capacity up to 50% with on-board cabins.

Given the importance of moving products on and off the islands, SF&D raised a number of issues on a call with the transport minister earlier, alongside other business organisations. A number of issues are being explored to maximise available timetables. However, there are challenges with exploring options such as night sailings where they don’t occur already and using booking slots for freight. There are also constraints for ferry companies themselves with significant lead-in times to recruit additional staff, even if there were more sailings. The issues have been hampered by already reduced timetables on some routes. There is a concern that as the tourism and hospitality sector begins to open over the summer, that capacity constraints for freight will exacerbate.

We will continue to feed in issues and our colleagues at Highlands and Islands Enterprise are also working on this. 

Pivotal Enterprise Fund applications

Our latest understanding is that all outstanding applicants to this grant fund who haven’t yet heard the result of their application should have done so by this time next week. There may also be a new process coming by which those rejected can have a discussion to understand better how their application was analysed. We will share more when we have it.

Test and Protect

If anyone has a confirmed case of Covid-19 amongst their staff, it would be useful if you could share privately how any contact tracing is dealt with. Based on guidance being used internally by the tracing team, if businesses are managing physical distancing, as well as PPE for any contact under 2 metres, co-workers would be unlikely to be deemed as ‘close contacts’ requiring to self-isolate. However, we just want to ensure this principle of approach works in practice.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

8th June

Training Update

Funded e-learning for onshore workers

As a special measure during the Covid-19 lockdown, Seafish is subsidising the cost of e-learning for workers in the onshore sectors of the seafood industry. 
Funding will cover the full cost of the following e-learning courses, allowing learners who pass an invigilated exam to gain a regulated qualification for free:

Funding can also be used to contribute towards the cost of our remote learning Intermediate Food Hygiene qualification. Further information on this course is available on our Food Hygiene and HACCP Training Courses webpage.

Funding can also support part of the cost of the following taught courses, delivered by video conference software:

This funding to support onshore training courses is available during June and July 2020 (subject to approval). To register for support please apply to onshore@seafish.co.uk using this expression of interest form, or via your local Seafish approved trainer.

Skills development Scotland are providing £18K of funding through the Scottish Seafood Training Network. Visit the Seafood Training Academy website for more details on how to apply.

Further information

Our online Elementary Food Hygiene materials and online exams are now available in Polish.
If you would like to study using these materials then please email onshore@seafish.co.uk.

Quarantine rules comes into effect today

The new quarantine restrictions for air passengers coming into the UK came into effect today. All arriving passengers are now required to fill in a ‘contact locator form’ to provide contact and travel information so they can be contacted if they, or someone they may have been in contact with, develops the disease. Arriving passengers are now required to self-isolate for 14 days. Importantly, there are limited exemptions and you can find the full list here.
The exemptions include:

  • Seasonal Agricultural Workers who will self-isolate on the property where they are working
  • A worker with specialist technical skills required for essential or emergency works or services to ensure the continued production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods

Hints on next phase of easing lockdown

The First Minister today gave positive signals towards further relaxations of restrictions when the formal date for the next review comes around on the 18th of June. In the last 48 hours, no new deaths have been recorded in Scotland.  Whilst figures are always at their lowest on a Sunday, today’s and yesterday’s figures are cause for cautious optimism. A move to phase 2 of lockdown removal would see the opening of outdoor areas of pubs and restaurants for the first time since March. That decision looks at least 10 days away still and much could change but progress is clearly positive.

REMINDER: Furlough deadline on Wednesday

The furlough scheme will close to new entrants on the 30th of June. However, to qualify for furlough support from Government from July onwards – an employee must have completed a full three weeks of furlough by the 30th of June. In other words, the deadline for furloughing an employee for the first time is Wednesday 10th of June.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

4th June

Markets Update

USA

Update on food service
California: Restaurants will be temporarily be allowed to serve alcohol outside their establishments in tandem with a meal. As parts of the state re-open partially, this is an effort to allow those restaurants to profit on alcohol while still observe social distancing via spaced tables on patios, in parking lots immediately adjacent, etc. General: According to Nielsen, 52% of on-trade establishments will continue with expanded delivery services beyond the pandemic. Additionally, only 35% of those polled felt they would retain the brands they had carried before COVID-19. This illustrates the urgency with which Scottish brands will want to hit the market to convince those buyers at accounts to carry their products.

Update on retail
General: States in the US are now in various states of re-opening, with statuses largely dependent on new cases in each state and local government’s stance. All states are likely to use a phased approach, with restaurants and bars in the last stage (similar to the UK). Having border states with widely different guidance (ie. Massachusetts being very cautious and New Hampshire moving quickly towards normal) could produce some interesting issues in containing interstate travel.

Frozen food will continue to be in high demand even after the coronavirus crisis subsides, according to a new survey from the American Frozen Food Institute. Half of those who purchased frozen foods since the onset of the crisis say they will purchase a lot more (18%) or somewhat more (32%) in coming months. The frozen foods segment has seen a spike in sales with 70% of consumers increasing frozen food purchases since March. New customers have come to the category too, with 7% of consumers who previously, rarely or never purchased frozen foods pre-pandemic currently buying these products. The most frequently purchased items were vegetables, meat and pizza.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Consumer goods giants expect that changes to shopping habits due to the current pandemic will become permanent after stay-at-home mandates have subsided and include a widespread shift to online shopping, being conscious of cost and an increased interest in health and wellness-related products.

China

Update on food service
Government stimulus measures, such as car subsidies and digital coupons, will be insufficient to reboot consumption in 2020. Several cities, including Hangzhou (Zhejiang), Nanjing (Jiangsu) and Zhengzhou (Henan), have been distributing digital coupons through online payment platforms like Alipay and WeChat Pay since March. The coupons encourage consumers to purchase designated goods and services, mostly in the dining, tourism and recreational industries, within a set period. However, their effectiveness is likely to be overstated by local authorities, because it is difficult to separate pent-up demand from the additional demand generated.

Update on retail
The retail market will recover moderately in the second quarter but will remain in contraction compared to the same period in 2019, because unemployment to peak then in April-June. Income losses will also become more visible as struggling businesses lay off workers or cut salary payments. The third quarter will see continued narrowing of the retail market, followed by a 0.1% year-on-year increase in the fourth quarter. Some regional supermarket chains in central and southwest of China recently announced plan to close half of their stores which were hugely challenged by the impact of the COVI-19 and restructuring the business seems like the solution for survival. The epidemic is likely to accelerate the trend of retail stores operating primarily as a marketing tool. However, firms have also realised that when logistics are disrupted, having a physical store close to the consumer is indispensable.

Wholesale retailers like Costco, a US multinational corporation that targets middle-class consumers, as well as community stores in densely populated areas that serve local residents, will grow alongside online markets. Retailers even those confined to mortar and brick stores are also preparing for the year major promotional activity, which will be 18 June ‘618’ shopping festival across the major ecommerce platforms. 618 in Mandarin sounds like ‘I am going to be rich’. This shopping festival was initiated by JD.com ten years ago and now become one of the major promotional activity online. Digital coupons will be distributed by retailers and the level of discount will be significant.

Feedback from buyers
The market is generally recovering.

Freight and logistics issues
The coronavirus (Covid-19) epidemic will accelerate the trend of consumption shifting online. Companies will need to ensure that online channels are available for new product releases and redesign existing products and services to fit the demands of the online market. The online market for fresh food delivery to continue to expand even after the epidemic, which will drive up investment in cold-chain logistics. CAAC (China Aviation Administration of China) announced earlier in the week that fight restriction will remain until at least October. The current policy is ‘five ones’ which means domestics airlines are asked to remain only one air route with each foreign country and operate no more than one flight a week. Every foreign airline is required to maintain only one air route to China and operate no more than one flight a week. Airlines should submit their flight plans to the administration for approval two months in advance. Flights to and from China should carry no more than 75% of the passenger. The five one policy will last till October at least so to know the flights that is operating now can help to have the idea of how many people maximum that can enter China, and you should know that most of the seats are for Chinese to return home. Shanghai Municipality recently introduced various measures to facilitate the entry into Chia of employees essential for business operations. Currently there are two channels, a normal channel and a fast track channel, which is only available to employees of companies whose country of origin has signed a fast track agreement with China. Employees entering Shanghai following the fast track procedure will be allowed to start work within 48 hours after arrival, subject to negative COVID-19 test results. The company should make the request with district FAO and then the application will be sent to Shanghai FAO for assessment.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
In China, new infection clusters were detected on May 11th in the northern provinces of Inner Mongolia and Jilin, as well as Hubei, where the virus originated. Authorities have reimposed quarantine in those areas.
Consumption is unlikely to be the growth engine that the government wants it to be in 2020. The country will face the worst job market in decades, and Chinese consumers, with a reputation for being highly risk-averse, are unlikely to splurge during this time.

Hong Kong

Update on food service
Catering businesses must continue to adhere to anti-epidemic restrictions, such as a mini. 1.5m distancing rule, max. 8 people per table and temperature measure until 4 June subject to further review.
1,000 (or 6%) out of 15,000 eat-in restaurants in HK will remain closed for good even coronavirus shutdowns end, according to the Hong Kong Catering Association (HKCSM).
It’s reported that biggest food delivery platform in HK, foodpanda had planned to expand its partnering restaurants from 7000 to 12000 and double its delivery manpower to 8000 people by the end of 2020. And its competitor, Deliveroo also said they would expand its partner restaurants from 5000 to 9000 and increase the delivery manpower from 4000 to 6500 in the same period.
Seafood Expo Asia will be moved from HK to Singapore in Nov 2020 for the first time.

Update on retail
Hong Kong retail sales in the Q1 2020 marked a historical low, plunging 36.9% by volume from the same period a year ago. HK Retail Management Association predicts that there will be a Y-O-Y sales drop of 30% – 505 for H1 2020, as the economy has already been badly hit and tourists will not come even if the social distancing measures were eased in May or June.

Feedback from buyers
A seafood importer who used to supply most of the products to food service channels, now supplying most of the products to retail channels, offer retail pack products to major supermarkets in HK

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
• Policy measures: HK government extends its social distancing measures – including a ban on public gatherings of more than 8 people to 4th June 2020 (due to the emergence of 3 local infections). On the other hand, religious gatherings will be allowed to resume at up to 50% capacity. • Tourism: average nightly room ratee across all categories of hotels plunged 41.5% in HK to HK$8685 (US$111.6) during Q1 2020, as an estimated two-thirds of rooms across the city sat empty according to Colliers’ Asia Hotel report. Hong Kong’s percentage slump topped Shanghai’s 15 per cent drop to 514 yuan (US$72), and Osaka’s 13.3 per cent decline to Ұ11,951 (US$111) in third place in the same period. • Beijing government has announced that a new national security law specifically for HK would be imposed by the central government. People believe that a new wave of social protests will come back HK very soon. Business activities may be interrupted by social unrest similar to that in second half 2019.
 

Pivotal Enterprise applications for grant funding

We are aware that there are a number of businesses who have still not heard if their application to the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund has been accepted or rejected. We are working with the enterprise agencies to get an update on progress and a timeline for letting all applicants know. As we have said before on this update, the demand for the fund was enormous creating huge workloads to assess applications. 

Test and trace

There are still understandably questions from companies on the rollout of the Test and Protect strategy which will see the ‘close contacts’ of Covid-19 cases having to self-isolate for 14 days. Our understanding remains that if physical distancing is implemented in the business (the 2 metre rule), work colleagues of someone infected will not be deemed as close contacts. If some of the workforce cannot avoid being within 2 metres of each other at all times, PPE and screens will be taken into account and considered mitigating measures.  However, that decision on measures taken to manage contact within two metres may be subject to an individual assessment by a health protection team.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

 

1st June

European Markets Update

Benelux

Update on food service
The next Security Council meeting will take place June 3 and should announce dates and measures for the restaurants/bars/cafés reopening. They announced already that they will be able to extend their terrace at no cost to allow more outdoor seating.
Deliveries and take away opportunities have increased as the crisis got longer.
According to Shopping100, the Belgian E-commerce has shown great performance compared to the top players.

Update on retail
Increase in the purchase of alcohol/snack/bakeries thanks to several factors: the good weather during the long week-ends, the measure allowing household visits for 4 guests and the borders being closed (buyers are only able to buy in Belgium when before they would by across the border where VAT is lower).
Carrefour has announced the lowering of the price of 1000 products. Albert Heijn also did a “low price” campaign on many products and Aldi did an advertisement campaign to insist on the fact that they are cheaper.

Feedback from buyers
Most buyers are still not ready to introduce new products on the market but are happy to start investigating/selecting new products for the future so they are happy to engage again and look at our offers to be prepared once the crisis will be behind us.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
62% of the household are concerned by a loss of income since the crisis started.

Independent/Freelance workers/business owners will be able to extend their request for unemployment benefit until the end of June To support the Off-trade sector, a campaign to encourage customers to buy on May 23 via deliveries or take-away was launched. It was called “Le plus grand bistrot du quartier”, they hoped to reach 100.000 meals in one day nationally. 1890 restaurant signed-up. The idea was to recreate dinner tables with friends but virtually. www.degrootstebuurtbristro.be
New ease of measures from May 18:
• Household visits for 4 guests allowed
• Museums and cultural centre can reopen
• Hairdressers, beauticians, can reopen
• Outdoor markets are allowed now with a maximum of 50 stales per market.

France

Update on food service
• The Nestlé Group launched an extensive #AlwaysOpenForYou programme to support the hospitality industry across Europe after supporting healthcare workers and charities committed to fighting the coronavirus outbreak. Nestlé Professional has put in place a financial support plan for its business partners to adjust their payment terms. In addition, the company is implementing exceptional free product promotions. As of April, Nestlé Professional, Nespresso Professionnel and Nestlé Waters announced their partnership with the J’aime Mon Bistrot platform, a solidarity platform that allows pre-orders to be placed, with the proceeds going directly to the managers. To date, the platform brings together 7,000 establishments and has already registered 15,000 pre-orders for an average ticket price of €46. In total, the amount of transactions already carried out exceeds €1.3 million.
• While waiting for restaurants to resume operations, and in order to help them get up and running, METRO France, the number one French food service supplier, has developed a special Reopening Guide which gives recommendations along two lines: the measures to be taken in terms of health and safety, as well as advice on how to relaunch restaurants or catering businesses.

Update on retail
E-retail
• Amazon France reached agreement with the unions and will not be pursuing its appeal of a Covid-19 health and safety case. The warehouses have progressively reopened with a target date of June 3rd for a 100% operational level.

Feedback from buyers
Those who project themselves in a post-covid world are bringing Brexit back in the conversations again.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
According to a Kantar Worldpanel study on the influence of the health crisis on consumption trends, while spending on organic, natural and fair trade products is on the rise, the fight against plastics is on hold and since the beginning of the health crisis, pre-packaged food purchases are increasing, particularly in the fruit and vegetable section. On the other hand, the bulk market is plummeting.
• The Digital Food Lab, the European FoodTech insight and strategy consultancy based in Paris, has identified 3 trends that have been boosted globally by the current crisis:
o Robotic delivery
o Lab-grown proteins and plant-based alternatives
o Groceries marketplaces
• While the frozen category was struggling for many years (-1% on average each year between 2011 and 2020), it has been on the rise again in early 2020 and benefited massively from the health crisis and lockdown in France. According to Nielsen, savoury frozen products sales have increased by 28% over the entire containment period (from March 16 to May 10). Sweet products did a little better with +30%. And this dynamic did not stop with the deconfinement.

Freight and logistics issues
Le Havre port recorded a 30% drop in container volumes y/y. There is a fear that, following Covid-19 and strikes earlier in the year, ship-owners could prioritise two or three European ports and remove Le Havre from their schedules.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
First Minister Edouard Philippe announced on May 28th the end of the ban on travel over 100 km, but within French borders at least until June 15th.
Bars and restaurants will be able to reopen all over the territory from 2 June, however, in the orange areas (greater Paris) only terraces will be accessible. Parks and gardens will reopen even in the orange zones.
• The Minister of Agriculture, Didier Guillaume, visited the Rungis international market on Thursday May 14th. Accompanied by Stéphane Layani, President of the market, he visited the Ile-de-France fruit and vegetable producers’ pavilion and the Rungis Livré chez Vous platform. For Didier Guillaume, this visit was an opportunity to congratulate producers and market players for their reactivity in these difficult times. He also highlighted the steps taken by the industry and Rungis to digitalize and offer home delivery.
• European agricultural seasonal workers with an employment contract in France are allowed to cross closed borders to reach French farms under conditions specified in an instruction from the Prime Minister, published on 25 May: in order to be able to enter and work in France, seasonal agricultural workers must be nationals of a member country of the European area (mainly EU, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland), or nationals of third countries residing primarily in a country of the European area. Seasonal workers must have the following documents to come to France:
o an international travel certificate issued by the employer

Germany

Update on food service
Restaurants are open again, but complain that they have, according to a recent enquiry, only between 60 and 75% of the usual turnover, due to the fact that they cannot sell all the tables (distancing rules). Bars and pubs can also open, but under restrictions (access, limited opening times etc. Different rules and reopening dates in the Federal States.
Restaurant guests must state name and address to allow tracking in case of an infection.

Update on retail
Food retail businesses are working normally. Distancing rules in place and obligation to wear face masks.

Feedback from buyers
“As people cannot travel abroad, there is an opportunity to sell food and drink from countries that are typical holiday destinations. People might want to take ‘a piece of holiday’ home and consume it there.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
Contact restrictions are extended until 29th June. Federal States can allow that up to 10 people (or members of two households) can meet in public from the 6th June.
Government is expected to lift the worldwide travel warning. Summer holidays in Europe might become possible

Italy

Update on food service
Phase 2: 70% are believed to have re-opened on Monday 18 May but capacity reductions due to social distancing are expected to reduce revenues by around 55%, and around 40% of their staff (400k workers) have had to remain furloughed.
FIPE (Italian Bars, Restaurants and Catering Federation) released the results of a survey on the re-opening of bars and restaurants the 18 May. Only 48% of businesses are estimated to have reopened on the first day of the phase 2 (18/05) while about 35% have reopened few days later. ¾ of the interviewed businesses report revenues drop by 70% and very pessimistic views on the potential recovery over the next few weeks.
HO.RE.CA.: it is estimated that the closure of bars and restaurants (accounting for 4% of GDP) from March to mid-May will produce a decrease in turnover of 14 BN euro. Because of the new measures, the economic impact for 2020 is expected to be over 30 BN euro. The collapse of the restaurant business has had a negative domino effect on the national agri-food sector, with a loss of turnover of at least 1.5 billion. A “decisive turning point” for the 24,000 ho.re.ca companies in Italy is called for to avoid loss for 1 BN at the end of 2020.

Update on retail
Phase 2: Around 800k businesses are believed to have re-opened on Monday 18 May when remaining restrictions on retail and hospitality businesses were finally lifted after two months of closure.
Retail: Italian Retailer ESSELUNGA expands its point of sales across the Country under LA ESSE brand following the success of proximity retail formats during Covid 19 Crisis. LA ESSE brand, launched in 2020, is format focussed on ready meals for take away.
Prices: rise in price started at the beginning of the lockdown, particularly fruit (+8.4%) and vegetables (+5%) with a 30% total reduction of produce, followed by frozen fish (+4.2%), milk (+4.1%), pasta (+3.7%), butter (+2.5%) and meat (+2.5%). Italy needs seasonal workers because of the closure of borders.
CONFESERCENTI (Italian Association of Small Retailers, Tourism and Services) reports that 72% of companies have re-opened but only 29% of Italians have gone back to them to purchase products or services. The reduced number of customers has impacted on the revenues of most businesses. 68% of re-openers claimed to have lost money and, of these 37%, reports that their sales have halved against the pre-crisis period. Restaurants, pizzerias and trattorias are suffering the most.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Consumption: Surveys of consumer sentiment indicate that demand on the high street is likely to remain below pre-crisis levels at least in the short term due to a) concerns over health risks b) concerns about household finances following the lockdown, and c) the inconvenience caused by social distancing measures.
Trade Show: CIBUS, main international trade fair on Food and Drink in Italy, announces a Forum on the Impact of Consumers behaviours after C-19. The Forum will take place physically and virtually 2 and 3 September. The 2020 edition of the trade show, already cancelled, will take place in 2021. Digital platform “MyBusiness CIBUS” launched by the organisers to allow buyers and exhibitors to carry out scouting activities and business matching.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
CODACONS (The Italian Consumers Protection Association) envisage that a 10-day holiday will cost 18-20% (including the Government’s holiday voucher) more than last year given social distancing and presence limits in restaurants and public places. Other research bodies forecast that about half of Italians will not go on holiday this Summer and 90.2% of holidaymakers will stay in the country.
TRAVEL BANS: People can now travel within their own region, and mobility restrictions across regions will be lifted on 3rd June, when international borders will also reopen without restriction to and from other EU countries. A decision is expected by the end of this week.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL: Alitalia (national airline) has kept operating direct flights to London currently at three a day from Rome Fiumicino to London Heathrow. We have not lobbied but have thanked the Italian Government and Alitalia for maintaining direct flights. Alitalia requires facemasks for travel and will provide a mask if the traveller does not have one and (until 2/6) two copies of a completed self-certification document.
Airlines are preparing tentatively to resume Italy flights at a reduced capacity: BA from 16/6. Easyjet from 15/6 (within Italy only), Ryanair from 21/6, Vueling and Jet2 both from early July.
EasyJet will resume flights to Italy from 15th June from 8 airports that will operate internal flights. International connections from Italy and abroad will be available from July. Ryanair will also be operating again from 1st July. EasyJet’s Italy country manager said that social distancing on board will be obligatory until 14th June which allows to fill the aircraft by one third. However, he warns that, if this measure remains in place, the business may not be sustainable.
The Government has responded by introducing measures to support businesses and promote exports. Key policy initiatives are:
Government Response, – Export: State guarantees for export credits (up to €50bn), a new €400m “Promotion Fund” and the strengthening of an existing “Internationalisation Fund” to pay for international marketing activities. Boosting the “Made in Italy” brand worldwide is priority.

Spain

Update on food service
In Zaragoza, 39% of restaurants and 28% of hotels have opened (in phase 2 now).
With supermarkets, hypermarkets and food stores in general open, the HORECA consumption has transferred over to retail.

Update on retail
Retail is starting to open. From last Monday half of the shopping centres in Spain and large stores (over 400 m2) in phase 2 have permission to open-up. Areas such as; Aragon, Asturias, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Murcia, Navarra, the Basque Country, Ceuta and Melilla are fully entering phase 2, in addition to Guadalajara and Cuenca, in Castilla-La Mancha; Huelva, Seville, Córdoba, Jaén, Cádiz and Almería, in Andalusia, and Camp de Tarragona, Alt Pirineu and Terres de l’Ebre, in Catalonia.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
All of Spain is now in phase 1, 2 or 3 (Barcelona and Madrid moved to phase 1 on Monday).
Face masks are now obligatory for everyone walking the streets unless they have breathing problems or are aged under 6 year old.

Changes to furlough scheme announced

At the end of the week, the Chancellor published details of how the furlough scheme will operate through to its conclusion at the end of October. You can see all the published detail here. There are two elements to the changes: the introduction of ‘flexible furlough’ and the start of employer contributions to wage costs.

Flexible furlough will begin on 1 July 2020, meaning that an employee can come back to work part-time. When working, the employer picks up the wage costs, but the remainder of contracted time that they are not working will be covered by the furlough scheme. This change is coming in a month earlier than previously announced.

On employer contributions, the plan is as follows:

June and July: No changes. Government will pay 80% of wages up to the cap of £2,500 as well as employer NI (ER NICs) and pension contributions. Employers are not required to pay anything.

August: Government will pay 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500. However, employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions

September: Government will pay 70% of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 10% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.

October: Government will pay 60% of wages up to a reduced cap of £1,875. Employers will pay ER NICs and pension contributions and 20% of wages to make up 80% total up to a cap of £2,500.

More guidance published for food and drink businesses – and tracing contacts of cases

Food Standards Scotland has now published revised guidance for food and drink businesses. Importantly, within the new publication is a risk assessment tool. With the rollout of the Test and Protect strategy – which will see close contacts of Covid-19 positive cases traced – the importance of adhering to the FSS guidance is reinforced once again.

If companies manage physical distancing within the business, it is highly unlikely that the work colleagues of an individual who tests positive would be deemed a ‘close contact’ requiring to self-isolate. However, we know there are some instances where staff may be within 2 metres of each other, which is where other measures (PPE/screens etc) are important. If there is a positive case of Covid-19 in a member of the workforce who has worked with 2 metres of others, the assumption is that an individual risk assessment may be required in the workplace by the authorities. That will determine if colleagues need to go into 14-day isolation.

The FSS guidance remains the ‘manual’ for how to protect your workforce and how you can minimise disruption should a member of your staff become infected.

 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills?

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish *Complete*

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish *Complete*

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

27th May

USA Market Update 

Update on food service
Almost ½ of US states are now in some phase of reopening. Effects of this return for restaurants are mixed but w/o/w growth are moderate for the last 2 weeks and y/o/y declines are about 15-20% down when total revenues are factored in, showing that at least online / delivery sales are somewhat mitigating in-dining losses. Many restaurants have simplified menu items and have instigated full social distancing measures in their instore dining per national guidelines.

Feedback from buyers

• Off-trade alcohol retailers continue to do incredibly good business. Importers and distributors are generally buoyed by the increase in this channel but it doesn’t make up for the loss of nearly the entire on-trade channel, not to mention many of those restaurants/bars unable to pay outstanding 30 or 60 day invoices.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour

• US consumers are buying more frozen seafood as the trend continues from mid March. Frozen seafood sales soared 37.7 percent to nearly USD 1.4 billion for the week ending 2 May, according to Nielsen data Frozen crab sales surged nearly 180 % for the week, while scallop sales spiked 145.5 % and lobster sales increased 143 %. Other big gainers for the week included: catfish, cod, crayfish, haddock, mahi, mussels, shrimp, and whiting. Notably 7% of buyers are new to the category buyers and signals a potentially new trend for younger consumers who are looking at convenience and a healthy protein.
• Consumer are eating more packaged and convenience foods. Campbells, Heinz, P&G, Mondelez, Kraft all report double digit gains in the quarter.

China Market Update

Update on food service

According to data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, domestic trips and tourism revenue contracted by 41% and 60% year on year, respectively, during the Labour Day holiday on May 1st-5th. WeChat, a leading social media app, reported that the number of payments made in physical venues increased by 30% during the holiday compared to March 2020. Payments for leisure and entertainment and catering grew strongly, although these sectors were hit hard during lockdown, creating a low base effect. The outbreak of COVID-19 has accelerated the revolutionary progress on introducing meat alternatives to consumers in China. In recent months, China has seen international food and beverages chains such as Wagas, Elements Fresh, Papa Johns, and now even KFC and Starbucks, bring meatless options to their menus. The Chinese food service industry is now having to catering to the changing tastes, which are increasingly favouring plant-based options more than ever before.

Update on retail

Nielsen reports indicates that China’s retail trade declined by 15.8% year on year in March 2020, following a 20.5% slump in January-February, as consumers remain cautious amid the coronavirus crisis. Total FMCG: Across ecommerce and leading hypermarkets, recover dynamics started as of second half of March, and continue in first two weeks of April. Food: Continuous growth across all provinces of China except for Fujian. Homebody economy continues to drive in-home consumption. 

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour

China will begin trialling payments in its new digital currency in four major cities from first week of May, according to domestic media. Agriculture Bank of China is first to support this trial. So, people who have paper currency with them have to give it to the bank and in return, the banks give them access to an app and a Sim card like a chip. The app is for local transactions and the chip-based card is for transactions in retail shops. The payment functionality in the app includes the ability to make retail payments by scanning a barcode, to send money, request a payment and touch phones for p2p payments. In terms of wallet management, users can manage funds, link the wallet to other accounts and review all transactions.

White Fish Market

The now expected mid week lull in landings with three auctions.  Peterhead 5 boats / 2301 boxes, Shetland 6 boats / 1548 boxes and Scrabster 1 boat / 412 boxes.  Overall total 12 boats / 4261 boxes.
 
Pd sale very domestic orientated being made up mainly of haddock, cod then whiting.  Prices for haddock increased across all sizes including the smallest grades, as did cod.  Whiting was back a little on where it was yesterday, but demand was still strong.
 
Saithe and hake were the next two largest, and while demand on hake was much improved,  the saithe, even with half of Tuesday’s volume, was still only a touch over where we were yesterday, but it is still very much in line with Hanstholm.
 
With quite a few boats either stopped or only just restarted we’re still not expecting much in Pd over the rest of the week, but with the 8 day tie up scheme concluding on June 2nd we should hopefully begin to see a more balanced/regular landing patter emerge as we move into June.
 
On the processing side there is still a small number still to restart operations, but the vast majority are now back with either a full or partial staff, and it would be hoped that as landings increase this should encourage those final few absent back to into the market place.
 
Finally while prawns are not our primary business, we are picking up signals from the Italian market that some renewed demand may begin to come through shortly for frozen, however pricing and volume remains to be seen.
 
Demersal vessels operational  =  77

Thanks to Bill McKenzie, The Don Fishing Company for these updates.

 

Lockdown timetable for this week

On Thursday, providing there are no adverse disease developments, the First Minister will announce the move to Phase 1 of the easing of lockdown restrictions. The headline element in phase 1 is a relaxation on personal movements, allowing you to meet one other household at a time. There are few major developments for the food and drink sector, although there are some further relaxations for outdoor work and food-to-go outlets. Any relaxations announced on Thursday will not take effect until Friday.

Seafish Training Funding

Funding for fishermen’s e-learning 

Funding has been provided by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Trinity House to enable us to offer free online tutor support and assessments via our network of approved training providers for the following Seafish Online Training courses: 

  • Navigation
  • Engineering
  • Stability awareness

These courses have been selected for funding because they make up some of the requirements of our voluntary under 16.5m skipper certificates. Fishermen who pass the online supervised end-of-course assessments will be issued with Seafish certificates for two-day navigation, two-day engineering and one-day stability awareness for experienced fishermen.

Any fishermen wanting to take advantage of this offer should contact our Fishermen’s Training team on training@seafish.co.uk. The team will provide whatever assistance is required and arrange tutor support and/or assessment.

Funded e-learning for onshore workers

As a special measure during the Covid-19 lockdown, Seafish is subsidising the cost of e-learning for workers in the onshore sectors of the seafood industry. 

Funding will cover the full cost of the following e-learning courses, allowing learners who pass an invigilated exam to gain a regulated qualification for free:

Funding can also be used to contribute towards the cost of our remote learning Intermediate Food Hygiene qualification. Further information on this course is available on our Food Hygiene and HACCP Training Courses webpage.

Funding can also support part of the cost of the following taught courses, delivered by video conference software:

This funding to support onshore training courses is available during May 2020. To register for support please apply to onshore@seafish.co.uk using this expression of interest form, or via your local Seafish approved trainer.

Seafish Social Media Courses

Seafish are partnering with Mindfully Wired Communications to host free social media workshops for UK seafood businesses.
 
Webinars are open to fishermen, merchants, fishmongers, marketing teams, business owners, and supportive family members, their aim is to enhance direct sales of UK seafood through professional social media use. Two webinars are scheduled; one for beginners and one to build on skills to expand online presence.
 
Please see the following links for further information and how to register a place. 
 

28th May:      Social Media Marketing: Tools to Boost Your Online Impact                               

 
We are requesting only one person per business as spaces are limited to 25 per session. If these are fully subscribed people can still add their name to a waiting list, the events will be repeated if there is enough interest.
 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills? 

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish *Complete*

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish *Complete*

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today herez.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

26th May

The Scottish Manufacturing Guidance was published today. This guidance has been developed to sit alongside Food Standards Scotland guidance that we have currently been following and can be found here.

White Fish Market

Two auctions today – Peterhead 9 boats / 4106 boxes and Shetland 5 boats / 1368 boxes.  Overall total 14 boats / 5474 boxes.
 
The overspill of hake from yesterday sold first and pricing matters did not improve, however as per yesterday at least larger sizes maintained a return of sorts, if not an overly good one.  The rest of the auction was mainly made up of haddock, then cod and saithe.  Cod seems to have found it’s level for now, which is between £2 and £3/kg, but saithe dipped back today, which would tie in with Hanstholm pricing  where 71 tons yesterday and 60 tons today averaged out at 90ppkg. Haddock continues to make very good money for larger grades and reasonable for middling, but the smallest two sizes are struggling to average out at £1/kg. Whiting is now less evident on the market, but continues to sell very well when landed, and will continue to do so until north sea haddock really comes on in good condition.  
 
Right now we’re not foreseeing any large volume of boats hitting Pd auction over the rest of the week so it could be generally considered that most prices should at least hold, but probably more likely rise over the next few days. However, the French holiday on Monday could suppress some of the export demand as we move closer to the end of the week, however nothing as catastrophic as we saw in the lead up to the holidays on May 1st and 8th is foreseen.
 
Demersal vessels operational =  69

Thanks to Bill McKenzie, The Don Fishing Company for these updates.

Air passenger quarantine rules published

As expected, the rules on the mandatory quarantine of air passengers arriving in the UK were published. The new restrictions are expected to come into effect on 8 June. You can read more detail here
In summary, all arriving passengers will be required to fill in a ‘contact locator form’ to provide contact and travel information so they can be contacted if they, or someone they may have been in contact with, develops the disease. Arriving passengers will then be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Importantly, there are limited exemptions and you can find the full list here.

The exemptions include:

  • Seasonal Agricultural Workers who will self-isolate on the property where they are working
  • A worker with specialist technical skills required for essential or emergency works or services to ensure the continued production, supply, movement, manufacture, storage or preservation of goods

 

Lockdown timetable for this week

On Thursday, providing there are no adverse disease developments, the First Minister will announce the move to Phase 1 of the easing of lockdown restrictions. The headline element in phase 1 is a relaxation on personal movements, allowing you to meet one other household at a time. There are few major developments for the food and drink sector, although there are some further relaxations for outdoor work and food-to-go outlets. Any relaxations announced on Thursday will not take effect until Friday.

Seafish Training Funding

Funding for fishermen’s e-learning 

Funding has been provided by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Trinity House to enable us to offer free online tutor support and assessments via our network of approved training providers for the following Seafish Online Training courses: 

  • Navigation
  • Engineering
  • Stability awareness

These courses have been selected for funding because they make up some of the requirements of our voluntary under 16.5m skipper certificates. Fishermen who pass the online supervised end-of-course assessments will be issued with Seafish certificates for two-day navigation, two-day engineering and one-day stability awareness for experienced fishermen.

Any fishermen wanting to take advantage of this offer should contact our Fishermen’s Training team on training@seafish.co.uk. The team will provide whatever assistance is required and arrange tutor support and/or assessment.

Funded e-learning for onshore workers

As a special measure during the Covid-19 lockdown, Seafish is subsidising the cost of e-learning for workers in the onshore sectors of the seafood industry. 

Funding will cover the full cost of the following e-learning courses, allowing learners who pass an invigilated exam to gain a regulated qualification for free:

Funding can also be used to contribute towards the cost of our remote learning Intermediate Food Hygiene qualification. Further information on this course is available on our Food Hygiene and HACCP Training Courses webpage.

Funding can also support part of the cost of the following taught courses, delivered by video conference software:

This funding to support onshore training courses is available during May 2020. To register for support please apply to onshore@seafish.co.uk using this expression of interest form, or via your local Seafish approved trainer.

Seafish Social Media Courses

Seafish are partnering with Mindfully Wired Communications to host free social media workshops for UK seafood businesses.
 
Webinars are open to fishermen, merchants, fishmongers, marketing teams, business owners, and supportive family members, their aim is to enhance direct sales of UK seafood through professional social media use. Two webinars are scheduled; one for beginners and one to build on skills to expand online presence.
 
Please see the following links for further information and how to register a place. 
 

28th May:      Social Media Marketing: Tools to Boost Your Online Impact                               

 
We are requesting only one person per business as spaces are limited to 25 per session. If these are fully subscribed people can still add their name to a waiting list, the events will be repeated if there is enough interest.
 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Next one is tomorrow – we already have 230 Scottish chefs signed up for tomorrow!

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills? 

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish *Complete*

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

21st May

White Fish Market

Three auctions today. Peterhead 11 boats / 3301 boxes, Shetland 4 boats / 999 boxes and KLB 1 boat / 120 boxes.  Overall total 16 boats / 4420 boxes.
 
With almost 900 boxes on the auction, Peterhead possibly saw the largest landing of cod since the end of March and happily, even with the bank holiday looming on Monday, prices were good with no obvious signs of the market creaking due to oversupply.
 
While there was an evident lack of better sized haddock and whiting on offer today, which resulted in the prices for both going up on yesterday, the balance of the auction was generally a decent mix with more flats such as plaice and lemon sole beginning to appear as some vessels which would normally target nephrops switch over to flats.  The price for the small plaice isn’t great (60ppkg), but at a probable ratio of 3 plaice : 1 lemons,  grosses are being pulled up by good demand on the sole resulting in what would generally be considered viable fishing.
 
Pd auction tomorrow will be light (<2000 boxes), but with what’s due for the start of next week, and depending on the level of private sales over the weekend, we could be struggling to get all in under the 5k limit on Monday.   Scrabster will have an 800 box + market tomorrow, and it would be expected a sale will occur in Shetland.
 
Demersal vessels operational  = 73

Thanks to Bill McKenzie, The Don Fishing Company for these updates.

Seafish Training Funding

Funding for fishermen’s e-learning 

Funding has been provided by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) and Trinity House to enable us to offer free online tutor support and assessments via our network of approved training providers for the following Seafish Online Training courses: 

  • Navigation
  • Engineering
  • Stability awareness

These courses have been selected for funding because they make up some of the requirements of our voluntary under 16.5m skipper certificates. Fishermen who pass the online supervised end-of-course assessments will be issued with Seafish certificates for two-day navigation, two-day engineering and one-day stability awareness for experienced fishermen.

Any fishermen wanting to take advantage of this offer should contact our Fishermen’s Training team on training@seafish.co.uk. The team will provide whatever assistance is required and arrange tutor support and/or assessment.

Funded e-learning for onshore workers

As a special measure during the Covid-19 lockdown, Seafish is subsidising the cost of e-learning for workers in the onshore sectors of the seafood industry. 

Funding will cover the full cost of the following e-learning courses, allowing learners who pass an invigilated exam to gain a regulated qualification for free:

Funding can also be used to contribute towards the cost of our remote learning Intermediate Food Hygiene qualification. Further information on this course is available on our Food Hygiene and HACCP Training Courses webpage.

Funding can also support part of the cost of the following taught courses, delivered by video conference software:

This funding to support onshore training courses is available during May 2020. To register for support please apply to onshore@seafish.co.uk using this expression of interest form, or via your local Seafish approved trainer.

Seafish Social Media Courses

Seafish are partnering with Mindfully Wired Communications to host free social media workshops for UK seafood businesses.
 
Webinars are open to fishermen, merchants, fishmongers, marketing teams, business owners, and supportive family members, their aim is to enhance direct sales of UK seafood through professional social media use. Two webinars are scheduled; one for beginners and one to build on skills to expand online presence.
 
Please see the following links for further information and how to register a place. 
 

22nd May:     Social Media for Beginners: Getting Started with Online Marketing 
28th May:      Social Media Marketing: Tools to Boost Your Online Impact                               

 
We are requesting only one person per business as spaces are limited to 25 per session. If these are fully subscribed people can still add their name to a waiting list, the events will be repeated if there is enough interest.
 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Today we hosted out first fishmonger masterclass and had 150 chefs online and we are receiving fantastic reviews. Please pass on to any chefs you know about the next one, which is next Wednesday.

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills? 

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish *Complete*

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

20th May

French Market Update

Update on food service
• Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, raised the possibility of dedicating streets to restaurants to support the restart of their activity. “We are going to make sure that they can expand into the public space so that they can work in satisfactory sanitary conditions. And this will continue until September. Entire streets could be reserved for them free of charge,” the mayor told the newspaper. Anne Hidalgo explains that parking spaces could be reserved in these same streets.
In addition, Anne Hidalgo says that a “zero tax” system should be put in place for the capital’s bars, cafés and restaurants. “They will be exempt from road charges, taxes on stalls or terraces,” she says. “The special fee for non-household waste will also be abolished.”
• In order to strengthen the catering offer in the business district, Paris La Défense has organised the return of Food Trucks from Tuesday 12 May.
• Sodexo (a French investor in the UK) has partnered with the Uber Eats delivery platform for home meal delivery in France as part of its Ready-to-Share project, offering family size meals. In a trend seen elsewhere in the food industry, home grown products are given preference over imported ones. Meals are prepared with 100% French-origin beef, pork and chicken parts, sustainably fished seasonal fish, fruit and vegetables. 60% of Sodexo’s supplies are from short circuits.
• Buffalo Grill, No. 1 French chain restaurant with table service, has just announced that it will reopen 200 of its 360 restaurants as of 11 May. In partnership with Uber Eats, it is deploying delivery but also launching click & collect and takeaway sales.
• High-end gastronomy restaurants have found ways to keep their activity going from take away options, deliveries, online cooking lessons to restaurant’s drive-through.
• Between 24 and 30 April 2020, the trade union Brasseurs de France consulted all its members (nearly 300 companies) on the impacts of the Covid-19 crisis. According to this study, 25% of the breweries are at a complete standstill and less than 10% plan to restart their production in May. In addition, 40% of companies are experiencing a drop in production of at least 60%.

Update on retail
• The pressure from unions and government to show ‘economic patriotism’ has worked well, though price and availability of goods are still big factors in the success of this trend. France imports half of its fruit and vegetables, making it impossible for supermarkets to only buy local, so patriotism will likely be seasonal. Carrefour is prioritising French produce (95%) but will still buy missing produce from elsewhere. Intermarché says that buying French is pricier and that might not appeal to all. Leclerc mentions that non-French produce in its shops is scarce. The (union) Confederation Paysanne propose regulation of imports, e.g. importing strawberries when France is not producing them – but this would go against European treaties, which they are asking to be reviewed.
As a retailer often at the centre of controversies around farmer’s fair remuneration, Leclerc retail chain is launching a new brand, “Engagé” (=Committed), that offers three guarantees: better remuneration to support French farmers, animal welfare practices, GMO-free and/or antibiotic-free products.
• The national deconfinement protocol was updated over the weekend. It allows one person per 8m² of sales floor space (in addition to the 1 person per 4 m² of residual surface area, rule). For establishments with a residual surface area of more than 40,000 m², reopening is authorised unless local authorities have issued a prohibition order. Such a prohibition applies to shopping centre in Ile-de France and includes flagship department stores such as Les Galeries Lafayette and Printemps.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour

• Frozen foods are once again the fastest growing segment of the food market. According to the analyst, the value of sales of salted frozen foods is up 18% over the same period a year ago. The sweet frozen food and particularly ice cream, took advantage of favourable weather conditions, progressing by nearly 53% (VS 1 year).

According to a Harris Interactive/Observatoire Cetelem survey, this period of slowdown has encouraged 89% of French people to ask themselves questions about the way they consume, particularly in favour of a more responsible/sustainable lifestyle (84%). More specifically, 47% feel that they consume more organic food products- with a peak at 60% among the under 35 year old-, and 76% prefer “Made in France” products. Concerned about their diet, the French have favoured healthy and local products. This is what the latest study by the Observatoire E.Leclerc des Nouvelles Consommations (E.Leclerc Observatory of New Consumption) conducted at the end of April showed. 45% of French people have increased their selection of French origin products and from short circuits (37%). 29% of French people say they will attach more importance to the impact of their food on the environment after May 11th.
According to Kantar, at the beginning of April, 53% of consumers favoured direct sales to producers.
• Containment also had other effects on eating habits. An Ifop study for the Just Eat meal delivery platform revealed that during this period, 20% of French people ate more often together around a table. In addition, 1/3 of the respondents indicated that they had prepared 100% homemade meals.
• Lockdown has had an impact on the weight of most French people, according to the Ifop study for Darwin Nutrition. 57% of the people surveyed admit to having gained weight since March 17th. They have thus gained 2.5 kg on average since the implementation of containment. To remedy this, one French person in five is considering a diet at the end of the health crisis but, above all, 56% of respondents plan to eat healthier as soon as the confinement is lifted.
• According to an OpinionWay study carried out for the NGO Max Havelaar, while 35% of French people say they choose their items according to availability on the shelves, 65% opt for ethical products. As soon as the confinement ends, more than 80% of consumers surveyed believe that they will adopt a more “responsible” consumption. The respondents also say they are concerned about the fate of farmers: 66% of French people consider that farmers are not sufficiently remunerated.

Current situation
• France’s first phase of progressive deconfinement started on May 11th, following detailed measures set out by the Prime Minister May 7th. The Health Minister presented a map of France, categorising each départment (county), as red or green based on criteria including active circulation of the virus, and the pressure on hospitals’ intensive care capacity. This categorisation will dictate the extent to which local authorities are able to adapt the Government’s deconfinement strategy locally. The Government will now monitor health figures closely ahead of a review on 2nd Jun where a decision will be taken on whether further easing of restrictions is possible in green departements, including potentially allowing some bars and restaurants to reopen.
Social gatherings are allowed for groups up to 10 people. Until September, no events with more than 5000 people will be allowed.
On Thursday 14 May 2020, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced a plan of “18 billion euros in commitments” to support the tourism sector. He assured that “French people will be able to go on holiday in France in July and August”. Cafés and restaurants could reopen on 2 June in the green departments: the final decision on the reopning will be taken on May 25th.
The First Minister and Economy Minister have indicated that shopping centres of more than 40,000 m² will finally be able to reopen as of May 11. The exception is Ile-de-France, which is classified as a red zone.

White Fish Market

The expected mid-week dip in landings after 2 larger landings Monday and Tuesday, but still three auctions again today. Peterhead 8 boats / 4189 boxes, Shetland 2 boats / 320 boxes and Scrabster 1 boat / 149 boxes .  Overall total 11 boats / 4658 boxes.
 
Peterhead auction heavier with domestic market species today such as cod and haddock today, but there was also a reasonable amount of whiting and saithe.  Export species- monk, ling, megrim and hake- only making up 10% of the auction.  The auctions in Shetland and Scrabster are very similar to PD with more emphasis on domestic than export species.
 
Prices are best described as workable rather than good, and nothing other than the very best quality, especially haddock and (relatively scarce) whiting, is hitting any high notes.
 
Pd Market tomorrow expected to be approx. 3000 boxes and then light on Friday.  
 
Demersal vessels operational = 70

Thanks to Bill McKenzie, The Don Fishing Company for these updates.

Seafish Social Media Courses

Seafish are partnering with Mindfully Wired Communications to host free social media workshops for UK seafood businesses.
 
Webinars are open to fishermen, merchants, fishmongers, marketing teams, business owners, and supportive family members, their aim is to enhance direct sales of UK seafood through professional social media use. Two webinars are scheduled; one for beginners and one to build on skills to expand online presence.
 
Please see the following links for further information and how to register a place. 
 

22nd May:     Social Media for Beginners: Getting Started with Online Marketing 
28th May:      Social Media Marketing: Tools to Boost Your Online Impact                               

 
We are requesting only one person per business as spaces are limited to 25 per session. If these are fully subscribed people can still add their name to a waiting list, the events will be repeated if there is enough interest.
 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Today we hosted out first fishmonger masterclass and had 150 chefs online and we are receiving fantastic reviews. Please pass on to any chefs you know about the next one, which is next Wednesday.

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills? 

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish *Complete*

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here
 

Business funding

The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund closed for applications on Monday. It was announced today that the fund has had another £30 million committed to it, taking the total to £120 million. The assumption is that this additional money will help deal with the demand from existing applications and doesn’t mean the scheme will re-open again. The news on successful applications continues to be fed out to applicants. If you haven’t heard yet, you will in the coming days.

Testing

We understand there will be an announcement tomorrow on antibody testing plans. This is obviously significant as testing so far has only be available to confirm active cases and hasn’t been available to confirm a previous infection and subsequent recovery. I have no detail on what may be announced tomorrow, but hopefully we will have a clearer timeline on availability of an antibody test, which has proved elusive so far. A reminder again that the current testing (to determine if someone is currently infected) is available to anyone in Scotland over the age of five.   

Test, trace, isolate, support – the plans

You will have seen widespread coverage of the Isle of Wight trial on a new app to track those who have been in contact with people who test positive for Covid-19. There remains little information on the effectiveness of the trial. In the meantime, three NHS areas in Scotland are trialling a different app. This, however, will not use the proximity technology (GPS etc) as the means of tracing contacts. Instead, normal follow up discussions with a confirmed case will identify these individuals. However, what is unclear are the implications for businesses of this approach. People who have been in a certain level of contact with a confirmed case have to isolate for 14 days. There is therefore the very real prospect of major disruption to manufacturing if an individual tests positive and it requires others in the workforce to then isolate. We have suggested that Government runs a trial of a mock case in a manufacturing setting to determine what level of action would be needed, to help plan for that eventuality. The key mitigating factor is also the speed at which contacts can then be tested and results received (with the aim of 24-48 hour turnaround). We should have more information on this as plans develop and will continue discussing this with Government.

What is happening later this week

Thursday – tomorrow sees the publication of a route-map for Scotland out of restrictions. This will give us further indications of the timetable for re-opening parts of the economy and the easing of restrictions on personal movements.

Friday – we are likely to see the publication of new guidance for manufacturers.  However this publication date has been a moving feast, so there are no guarantees it will emerge on Friday.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

19th May

White Fish Market

Three auctions today.  Peterhead 10 boats/ 5139 boxes, Shetland 3 boats / 746 boxes and Scrabster 1 boat / 175 boxes.   Total 14 boats / 6060 boxes.

PD auction heavier with hake and saithe, but there were still decent volumes of cod, haddock, monk and ling available.  Whiting starting to fade off now and megrim a little scarcer than it has been for the last few weeks.  With three Rockall boats on auction today, we’re now down to two left to land (by end of this week)  then that will probably be it for volume off the Rock until the squid fishery gets going.

Allowing for some poorer quality haddock that did not sell well, prices were still generally a little back on yesterday, but we tend to think that the haddock landings over the last couple of days have sated the demand on larger sizes for now.  The hake price is best described as viably steady but unspectacular, and with the Ascension Day holiday coming up in France on Thursday, saithe lost a little ground on yesterday, but still settled above a £1 on balances.

Seven vessels already due for Pd tomorrow so a reasonable auction is expected.  Looking less clear towards the end of the week as with the bank holiday coming up on Monday possibly making Friday auction unattractive, and somewhat poorer fishing, a few vessels may take the weekend and come up for Monday, which would be about the latest for those still to undertake the 8 day tie up.

Demersal vessels operational = 70

Thanks to Bill McKenzie, The Don Fishing Company for these updates.

UK’s new MFN tariff regime, the UK Global Tariff Announcement

The UK’s new MFN tariff regime will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff on 1 January 2021 at the end of the Transition Period was announced today. The full announcement and details can be found here.

“Our new tariff is tailored to the needs of the UK economy. It will support the economy by making it easier and cheaper for businesses to import goods from overseas. It is a simpler, easier to use and lower tariff regime than the EU’s Common External Tariff (EU CET) and will be in pounds (£), not euros. It will scrap red tape and other unnecessary barriers to trade, reduce cost pressures and increase choice for consumers and back UK industries to compete on the global stage.

The Government is taking a common-sense approach to our new tariff schedule by streamlining and simplifying nearly 6,000 tariff lines, and lowering costs for businesses by reducing administrative burdens. The changes include scrapping unnecessary tariff variations, rounding tariffs down to standardised percentages, and getting rid of all “nuisance tariffs” (those below 2%).

We are also getting rid of the EU’s complex Meursing table, allowing us to scrap thousands of unnecessary tariff variations on products – including over 13,000 tariff variations on products like biscuits, waffles, pizzas, quiches, confectionery, and spreads. The UKGT also expands tariff free trade by eliminating tariffs on a wide range of products.

The Government is maintaining tariffs on a number of products backing UK industries such as agriculture, automotive and fishing. This will help to support businesses in every region and nation of the UK to thrive.”

Seafish Social Media Courses

Seafish are partnering with Mindfully Wired Communications to host free social media workshops for UK seafood businesses.

Webinars are open to fishermen, merchants, fishmongers, marketing teams, business owners, and supportive family members, their aim is to enhance direct sales of UK seafood through professional social media use. Two webinars are scheduled; one for beginners and one to build on skills to expand online presence.

Please see the following links for further information and how to register a place.
22nd May:     Social Media for Beginners: Getting Started with Online Marketing
28th May:      Social Media Marketing: Tools to Boost Your Online Impact

We are requesting only one person per business as spaces are limited to 25 per session. If these are fully subscribed people can still add their name to a waiting list, the events will be repeated if there is enough interest.
Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills?

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here

Guidance coming this week

There are four pieces of guidance this week. The first yesterday, the other three are likely in the coming days.

  1. Change of public health advice: the loss of sense of taste or smell has now been added as the third symptom which should trigger isolation (alongside a continuous cough or fever). Any of these symptoms on their own – or combined – should result in your entire household self-isolating for 14 days and the effected individual should not leave the house for 7 days. The only circumstances in which this alters is if you have a negative test for Covid-19. A reminder that a test can be arranged if you work in the food and drink sector and you are in the first three days of having symptoms. The access to testing is also open to your household members too, should they suffer one of the three symptoms referred to above.
  2. Manufacturing guidance: the publication of new guidance for the whole manufacturing sector – and specific guidance for the food and drink sector – is expect to be published imminently in Scotland. We will update you when it emerges and highlight if there are any significant differences to the current guidance.
  3. Road out of lockdown: a further Scottish Government framework document is expected to be set out by the First Minister this week. In line with other regions of the UK, it is expected to provide a clearer timetable for unwinding restrictions. We will summarise it here when it is published.
  4. Quarantine plans: we expect news in the next 24-48 hours on how the new quarantine plans will be enforced for incoming air passengers. There is a debate ongoing around seasonal workers in particular and how they – and other groups – may be exempt from the standard 14-day isolation requirement.

Test, trace, isolate and support – the app

There has been a lot of coverage of the planned roll-out of a mobile phone app to trace the movements of individuals and alert them should one of their regular contacts test positive for Covid-19. It has been trialled on the Isle of Wight, but there is little information published yet on the success or otherwise of the trial. In addition, there are now trials planned in some NHS areas in Scotland but this is a different app to the one being trialled in the Isle of Wight.. There remain significant questions on how the app will deal with issues in the workplace with staff coming into regular contact with each other and what a policy of isolating contacts will mean for business. At this stage, the roll out in Scotland of the app does not seem imminent, but we will update you as plans develop.

Consumer campaign for SupportLocal.scot

Scotland Food & Drink launched an integrated advertising campaign to promote the Support Local directory to the Scottish public. The four-week campaign features across radio and digital platforms and encourages consumers to use the directory to find Scottish food and drink producers now delivering or offering a click and collect service. We have almost 300 businesses on the directory and if you’ve not signed up yet you can do so on the website here (scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
>> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

15th May

Re-opening of Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund

This fund re-opened for new applications a few hours ago and is likely to remain open until Monday evening (5pm). The doubling of funding for the scheme to £90 million has been a key factor in its re-opening. As a reminder, the broad target for this grant fund are businesses that have not been able to access grant funding through other mechanisms. They must have less than 250 employees and less than €50 million (euros) in turnover. In addition, you must be able to demonstrate that you would ordinarily be viable, are vital to the local or national economy but currently vulnerable (with cashflow projections demonstrating financial distress caused by events related to Covid-19). In short, if you want to apply, act quickly as the fund is only likely to be open until 5pm on Monday.  The information and link to apply is here.

Seafish Social Media Courses

Seafish are partnering with Mindfully Wired Communications to host free social media workshops for UK seafood businesses.
 
Webinars are open to fishermen, merchants, fishmongers, marketing teams, business owners, and supportive family members, their aim is to enhance direct sales of UK seafood through professional social media use. Two webinars are scheduled; one for beginners and one to build on skills to expand online presence.
 
Please see the following links for further information and how to register a place. 
 

22nd May:     Social Media for Beginners: Getting Started with Online Marketing 
28th May:      Social Media Marketing: Tools to Boost Your Online Impact                               

 
We are requesting only one person per business as spaces are limited to 25 per session. If these are fully subscribed people can still add their name to a waiting list, the events will be repeated if there is enough interest.
 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills? 

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here
 

**Reminder**

China Digital & eCommerce Webinar with ZUDU and Scottish Development International on 19th May 2020

Scottish Development International in association with ZUDU will host a webinar on 19th May 2020 10am-11am.
 
Are you a company who wishes to trade with China? Join us for this webinar session to learn about the digital space in China, and how this has evolved in recent months. We’ll look at the current situation in China, how Covid-19 has affected the market, and how Chinese organisations have adapted their business models and invested in digital technologies. By doing so, many Chinese companies have mitigated the impacts of Covid-19 and have adapted to the rapidly changing environment. This workshop will provide practical guidance to companies on how to reach Chinese consumers through effective digital and eCommerce strategies, and touch on some of the first hand experiences of Scottish companies through the pandemic. Companies can learn from the recent experience in China and discover opportunities to adapt their business models and react quickly to the evolving markets across the world. This webinar will be presented by James Buchan who is Managing Director of Zudu, a company which has been helping companies break into and grow their presence in the Chinese market for several years. Supported by Xiaoxiao Zhang, China Marketing Manager of Zudu, who has been working with Zudu since graduating from the University of Dundee and developed platforms designed to help Scottish companies break into the Chinese market.
 
To book your place, register via this link – China Digital & eCommerce: An International Trade Opportunity.

Coronavirus Information Hub

 

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance 
 

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

14th May

Re-opening of Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund

This fund re-opened for new applications a few hours ago and is likely to remain open until Monday evening (5pm). The doubling of funding for the scheme to £90 million has been a key factor in its re-opening. As a reminder, the broad target for this grant fund are businesses that have not been able to access grant funding through other mechanisms. They must have less than 250 employees and less than €50 million (euros) in turnover. In addition, you must be able to demonstrate that you would ordinarily be viable, are vital to the local or national economy but currently vulnerable (with cashflow projections demonstrating financial distress caused by events related to Covid-19). In short, if you want to apply, act quickly as the fund is only likely to be open until 5pm on Monday.  The information and link to apply is here.
 

Seafood Scotland Pro Chef Fishmonger Masterclasses

Do you know any chefs looking to brush up on the fishmonger skills? 

Hosted by acclaimed Scottish seafood chef Roy Brett, and Fishmonger, Author and Channel 4 presenter CJ Jackson from The Seafood School at Billingsgate, the Fishmonger Masterclass series offers you the unique chance to develop and improve your seafood preparation skills for when you’re back in the kitchen.

Fishmonger Masterclasses

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 10.30am – Round Fish

WEDNESDAY 27 MAY 10.30am – Shellfish

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE 10.30am – Flat Fish

Within this series you will learn what to look for when sourcing quality Scottish seafood along with the different fishmongering techniques across a range of species. We will also cover sustainability and seasonality as well as providing you with useful hints and tips around how to achieve the best margins and use from a whole fish or shellfish. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions to our hosts during each Fishmonger Masterclass.

Places are limited and on a first come first served basis, so don’t miss out and register today here
 

**Reminder**

China Digital & eCommerce Webinar with ZUDU and Scottish Development International on 19th May 2020

Scottish Development International in association with ZUDU will host a webinar on 19th May 2020 10am-11am.
 
Are you a company who wishes to trade with China? Join us for this webinar session to learn about the digital space in China, and how this has evolved in recent months. We’ll look at the current situation in China, how Covid-19 has affected the market, and how Chinese organisations have adapted their business models and invested in digital technologies. By doing so, many Chinese companies have mitigated the impacts of Covid-19 and have adapted to the rapidly changing environment. This workshop will provide practical guidance to companies on how to reach Chinese consumers through effective digital and eCommerce strategies, and touch on some of the first hand experiences of Scottish companies through the pandemic. Companies can learn from the recent experience in China and discover opportunities to adapt their business models and react quickly to the evolving markets across the world. This webinar will be presented by James Buchan who is Managing Director of Zudu, a company which has been helping companies break into and grow their presence in the Chinese market for several years. Supported by Xiaoxiao Zhang, China Marketing Manager of Zudu, who has been working with Zudu since graduating from the University of Dundee and developed platforms designed to help Scottish companies break into the Chinese market.
 
To book your place, register via this link – China Digital & eCommerce: An International Trade Opportunity.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

13th May

China Digital & eCommerce Webinar with ZUDU and Scottish Development International on 19th May 2020

Scottish Development International in association with ZUDU will host a webinar on 19th May 2020 10am-11am.
 
Are you a company who wishes to trade with China? Join us for this webinar session to learn about the digital space in China, and how this has evolved in recent months. We’ll look at the current situation in China, how Covid-19 has affected the market, and how Chinese organisations have adapted their business models and invested in digital technologies. By doing so, many Chinese companies have mitigated the impacts of Covid-19 and have adapted to the rapidly changing environment. This workshop will provide practical guidance to companies on how to reach Chinese consumers through effective digital and eCommerce strategies, and touch on some of the first hand experiences of Scottish companies through the pandemic. Companies can learn from the recent experience in China and discover opportunities to adapt their business models and react quickly to the evolving markets across the world. This webinar will be presented by James Buchan who is Managing Director of Zudu, a company which has been helping companies break into and grow their presence in the Chinese market for several years. Supported by Xiaoxiao Zhang, China Marketing Manager of Zudu, who has been working with Zudu since graduating from the University of Dundee and developed platforms designed to help Scottish companies break into the Chinese market.
 
To book your place, register via this link – China Digital & eCommerce: An International Trade Opportunity.
 

UK Government scheme to support credit insurance 

In yesterday’s update it was highlighted that work was ongoing between the insurance industry and Government on trade credit insurance. The result of those talks was announced this morning by the Treasury. The UK Government is going to temporarily guarantee business-to-business transactions that are currently supported by trade credit insurance. The fear has been that with some businesses being unable to pay bills that either credit insurance cover could be withdrawn or that premiums could skyrocket. This new reinsurance protection from Government should ensure the vast majority of insurance coverage will be maintained. It’s not entirely clear when the scheme will be up and running, but you can see the detail of the news here.

Manufacturing guidance – the current state of play

The UK Government has published new guidance for manufacturers to continue or resume production whilst managing the Covid-19 risk.  However, this guidance is for ENGLAND ONLY. The Scottish Government is working on manufacturing guidance and, separately, there will be further guidance developed by Food Standards Scotland. At this stage, it is not expected that the new FSS guidance will depart from the very clear and helpful information FSS has had in place for some weeks now. We would continue to urge all business to use that FSS guidance as the clear ‘manual’ for how to operate and perform their risk assessments on site.

Quarantine measures

Discussions continue on how the new 14 day quarantine period will be enforced for air passengers coming into the UK. It could affect seasonal labour coming in to Scotland. There are also some suggestions that brief business trips abroad, when they resume, may be exempt from the quarantine requirements. We’ll share more information when we have it.

Furlough – existing scheme runs to August, then changes

A reminder that the existing furlough scheme will now run in its current form until the end of July (a one month extension). A new form of the scheme will then continue for a further three months from August to October. In the new period, the scheme will still guarantee 80% wages for furloughed staff however businesses will be asked to share the cost with Government (in what proportion is unclear). In addition, workers will be able to work part-time in their normal employment and be on furlough for the remainder of their normal working week. Full details on the post-August plan will be published by the end of the month. The detail as we know it so far is here.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

12th May

Furlough scheme extended

The big news today, as expected, has been the extension of the furlough scheme. There is lots of detail still to come but we know the scheme will now run until the end of October (a four-month extension) and employees will continue to receive 80% of their salary, capped at £2,500 a month. But major changes will be introduced from August. From then, so-called ‘flexible furlough’ will be introduced allowing furloughed workers to return on a part-time basis, something which we and many others have been calling for. However, employers are expected to share the cost of furlough with Government after July. How much of the furlough wages will have to be picked up by businesses is unknown. The Chancellor has said more information on how the revised scheme will work after July will be published by the end of May. In the meantime, you can see the detail that we do know here.

Credit insurance

There is work going on within the insurance industry around credit insurance support. We don’t know many details yet but recognise that this could be an important part of the restart and recovery process for businesses as restrictions are eased. The concern over the ability of some of our customers to pay for products and services is going to be significant so support around credit insurance will be more important than ever. We’ll share more information when we have it.

Access to ingredients, material and services – feedback needed

If any of you are struggling with access to key resources or services, please can you share that with us so we can feed the information into Government. For example, demand for perspex has increased significantly as manufacturers, retailers and others purchase it to assist with physical distancing. We hear lead times for these orders may be lengthening.  Likewise, there appears to be a proliferation of businesses offering ‘deep clean’ services and some concern at the quality of service that may be delivered. If you are experiencing any issues around access to products or services, please let us know

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

11th May

A number of countries are now looking at the easing of lockdown and for Scottish seafood a large part of the exports are destined for food service across the world. Below is the proposed dates for the start of relaxation of lockdown in respect of restaurants and bars. To caveat this, these are initial dates should the virus continue to slow down in these countries. As these countries start to ease lockdown, tourism will not be part of this initial wave of lockdown which has implications for logistics as many of the countries outwith Europe rely on passenger planes to get the product to market.

Italy – I June will see the start of opening of restaurants and bars

Belgium – starting to reopen 8 June

France – Decision to be made at the end of May

Germany – restaurants are gradually starting to open this week 

Spain – gradual reopen – outside terrace restaurants can open at 30% capacity from today and indoor restaurants at 30% capacity can open from 26 May

Dubai – Restaurants open at 30% capacity

USA – different in each state – 8 have announced opening protocols

China – gradual opening of restaurants occurring now

Hong Kong – restaurants open and observing social distancing

Japan – restaurants open

Singapore – restaurants operating for take away only at present

Thailand – restaurants in Bangkok open observing social distancing
 
 

Future of furlough

An update will be given by the UK government tomorrow on the future of the furlough scheme

 

Lockdown extended in Scotland

As expected, lockdown restrictions in Scotland have been extended. The working assumption is that it is a three week extension of lockdown (to 28 May) however it was repeated that the Scottish Government could introduce relaxations at any time before the next fixed, three-weekly review. The only relaxation is the rules around households being able to take more regular outdoor exercise.
 

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot for consumers.

Click here to get listed on the Support Local website.

We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.

 

Coronavirus Information Hub

 

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

>> Financial assistance 
 

>> Business help

>> Webinars & guides

Workforce

>> Adapting your workplace
>> Key workers
> Recruitment

My World of Work: Job Hub

10th May​

Future of furlough

I have had enquiries from companies asking if they can bring staff out of furlough while they have orders and if the orders stop can they re-furlough them. The answer is you can but you will need to furlough the staff member for the 3 week block.

Discussions continue around the need for a form of furlough beyond the end of June. As perhaps the most valuable support measure introduced, our view is that it will need to modify gradually in the same way as lockdown restrictions will unwind gradually. Last night, Scottish Government Ministers wrote to the Chancellor urging the continuation of furlough support including emphasising, as we have done, the benefit of a part-time furlough approach in the future. 

Lockdown extended in Scotland

As expected, lockdown restrictions in Scotland have been extended. This was confirmed by the First Minister at lunchtime. The working assumption is that it is a three week extension of lockdown (to 28 May) however it was repeated that the Scottish Government could introduce relaxations at any time before the next fixed, three-weekly review. The only relaxation on the cards is to the rules around households being able to take more regular outdoor exercise.
 

Whitefish Landings & Market Update

Three auctions today – Peterhead 11 boats / 2026 boxes, Shetland 3 boats / 438 boxes and Scrabster 1 boat / 361 boxes –  total 15 boats / 2825 boxes.
 
Acknowledging that landings are light, there is now a definite bounce around the cod, haddock and whiting sale with all three species achieving good to very good price levels.  Signs that north sea haddock is beginning to improve in condition with prices for these now edging slightly higher than those paid for Rockall fish which in terms of filleting quality are heading in the opposite direction. Saithe is also still selling well, and it’s noted that today’s average in Hanstholm jumped to £1.18, up almost 30p on where it was between Monday and yesterday, suggesting higher demand is returning for next week.
 
Noted that from next week Lorient auction will be accepting fish from Spanish vessels, however it remains to be seen if this is going to be the end,  or only a  loosening of the current restrictions being placed on foreign fish being sold on auction there. 
 
Peterhead market tomorrow may be slightly smaller at around 1500, but some further vessels may report yet. An auction in Shetland would be expected also.
 
Demersal vessels operational  =  64

Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot for consumers.

Click here to get listed on the Support Local website.

We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Business help

Webinars & guides

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

5th May​

Today, I wrote to retailers to ask them to re-open their fish counters. Morrison’s have already opened their fish counters in recent days and we need to see the other retailers re-opening the counters for business. Tomorrow will also see a press release going out with this ask to retailers. I shall keep you updated on any progress.

Just a reminder that if you have had an email from Marine Scotland re current EMFF projects for an update you must respond tomorrow or the project funding will be cancelled.

The Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund closed at 5pm tonight due to the volume of applications and looking to re-open for applications next week.

MARKETS UPDATE

Japan

Update on food service
• Inbound tourism in Japan dropped by a staggering 93% in March 2020, food service (and retails) has been heavily affected.
• The metropolitan government will offer subsidies to smaller business operators that accept its suspension requests — 500,000 yen ($4,600) for managers with a single shop and 1 million yen for those running multiple outlet.

Update on retail
• Virus pandemic pushes Japan’s shoppers to buy online, mainly essential goods only
• e-commerce penetration has long been among the lowest of developed markets. Only 7% of transactions were online in 2018, according to government statistics.
• After the coronavirus outbreak calms down, it is expected that more people will be online in Japan.

Feedback from buyers
• According to Salmon importer, they are only importing the amount of salmon for customers who have a contract to supply retail over the next several months. 90% sales dropped. • Logistic fee is very high and hard to secure the space on cargo

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
• Consumer sentiment fell below the level of 2011 earthquake
• Consumers tends to save the money therefore choose cheaper option (prefer to mince beef rather than steak).

Freight and logistics issues
• Stress on trucking amid driver shortage.
• 60% of logistic companies impacted.
• Stress on last mile delivery.
• Delayed deliveries due to increasing demand.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
• Tokyo and other major cities are not put on lockdown and the government does not deem it necessary at this point
• Transportation, hospitals, food stores, pharmacies will continue to operate
• According to NHK poll, 75% of people in Japan think that the state of emergency was declared too late

Singapore

Update on food service
• Whilst there is a positive outlook for the grocery retail segment as supermarket sales in Singapore picked up during SARS in 2003 and it is expected to be no less different this time round. However, with co-mingling and staying out amongst crowds being forbidden, things are less positive on the F&B foodservice segment which could see earnings tumbling more than 60% this year.
• In an effort to mitigate the impact on the foodservice sector in Singapore many fine dining and five-star restaurants are offering a delivery service to combat the fact diners can’t eat in. It has been suggested by Emmanuel Benardos, GM of F&B at Fairmont Singapore & Swissotel The Stamford, that hotels should continue delivery service post-covid. https://hotelintel.co/what-will-happen-to-the-culinary-scene-when-we-re-open/

Update on retail
• According to Nielsen data, 37% of Singaporean consumers have increased online shopping activities since the COVID-19 outbreak, and over three-quarters (76%) indicated they will not return to pre-outbreak online shopping levels.
• Supermarkets remain open but with strict safety measures including: o Tracing technology registration apps prior to entry & registering of temperature screening and identity card. o Safe distancing measures including a queuing system to restrict the number of shoppers inside at any one time, and at till queues.
• Although shelves appear to be well stocked there are a number of over-facings where products are unavailable. Norwegian smoked salmon has over-faced where Scottish smoked salmon is usually present in one of the main supermarket chains visited at the weekend. This is the case with some dairy and fresh products as well.
• M&S are still selling roped grown Scottish mussels and other Scotland produce but the shelf life is shorter than usual on many products.
• Wet markets which make up 20% of total sales are operating on a odd/even alternate days based on the last digit of your identity card number to reduce the number of visitors.

Whitefish Landings & Market Update

Three auctions today-  Peterhead 6 boats / 2561 boxes, Shetland 2 boats / 424 boxes  and Scrabster 1 boat / 157 boxes-  total 9 boats / 3142 boxes.  There has also been a considerable amount of rockall haddock (smaller grades) moved privately over the last 36 hours, but there are signs that this fishery is now beginning to wane, so possibly we’re down to another couple of landings per vessel until fishing recommences later in the year – and this does largely presuppose that a viable squid fishery is possible, which right now seems unlikely.
 
Price wise the edge was off slightly in PD for haddock, but still holding reasonably well just above £2/kg on bigger sizes.  Cod broke the daily 400 box barrier for the first time in a few weeks, and the prices seen yesterday held firm with good signs of demand.  More saithe and whiting to be found today both selling reasonably well, with whiting showing real improvement as volumes landed decrease.  Hake today was ok for the largest sizes, but moving down the grades it becomes a real struggle.  A lot less monk and ling, and hardly any megrims, which after yesterday was no bad thing, as there is no sign of improvement, with the issues for these markets being compounded further by Irish landings hitting a market with no buyers.  
 
Sales into France still range from difficult to non-existent for processed product, and there are actual reports of the authorities conducting checks on retailers, fishmongers etc, to ensure imported products are not being offered for sale. One small wholesaler found with imported product has seemingly been ordered to close for 15 days as punishment by the local Mayor’s office.  
 
Vessels have now definitely began to stop for the 8 day tie up in May. Demersal vessels operational  = 66. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot for consumers.

Click here to get listed on the Support Local website.

We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Business help

Webinars & guides

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

4th May​

MARKETS UPDATE

China

Update on food service
The private sector, which provides more than half of urban jobs, has seen widespread lay-offs, especially in retail, catering and other consumer-facing services. These occupations necessitate mass gatherings or direct physical contact, which were prohibited since the height of the epidemic. Some fine restaurants in big cities especially those targeting at expats tourists and higher-income consumers announced the closure of the store or suspension of the launching plan.  The local governments in tier 1 cities collaborate with department stores and chained stores within the industry to launch the safe-environment program, aiming to ensure the consistent monitoring of people movement, practice of hygiene and to boost the consumption in those physical stores. People are required to present their ‘safety QR code’ before entering the public building in Shanghai.

Update on retail
Retail sales in China shrank by 19% in the first quarter of 2020, as consumers were stuck in lockdown and the country’s stores were shuttered.  Shopping online growing as it provides efficient and time-saving alternative to urban citizens. However, more and more people are willing to go to the retail store or the fresh market to buy the daily groceries such as meats, fish and vegetables. People are still wearing their masks when going outside. It is not compulsory but as a result a habit now.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
We have seen the increased frequency of dine-out and gathering in public areas. The relaxation of the lockdown restriction and reopening of the facilities in service sectors including restaurants, parks and bars are positive signals to consumers. Beijing and a few other severely-hit provinces like Hubei province announced to lower down the crisis level from priority to medium. Governments at all levels introduced stimulation policies and plan to boost the domestic consumption. Take Shanghai for example, the local government announced a two-month shopping festival beginning on May 5th. The aim of the sales gala is to boost the city’s consumption back to pre-virus levels. There will be big discounts online and at physical stores. Ecommerce platforms such as Alibaba will also join this festival from online portal to offer discounts which will help Shanghai consumers save about 2 billion yuan ($282 million) during the festival.

Freight and logistics issues
International air-freight to China is still high at the moment. According to DataSalmon, cost-and-freight prices from Chile to Shanghai, China for head-on, 6 kilogram-and-up salmon fell 14% then 29% y-o-y in weeks 14 and 15 of 2020, to $9.00/kg and then $7.33/kg, respectively. Congestion at the major airport and ports are still serious though the travel restriction has been slightly lifted and number of flights are increased.

Hong Kong

Update on food service
The social distancing policy will be extended to 7th May 2020, all restaurants must comply with the following requirements: 1. Tables 1.5m apart or effectively partitioned 2. No more than 4 persons each table 3. Must wear masks in restaurants all the time except when eating/drinking 4. Screen body temperature before entering restaurants 5. Provide hand sanitiser to customers 6. Bars remain closed. 

Update on retail
Two Japanese supermarket chains (Sogo & Yata) have expanded their bi-annual promotions in their online shops and extended the promotion period from 2 weeks to more than a month. 

Feedback from buyers
One seafood importer commented though the price of air freight was increased yet it is important for them to keep their retail customers as they could not make much profit in food service channels these days.

Changes / impact on consumer behaviour
Keep buying online and food delivery. But more people go out for dining as new infection cases dropped to single digits since last week.

Freight and logistics issues
Quoted by one of the forwarders in HK, the price of shipping 1 pallet/1 tonne of chilled products by air from Glasgow/Edinburgh/London to HK is £2575.

Any other comments / challenges / opportunities
During 21-27April, there were totally 11 imported new Covid-19 cases, and zero local case. The HK government announced on 28 April that: • the majority of the civil servants who are currently working from home will return to the office starting May 4. • Public services will start returning to normal next Monday. • Libraries, museums, and outdoor venues of public facilities, such as sports grounds will reopen next Monday. • All other travelling restrictions remained unchanged.

Whitefish Landings & Market Update

Markets today Peterhead 12 boats/ 3873 boxes, Shetland 5 boats / 1197 boxes, Scrabster 3 boats / 454 boxes and KLB 1 boat / 269 boxes.  Total 21 boats /  5793 boxes.   Peterhead was well short of the 5000 box limit for the first Monday in several weeks, indicating the beginning of the slow down of the Rockall haddock fishery. Peterhead market today had 43 individual buyers in attendance, and while there are still a handful yet to return, we are getting close to seeing almost all back at the sale.
 
Very little whiting and saithe at Peterhead, with the auction almost evenly split between cod/haddock for domestic and monk/meg/ling for export.  The cod sale went as well as we’ve seen since March 24th, with all sizes performing reasonably strongly.  Better haddock grades (vast majority of haddock from the Rock) also still selling well, with even the smallest grades starting to show small signs of improvement from the Monday lows seen in weeks previous. Conversely,  Rockall monks and megrims did not sell well at all today,  with the rock monks being on average £1/kg less on the middle/retail sizes  than better yielding fish from the inshore grounds.  Rockall megrims were virtually unsellable, but demand for inshore megrims was reasonable, however the overall volume of megrims did take some heat out of that sale.  The ling sale is still a catastrophe with no improvement in sight.
 
Oversupply aside the Spanish market is now back up and running, and as they slowly ease themselves out of lockdown it’s expected to see a little more Italian trade beginning to come through this week.  There are concerns here though, as most exporting into Italy have aged debtor issues to some degree or another, and it’s not expected that all Italian wholesalers will reopen, with some choosing to wind up and/or go into administration.
 
Some whitefish vessels have already stopped for the 8 day tie up, and a few more ( mainly export orientated catchers) plan to stop this week after landing. Notable that a few more prawn vessels have put to sea, but it remains how many have converted over to whitefish and how many are feeding into what might be renewed demand from the processor based in Ireland. Demersal vessels operational at sea = 68. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot for consumers.

Click here to get listed on the Support Local website.

We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.
 

New Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund *Important Information*

The £45 million ‘Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund’ was launched on Thursday is a mechanism for SMEs, primarily aimed at those that haven’t been able to get significant grant funding so far. To qualify they need to be vital to their local or national economy, viable were it not for Covid-19 but currently in a vulnerable state. In short, the following criteria needs to be met:

  • Up to 249 employees that have been trading successfully prior to Covid-19 
  • Less than €50m turnover or balance sheet total of €43m
  • Can demonstrate funding will support business to be viable
  • Not in financial difficulty before 31th December 2019
  • Must have business bank account

**This fund has had a huge number of applicants and will close tomorrow – Tuesday 5 May at 5pm for consideration of applications** It is anticipated the fund will reopen next week for further applications but I would urge any businesses in severe hardship who has not accessed funding to get applications in before the first deadline. Application details here

Testing

There is still no news on the use of mobile testing facilities on the islands. If there are any of our businesses on the islands that need access to testing and cannot secure it through alternative routes, please let us know

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Updates from 4 May

  • Applying for a Coronavirus Bounce Back Loan

Business help

Webinars & guides

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

30th April​

The current situation with the export markets has changed very little over the past 24 hours, however there has been pressure applied to government from industry to help with the ongoing situation in France. Spain has put together a timetable of unlocking the country which should see food service starting to open up towards the end of May.  

Locally we see more smaller whitefish processors either starting back up or looking to start back up next week. There is around 60% of fish and chips shops now open and logistics are getting better. 

A large number of processors who have applied for the Scottish Seafood Resilience Fund have had applications approved and money paid into their bank accounts which will help support their fixed costs during this unprecedented time.

Whitefish Landings & Market Update

Today sees auctions in all main whitefish ports-  Peterhead 6 boats/3100 boxes, Shetland 5 boats/975 boxes, Scrabster 3 boats/645 boxes and KLB 1 boat/280 boxes . Total 15 boats/ 5000 boxes.
 
As the market clears the pre May Day holiday slow down there was a price improvement in some export species such as megrim and hake (larger/medium grades), but the uplift on smaller sizes has yet to be seen.  Ling and monk are still selling poorly , with only those trucking and having access to the “pseudo” French monk market able to buy.  Saithe, somehow remaining unaffected by French actions, sold reasonably well.
 
Domestic sales still showing signs of regaining strength with haddock selling well again and cod starting to show consistent signs of improvement too. Whiting was toiling yesterday, but today saw prices move up closer to viable levels, albeit still only average at best.

As we approach May it’s expected that the proposed tie up scheme will come into play at 00.00 hours on Monday May 4th.  Advice to skippers so far has been for those targeting export species to get the tie up  over with early in the month, and for those at the Rock to delay until closer to the end of the month.  Rationale being the export market requires a period of restricted supply to try and assist price structures to recover (and hopefully give a period of grace for the French situation to sort itself out), plus this time frame will also clear the public holidays still to come after May Day.  And for the Rock, the haddock will be switching off shortly so it’s as well to take the maximum benefit from this fishery, and narrow down the period of time between the Rock slowing down and the haddock coming back on in the North Sea in June. This should maintain continuity of supply as best we can. Noted that Fraserburgh harbour is somewhat emptier today, but as things stand demersal vessels operational still = 60. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Seafood Scotland are starting the first Supper Club this evening. This is a invite only virtual cookery class with chefs regionally from across Scotland, teaching the audience to cook with Seafood. Everyone will cook alongside the chef using local fishmonger delivery. Tonight will be in Edinburgh cooking a lemon sole recipe with influencers, bloggers along side invited guests with the chef Carina Contini, of Edinburgh’s Contini, The Scottish Café and Restaurant . This will be done via zoom and the recipe and demonstration will be put onto social media platforms and we are looking forward to sharing the event with you all tomorrow.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot for companies to register. This will go pushed out to consumers on Monday 4th May.

Click here to get listed on the Support Local website.

We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.
 

New grant funding opens for applications

Three new grant funds for businesses opened at lunchtime today. The most relevant for seafood businesses is likely to be the £45 million ‘Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund’. It is a mechanism for SMEs, primarily aimed at those that haven’t been able to get significant grant funding so far. To qualify they need to be vital to their local or national economy, viable were it not for Covid-19 but currently in a vulnerable state. In short, the following criteria needs to be met:

  • Up to 249 employees that have been trading successfully prior to Covid-19 
  • Less than €50m turnover or balance sheet total of €43m
  • Can demonstrate funding will support business to be viable
  • Not in financial difficulty before 31th December 2019
  • Must have business bank account

More information on evidence that would need to be submitted and the link to start your application is here.
 

Lockdown timetable – no imminent easing of restrictions

The First Minister has given a strong signal in today’s briefing that there is unlikely to be any significant change to lockdown when it is reviewed next week. It is due for its next formal review by Thursday 7 May. 

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Updates from 30 April

  • Updated financial assistance table
  • Information about the £100 million grant package from the Scottish Government

Business help

Webinars & guides

Updates from 30 April

  • IRI Flash Report – w/e 25 April 2020

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

29th April​

Whitefish Landings & Market Update

We saw the usual mid-week dip in supplies with Peterhead 10 boats / 2819 boxes and Shetland 3 boats / 797 boxes. Total 13 boats / 3616 boxes.
 
While there was less fish unfortunately this did nothing to increase export market demand and several species such as monk, ling and hake are continuing to sell poorly, with the latter two going for a pittance.  The French embargo of Scottish processed fish shows no sign of improvement, and supermarkets remain under pressure to market only produce labelled as “Product of France” on their counters. This is leaving the auction open to the truckers with little or no competition from those would normally purchase for processing.  This is obviously enraging the processors, as the whole fish moving into France is ultimately destined for supermarkets who would in normal circumstances be purchasing processed goods from them.  This situation would seem at odds with the embargo, but It does appear that Scottish fish is fine as long as it’s very cheap, cut by a French knife and most importantly of all, French fishermen don’t see it being delivered.  

On other export markets, post May Day, the Spanish market should improve so megrim would be expected to recover, but leading on from the French issue, Spain is seeing increased volumes of hake and prices may be suppressed for some time.  Some positive news from Spain, received word that Spanish bars and restaurants will be permitted to reopen on June 2nd at 50% capacity so some food service demand will return.
The domestic market continues to hold steady with reasonable demand on haddock and cod showing a small sign of improvement.  Word of more buyers dealing in the home market returning next week so hopefully the cod and haddock sale are now, allowing for circumstances, fairly settled. Demersal vessels operational at sea =  56 Auctions are due in Pd tomorrow, and expected in Shetland, Scrabster and possibly KLB. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Seafood Scotland Response to Market Situation

Seafood Scotland have been working hard to develop plans in place to try and work with our in-market specialists, Scottish Government and partners on the current international market situation and how a recovery plan can be put into place to resume exports.

Below is some of the immediate activity that is planned for Seafood Scotland to increase sales and consumption of Scottish Seafood locally and throughout the UK.

We have developed a UK campaign to promote Scottish seafood direct to consumers via radio and paid social media which will start next week. Scottish Government are in continued dialogue with the major retailers to push for fish counters to reopen and when this is successful we will look to ramp up this activity and promotion. 

SFS are starting a Supper Club tomorrow evening. This is a invite only virtual cookery class with chefs regionally from across Scotland, teaching the audience to cook with Seafood. Everyone will cook alongside the chef using local fishmonger delivery. Tomorrow will be in Edinburgh cooking a lemon sole recipe with influencers, bloggers along side and general public. This will be done via zoom and the recipe and demonstration will be put onto social media platforms after the event.

Chef Fishmonger Courses, while Scottish chefs are furloughed at home we are seizing the opportunity to teach them fishmonger skills, to encourage them to buy Scottish seafood for their menus once they are operational again. SFS will run 3 x 11/2 hour courses starting mid-May and will be hosted by CJ Jackson of Billingsgate School and high profile Scottish chefs who will demonstrate. We already have 30 interested chefs. This will start in 2 weeks time. 

We are supporting the Support Local hub with Scotland Food and Drink (further details below)  and have been working with seafood companies to have them included on this. We will also have a social media campaign to promote seafood companies on the directory when this launches to consumers on Monday.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot.

At the bottom of the home page is a form to fill in if you want to be listed on the directory. It is free and open to all. We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.

Face coverings vs face masks

This has been a significant issue today following the new advice from Scottish Government yesterday which recommended that the general public use a face covering if in confined public spaces, such as on public transport or in shops. The advice for using face masks in the workplace has not changed.

The full advice is available here, go to question 13 for businesses.

Testing of key workers

Testing has opened up to a broader range of individuals in England, including anyone working out of the home or over 65 if they are symptomatic. This remains a change in England only. It is under review in Scotland and we will likely hear more on Friday on any changes in Scotland. However, as things stand, home testing kits or drive-thru testing remains open to key workers in the food and drink sector if they are symptomatic. The new testing centre at Perth College will be open by tomorrow, supplementing centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen.

There are 13 mobile testing units now available in Scotland. There is a particular issue on the Scottish islands, who are beyond the 90 minute maximum drive allowed to reach a test centre. We are likely to hear shortly on plans for mobile units to head to these communities.

Grant support

The £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund opens tomorrow for applications. We still don’t have the criteria nor application process to share, as this is obviously being put together at rapid pace. So we will share more info in tomorrow’s update

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Updates from 29 April

  • Updated financial assistance table

Business help

Webinars & guides

Updates from 29 April

  • Grocery habits are changing – the latest report from Kantar

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

28th April​

Markets

Positive signals from Spain for live shellfish this week which is most welcomed by companies and hope that this is an early sign of a turnaround in Spain. Whilst food service in Spain remains closed under lock down they are moving more towards restaurants delivering prepared food which is proving successful.

Whitefish Landings

Markets today as follows:  Peterhead 10 boats/ 3534 boxes, Shetland 5 boats / 947 boxes and KLB 1 boat / 565 boxes.  Total 16 boats / 5046 boxes, not including private sales.
 
Two weeks on from the Easter weekend and the market place has become increasingly difficult every day since, culminating in today’s auction where we saw some new lows for several species such as hake, ling, megrim and whiting. Only one species could be said to be generating any kind of competitive demand – haddock – and even this relies to some extent on restricting volumes to market especially for smaller grades.  Cod in low volumes is maintaining much the same level we’ve seen for the last week or so, and the truckers are still, for now, receiving orders for middle grades of monk for processing in France.  Today’s whitefish prices are somewhere in the range of 15-20% back on yesterday- and those seen yesterday were approx. 30% less on what would normally be considered acceptable.  Fish could now be considered to be half price – and this presupposes it actually sells, which in the case of some species/qualities it did not today.The continental holiday on Friday will be exacerbating the issue to some extent, but for many species the biggest problem is the French retail situation and the effective ban on imports. The Breton Fishermen’s Association have issued a press release which blames Scotland and Ireland for suppressing prices, but retailers are also accused of profiteering. Auctions expected throughout the rest of the week in PD and elsewhere. Boats operational at sea  = 60. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Support Local

Seafood Scotland have been working with Scotland Food & Drink on a new national directory Support Local to connect the public with businesses that can supply local, Scottish food and drink products directly to consumers. These businesses may be producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or may be retail and hospitality businesses that stock Scottish products and are now doing home delivery or click and collect. The directory went live today at www.supportlocal.scot.

At the bottom of the home page is a form to fill in if you want to be listed on the directory. It is free and open to all. We will continue to build up the directory listings each day. Please make sure you put as much information as you can on the page as this is your opportunity to talk the consumer. Let them know what products you are selling, how they can purchase them, if you do deliveries and when. Seafood Scotland will be promoting the seafood element of the website, encouraging consumers to use this tool and happy to promote these companies through social media.
 

Current EMFF Projects *Reminder*

Given the severe impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the seafood supply chain, Scottish Government Ministers wish to understand the impacts on business & ability to undertake projects at present. If you have a project that is due to complete this year you will have received an email from Marine Scotland. It is very important that you respond to this email by the 6th May as failure to respond will result in the assumption the project will not go ahead. I am highlighting this as I know companies will have employees off self isolated or furloughed who may be responsible for correspondence with Marine Scotland. 

New financial support

A reminder that the new ‘bounce-back’ loans for SMEs (under 250 employees) open on Monday with the promise of a quick, two-page application and loans of up to £50,000 being delivered into bank accounts within 24 hours. Interest and repayment free for 12 months (this element may not be for fisheries companies) and will give further guidance once I receive  details

On grants, the Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund from Scottish Government opens on Thursday. The £45 million fund will be managed by the enterprise agencies with a target to pay grants within 10 days of applications being submitted. The targets for support are businesses – across all sectors – that are viable, vital but vulnerable due to Covid-19 and have not been able to access other grant support. If you think you may fit this category, you should update your latest cashflow forecast now as it is likely to be one of the elements required to demonstrate the financial impact of the outbreak on your business.

We are aware of concerns around the slow payment of the existing Covid Small Business Grants in some local authority areas. This has been raised with Government and we should understand more this week on whether the process pace is consistent across Scotland or if there are particular challenges in some areas. The opening of the Covid small business grant scheme to multiple rateable properties within the same business is targeted for 5 May.

Testing

A new drive-thru testing centre is likely to open in Perth in the next 24 hours, supplementing the four sites already open in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness. The capacity at Scottish centres remains able to cope with demand and links to the testing registration portal are all on the SF&D Covid Hub. The demand for home, self-test kits remains significantly beyond the supply available however. Yesterday, all 10,000 available home tests were allocated within 45 minutes of the portal opening. The plan is to double availability to 20,000 tests by Thursday. However, realistically, the drive-thru facilities are the best option to aim for if you are a key worker, symptomatic and within a 90-minute drive of a test centre. 

Face coverings

At lunchtime, advice altered to the general public in Scotland on face coverings. The general public are now encouraged to wear a cloth, face covering (not a medical mask) if they are out and about in confined spaces, such as in shops or on public transport. The wearing of a cloth covering is not mandatory, it is not enforceable, it is a matter of personal choice. The advice on the wearing of masks in the workplace has not changed though.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

27th April​

Current EMFF Projects

Given the severe impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on the seafood supply chain, Scottish Government Ministers wish to understand the impacts on business & ability to undertake projects at present. If you have a project that is due to complete this year you will have received an email from Marine Scotland. It is very important that you respond to this email by the 6th May as failure to respond will result in the assumption the project will not go ahead. I am highlighting this as I know companies will have employees off self isolated or furloughed who may be responsible for correspondence with Marine Scotland. 

Whitefish Landings
On auction – Peterhead 15 boats/4800 boxes, Shetland 6 boats/1311 boxes,  Scrabster 2 boats/966 boxes and KLB 2 boats/400 boxes (majority landed KLB sold privately).  PD also had one Irish consignment of 239 boxes hake which we believe would have normally been sent to France.  Total boats landing for sale/intake today 25 for approx. 9000 boxes.
 
With the Rockall boats split up relatively evenly over the coming week, most sizes of Rockall haddock sold better than at this point last week, but the smallest size is still only clearing the sale at approx. 50ppkg – and with volume of Rockall fish available there is still no demand for poor yielding North Sea.
Some cod selling better today, but pricing by quality and size variation varies widely from shot to shot, and as per haddock the smallest grades are struggling down below £1/kg. Signs that whiting now beginning to toil too for smaller grades, however larger sizes are back in price also, but are still on the right side of viable- just.
 
On the export side the auction was a struggle with no sign of increased demand for any species, and some falling quite a way back from the close of last week . Two factors to this a. The continental May day holiday on Friday, and b.  increasing pressure upon French retailers to stock French produced product.
 
The issues caused by the Mayday holiday were entirely foreseen, and It came as no surprise that species such as megrim destined for the Spanish market did not sell well on auction.  Those species normally processed for the French market (and therefore on a much shorter logistical journey) had time on their side regards the holiday, but the political pressure being placed on French retailers to restrict product lines to “Product of France” only, is now being felt on auction as processors had to back off, leaving the field mainly clear for those trucking whole fish directly into processors based in Boulogne and Lorient. For now at least, the ire of French fishermen seems to be very species focused, with imported processed monk, ling, hake and skate being removed from retailers counters in the hope that this appeases (fishermen and government) and that their stores do not suffer any direct action.  The other concern is that French catchers are probably aware that some product being offered might be French processed, but not necessarily French caught, and it’s thought that the processing sector there could also come under the scrutiny of French catchers soon.
  
Auctions are expected in Peterhead all week, with overspill from today (5000 box limit) for PD tomorrow already. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Markets

The major updates for markets today is the situation in France breaching single market laws that Bill McKenzie has highlighted. It is a very concerning situation with pressure being applied to Scottish and UK Governments. Air freight options are still currently being looked at for a number of markets as logistics is also causing issues of getting product into countries due to the lack of passenger planes, however, the cost of this is proving prohibitive.

UK Food Service 

Still no major reopening of the food service market. More fish & chip shops across the UK are now reopening and work is currently underway by Scottish Seafood Association to co-ordinate some of the logistics companies to support this demand to ensure processors can meet their customers demands and has schedules for deliveries from a number of logistic companies. If you require these details please contact jimmy@scottishseafoodassociation

Promoting Local Sales

Seafood Scotland are keen to promote any initiatives to support local selling of Scottish Seafood online and  through social media. Please get in contact at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to give us your details.

Funding

New Coronavirus Loans for small businesses

The ongoing problem with the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been partly addressed today with a welcome announcement from the Chancellor on a new loan scheme for small businesses. It is still a debt offer, not a grant, but a new scheme will open next Monday. It will be open to SMEs and will offer a maximum loan of £50,000 or 25% of turnover. Importantly, the form to apply will be simple (a two-pager, self-declaration) and money should appear in bank accounts within 24 hours. Importantly, these are 100% guaranteed by Government so the banks are simply the delivery mechanism; there will be no ongoing tests of business viability applied to applications. The loans are interest free for 12 months. 

Grant support

The Scottish Government’s £45 million Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund is expected to open later this week. We will share more details on the criteria and application process as soon as we have them. 

Testing

On Saturday, the Scottish Government opened up testing to key workers. This includes key workers in the food and drink supply chain. The testing is open to key workers and members of their household if they are symptomatic. Testing should be done within five days of first exhibiting symptoms – any longer and the reliability of the test is compromised.

There are two ways to get tested: by attending a drive-thru test centre or by requesting a self-testing kit at home. The latter option has been subject to higher demand than there is supply of home test kits. Today, the allocation was taken up within the first hour of the UK-wide website making them available. There are four drive-thru test centres in Scotland. They are at Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports and also on the campus at UHI in Inverness. All the details of how to access a test are available here.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

24th April​

Please find below the last update of the week. Apologies there was no update last night I had computer issues. I hope you all have a restful weekend.

Markets

Export Market
 

The export market is the major market for seafood companies. This market continues to remain decimated. Lockdown remains in the majority of markets that exports seafood.

USA

All 50 states are in emergency with 3-4 weeks of extended restrictions. There is a fear that between 20-30% of restaurants will not reopen in the same way or at all in the recovery phase. Most restaurant operators looking at June as the earliest opening for dining-in, with seating spaced out and other restrictions on menus and back of store operations. 

China

The seafood industry which mainly supplied to catering business, has been hugely impacted by the COVID-19 due to the closure of the business, lack of labour and fresh supplies. In order to mitigate the negative impact, some business swiftly readjust their business and expand the sales channel, for example to increase the online offering in the form of set-meals, and contactless take-away, to utilise the central kitchen to prepare ready meals to retailers such as O2O stores. March to June will be crucial to most of the catering business as the whole industry will go through a tough period of reshuffle and companies should adapt the new strategy and repositioning themselves via social media marketing.

UK Food Service 

Still no major reopening of the food service market. More fish & chip shops across the UK are now reopening and work is currently underway by Scottish Seafood Association to co-ordinate some of the logistics companies to support this demand to ensure processors can meet their customers demands and has schedules for deliveries from a number of logistic companies. If you require these details please contact jimmy@scottishseafoodassociation
 

Retail markets

Morrisons are trialing opening a small amount of fish counters and if they feel this complies with social distancing measures they will roll out the opening of more. This is a really positive step and work is ongoing to push other retailers to open their fish counters. Recent data released shows the like for like sales for loose fish in retailers has dropped by 69.58% against this time last year’s sales

Whitefish Landings
 

Week finishing quietly with Peterhead landing 4 boats/1308 boxes and Shetland 7 boats/938 boxes.  Total 11 boats for 2246 boxes. Across the two markets a generally good mix to be found, with haddock & monk both less prevalent.  Cod price strengthened a little today with some larger grades topping £3/kg for choices. There was evidence of some boats looking at alternative fisheries such as flats, but this is somewhat earlier than this fishery would usually be attempted and the plaice were small and still fairly thin, and prices achieved reflected the size and condition of the fish.The monk sale strengthened a little today, and while large and small are still weak, there was some evidence of increased demand for middle grades.  Buying power appeared to come more from truckers than processors with the whole fish purchases presumably being destined for France.  This was unexpected, as over the last 24 hours intel would suggest that heavy political pressure from the French fishing industry was now taking a stronger effect, with retailers canceling orders for imported product, and attempting to stock only French.  One monk processor reports a 90% reduction in his expected orders for today, and another smaller merchant is withdrawing from the French market for at least the next week.
 On the auctions it’s reported that Lorient is now refusing to sell anything other than French vessel landings, and Breton fishermen have already began patrolling the port looking for evidence of imports.  There are concerns of the same happening at the main logistical hub in Boulogne Sur Mer and this would have knock on effects even for product not destined for the French market place. 
 A large market is expected for PD Monday, but the Rockall vessel landings have now been restructured over the 1st half of the week, so hopefully the 5000 box limit will not be breeched. However,  this does assume that all vessels make their intentions known timeously, and do not arrive in port expecting the market to have capacity to accept their landing. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Promoting Local Sales

Seafood Scotland are keen to promote any initiatives to support local selling of Scottish Seafood online and  through social media. Please get in contact at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to give us your details.

Funding

The Scottish Government has published more information on the £100 million grant scheme for the self-employed and SMEs. In short, it divides into three parts and the following 2 schemes may be applicable to companies who have been unable to access the other announced funds.

  1. £34 million for the newly self-employed (since April 2019). This will take the form of rapid access grants of £2,000 based on self-declared hardship, managed through local authorities.
  2. £45 million through a Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund. Again, managed by the enterprise companies for vulnerable SME firms vital to local/national economies.

All funds will open by 30 April with grants aimed to be paid within a fortnight of applications being submitted. We’ll share more information on the criteria and process when we have it.

The Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund closed for applications on Wednesday and companies are already starting to see payments being made into their bank accounts.
 

Social Distancing Measures Strengthened

The Scottish Government has enshrined the two metre, social distancing rule in regulations, stating that ‘all reasonable measures’ should be taken to ensure social distancing is in place. This means that enforcement action could be taken against businesses that are deemed not to be implementing appropriate measures.  You can find the official press release here 

I would encourage employers to ensure that they take all reasonable measures to comply with social distancing where possible, and to put procedures in place, ensuring that these procedures are communicated and understood by all employees.

Key Worker tests

The Scottish Government today announced that key workers and their families will be able to access corona virus testing. Find the announcement here and full details to follow.

Reminder

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for claims. The aim is to start paying money into businesses by the end of April.  A reminder too, that the scheme has been extended to cover 80% of the wages of furloughed up until the end of June (originally only extended to May). You can submit a claim here.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

22nd April​

Markets

Export Market
 

The export market is the major market for seafood companies. This market continues to remain decimated. Lockdown remains in the majority of markets that exports seafood.

  • France – Lockdown will continue until at least the 11 May. Restaurants and bars will not reopen then and no date has been set for reopening. 7% of French consumers have started using e-retailing websites for food orders for the first time and 6 out of 10 customers have said they plan on maintaining their e-retailing habits after the crisis.Platforms who are listing direct sellers are booming. Eating local and supporting the industry is priority for customers at this moment. They are uncertain if this will continue after the crisis. Seafood volumes are starting to increase a little with some of the French supermarkets buying volumes again – scapmaree, casino, carrefour for example.
     
  • Italy – Lockdown extended to 3 May. Italy’s MFA looking to support “made in Italy” export stimulus plan with more than 150 businesses and associations coming together. Pressure coming from association to allow takeaway services to start up.
  • Spain – The Spanish government looking at a phased return to normality with restaurants and bar openings with restrictions being in phase 4 with a current timeline of 25th May until end of June

UK Food Service 

Still no major reopening of the food service market. More fish & chip shops across the UK are now reopening and work is currently underway by SSA to co-ordinate some of the logistics companies to support this demand to ensure processors can meet their customers demands.

Retail markets

After the panic buying, retailers have seen sales drop whilst people eat there way through their stockpile of goods. Processors supplying into retail outlets have faced challenges supporting these sales through reduced sku’s, staff illness through self-isolation and putting into place social distancing measures. Fish counters remain closed in the majority of the retail outlets and retailers are being pressed to open these counters as soon as possible.

Whitefish Landings

Auctions generally lighter today, as they have been mid-week for the last few weeks.  Peterhead 6 boats/940 boxes, Shetland 3 boats/1045 boxes and KLB 1 boat/120 boxes.
 
For Peterhead the decision was taken to split one Rockall pair team between today’s auction and tomorrow, and sell more of the smaller grades privately.  It was generally considered that after the larger volumes of haddock hitting auction Monday and Tuesday, that an already dangerously oversupplied market was close to failing,  and that some processors needed space to clear their feet.   From today’s haddock market outcome this would appear to have worked, but we won’t have certainty until tomorrow.
 
While there was less monk today this market is pretty dire. It would appear that monk tails are now making less delivered into France than whole fish was making at the point of 1st sale little over a week ago. Given the unprecedented monk price volatility, the French multiples are apprehensive about engaging in longer term discussions on shifting volume through in store promotions and some multiples are trying to increase throughput of French caught fish – hence current demand for saithe.
 
Peterhead for tomorrow will be a slightly larger affair with Rockall & North sea haddock, monk, whiting, hake, megrim and saithe available.   Outwith monk, and to somewhat lesser extent haddock, most of these species are still maintaining reasonable demand.  Shetland has 4 vessels reported for tomorrow’s auction. Number of vessels operational at sea =  77. Thanks To Bill McKenzie, Don Fishing Company for these excellent daily landings updates.

Promoting Local Sales

Seafood Scotland are keen to promote any initiatives to support local selling of Scottish Seafood online and  through social media. Please get in contact at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to give us your details.

Funding

The Scottish Government has published more information on the £100 million grant scheme for the self-employed and SMEs. In short, it divides into three parts and the following 2 schemes may be applicable to companies who have been unable to access the other announced funds.

  1. £34 million for the newly self-employed (since April 2019). This will take the form of rapid access grants of £2,000 based on self-declared hardship, managed through local authorities.
  2. £45 million through a Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund. Again, managed by the enterprise companies for vulnerable SME firms vital to local/national economies.

All funds will open by 30 April with grants aimed to be paid within a fortnight of applications being submitted. We’ll share more information on the criteria and process when we have it.
 

Social Distancing Measures Strengthened

The Scottish Government has enshrined the two metre, social distancing rule in regulations, stating that ‘all reasonable measures’ should be taken to ensure social distancing is in place. This means that enforcement action could be taken against businesses that are deemed not to be implementing appropriate measures.  You can find the official press release here 

Reminder

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for claims. The aim is to start paying money into businesses by the end of April.  A reminder too, that the scheme has been extended to cover 80% of the wages of furloughed up until the end of June (originally only extended to May). You can submit a claim here.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 

Updates from 22 April:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQs from affiliate member Greenburn.

£100 million fund to support the self-employed and SMEs.

Workforce

My World of Work Job Hub
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland.

 >> Find out more and upload your vacancies.

21st April​

Landings

Overall landings are back a little on yesterday Peterhead 13 boats/4130 boxes, Shetland 4 boats/1038 boxes and there will be 471 boxes in KLB later this evening from 1 boat.  Total vessels landing for today totalling 18 for 5639 boxes across all auctions.

While Peterhead had a smaller auction today it was, compared to yesterday,  probably a better overall mix of species, with more whiting and less monk and small haddock, however the market for both monk and the smallest grade of haddock remains absolutely dire with the prices for these falling again today.

With monkfish on the grounds prolific, the French market in a state of confused freefall, and the Italian market (smaller grades) and German market (larger grades) all but closed off, it is highly unlikely that the price of monk will recover beyond current levels in the short term.  The small haddock issue is to some extent exacerbated by a lack of processing capacity, as the majority of businesses that would traditionally handle this size remain closed with staff on furlough.   The majority of the Rockall fleet has now been asked to work on a restricted fishing schedule, delaying sailings where necessary, to best facilitate the production capabilities of the processors currently open to intake.

Some species/grades are still finding a reasonable market price level, mainly larger grades haddock, megrim, saithe and whiting. Cod is still around where it was, and ling is again well below £1/kg.  Quality is key for generating a viable return at the point of sale, as poorer fish are being avoided and disregarded by the main buyers.  Peterhead will have auctions tomorrow and Thursday, and Shetland has three vessels notified for tomorrow.

After today’s landings the current estimate of demersal vessels operational is 75.

Promoting Local Sales

Seafood Scotland are keen to promote any initiatives to support local selling of Scottish Seafood online and  through social media. Please get in contact at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to give us your details.

Funding

The Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund for the processing sector deadline has been extended for 48 hours given the tight turnaround required with Easter Monday taken into account. The amended deadline is Wednesday 22nd April 2020. Application details can be found here

Scottish Government have also announced a :

  • £3m fund for Aquaculture. This fund will be for shellfish growers and trout farms and further information can be found here
  • A Sea fisheries Hardship Fund tranche 2 for shellfish vessels over 12 m in length, further information can be found here 

We’re expecting to hear tomorrow more information from the Scottish Government on the £100 million fund for SMEs affected financially by the outbreak. The package is likely to include specific hardship grants for the newly self-employed, and a fund for wider businesses that have suffered lost revenue and can’t access other support. This should fill a void for anyone who cannot access any of the above funding. The various elements of the £100M fund will be delivered by the enterprise agencies and local authorities. The plan is that the funds will open for applications on 30 April with grants paid 10 – 14 days from an application being submitted. We’ll share more detail in tomorrow’s update and via social media as the information emerges. 

Social Distancing Measures Strengthened

The Scottish Government has enshrined the two metre, social distancing rule in regulations, stating that ‘all reasonable measures’ should be taken to ensure social distancing is in place. This means that enforcement action could be taken against businesses that are deemed not to be implementing appropriate measures.  You can find the official press release here 

Reminder

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is now open for claims. The aim is to start paying money into businesses by the end of April.  A reminder too, that the scheme has been extended to cover 80% of the wages of furloughed up until the end of June (originally only extended to May). You can submit a claim here.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 
Updates from 20 April:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme online portal goes live and set to be extended to the end of June.

Webinars & guides
Updates from 20 April:

  • Key findings from IRI, including a UK COVID- 19 Flash Report and details on Range and Recession Trends.
  • Striking the right tone during Coronavirus with FDFS.

Workforce

20th April​

Landings

Today saw the most fish offered for sale since the UK’s lockdown was first announced 4 weeks ago today.   Peterhead saw 14 boats/5000 boxes (the current socially distanced max for PD auction), Shetland 5 boats/1232 boxes, Scrabster 3 boats/937 boxes, KLB 2 boats/743 boxes. It’s estimated 2 vessels landed all privately, and a further 3 sold the majority of their catch privately leaving balances on auction.  All told approx. 26 boats landed over course of the weekend for intake/sale today.
 
The poor price outcome for some species/grades on Peterhead auction today reflected the larger volumes being offered for sale, especially for already fragile markets such as monk (rockall monk especially poor dropping a little below £2/kg)  and the smallest grade of haddock struggling to hit 50p/kg.  Some species/grades still holding up relatively well (larger haddock grades, whiting, saithe, megrim), if somewhat back on the close of last week.  Cod showing signs that demand is a little better, but the volume hitting the market is still very low, and given the fragility of the market place it would be better for all concerned if it remained that way.
 
Peterhead market will have rockall fish tomorrow and Wednesday, and it’s expected other vessels will fall into place for landing over the next 48 hours.
 
The number of demersal vessels now operational is approx. 80.

Promoting Local Sales

Seafood Scotland are keen to promote any initiatives to support local selling of Scottish Seafood online and  through social media. Please get in contact at enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to give us your details.

Funding

The Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund for the processing sector deadline has been extended for 48 hours given the tight turnaround required with Easter Monday taken into account. Application details can be found here

Scottish Government has announced a :

  • £3m fund for Aquaculture. This fund will be for shellfish growers and trout farms and further information can be found here
  • A Sea fisheries Hardship Fund tranche 2 for shellfish vessels over 12 m in length, further information can be found here 

Today’s big news has been the opening of the claim process for furloughed workers. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme opened up for claims this morning. The aim is to start paying money into businesses by the end of April. We understand there have been tens of thousands of claims submitted in the first few hours so we will learn quickly how the new system copes with processing them all. A reminder too, that the scheme has been extended to cover 80% of the wages of furloughed up until the end of June (originally only extended to May). You can submit a claim here.

In other developments, we expect more information shortly from the Scottish Government on the £100 million SME grant fund. This is aimed at businesses that have been unable to access other grant support. We’ll share information on the criteria and grant levels as soon as we have it. 

On commercial access to Coronavirus testing, we are also expecting an announcement in the coming days from the UK Government on providing access to the antigen test for critical workers. That obviously means a focus on NHS and healthcare workers but could also mean the wider group of workers involved in critical national infrastructure, such as food supply. Details are still being worked on, but it is expected that employees could access the test either at home or possibly at a testing centre. It is important to note again that the antigen test will determine if an individual has Coronavirus at the point of being tested. It can’t determine if the individual has had the virus previously and developed immunity. A future antibody test will be able to do that and it could be a critically important tool to unwinding restrictions. However, as yet there is no verified test, nor timetable for it being available to businesses and their workforce.

Coronavirus Information Hub
Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 
Updates from 20 April:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme online portal goes live and set to be extended to the end of June.

Webinars & guides
Updates from 20 April:

  • Key findings from IRI, including a UK COVID- 19 Flash Report and details on Range and Recession Trends.
  • Striking the right tone during Coronavirus with FDFS.

Workforce

16th April​

As we know Applications are now open for the Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund. This fund it open to all Seafood Processing companies. The application form can be found here. Deadline for Applications is the end of the day Monday 20th April.

Some feedback from Marine Scotland on initial applications that have came in – and to be fair these applications were submitted before the webinar and further guidance came out.

  • Box 1 needs a little narrative around your circumstances, just one line isn’t enough. 
  • Box 2 needs to have your fixed costs listed – it cannot just say please see attached accounts. Your grant is to cover your fixed costs (capped at turnover percentage) so you need to put in here what these are for calculating the award. 
  • Sign the state aid declaration even if you haven’t had any other funding
  • You must submit ID – a driving licence or passport
  • You must submit your applications in a readable format – PDFs, Word or Excel

Having completed applications in the correct format will speed up the payment process. Seafood Scotland have drawn up a mock application and have a FAQ / Guidance document – please let me know if you would like a copy.

Scottish Government has announced a £3m fund for Aquaculture. This fund will be for shellfish growers and trout farms and further information can be found here.
 

There is positive news on Coronavirus Job Retention (Furlough) Scheme to update you on today.

The UK Government has announced that employers can now claim for furloughed employees that were employed and, on their PAYE payroll, on or before 19 March 2020. This is a welcomed extension from the original 28 February cut-off date. Further confirmation also issued is that furlough is not limited to those employees who would otherwise be made redundant. This means that businesses which are functioning normally, or are in the category of key businesses, can furlough employees who are shielding or who have childcare responsibilities. The HMRC online portal is expected to launch on Monday 20 April. More information on the details of the scheme can be found here.

There were 2 significant funding announcements from the Scottish Government. A £120 million extension to the small business grant scheme that allows eligible businesses to make a grant claim for each property in their business (75% for additional premises). A £100 million fund for the self-employed and micro/SME businesses that may have fallen between the gaps of other support measures.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses
Financial assistance 
Updates from 16 April:

  • Seafood processors can now apply for support through the new £10 million Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund
  • Coastal businesses and third sector organisations affected by Covid-19 can now benefit from a £7.2 million Scottish Crown Estate fund which is devolved to councils
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme information and useful webinar
  • Notice period for commercial leases extended from 14 days to 14 weeks

Business help
Updates from 16 April:

  • Changes to exporters processing license applications during Coronavirus. New interim measures are now in place to help manage license applications during Coronavirus.

Webinars & guides
Workforce
Adapting your workplace
Key workers
Recruitent

14th April​

Applications are now open for the Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund. This fund it opening to all Seafood Processing companies. The application form can be found here. Deadline for Applications is Monday 20th April.

We know that a number of you have questions on how to fill in the form and we are pulling together a Frequently Asked Questions guide that we will issue tomorrow but we are also holding a webinar tomorrow – Wednesday 15 April at 3pm to go over the application form and answer anyone’s questions. You will be able to watch us explain the form and also submit anonymous questions via a text box. You will not be on camera at any point and no question is a daft question. We will not be announcing who has asked the questions either so please participate. the link to register for the webinar is here  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_9TOi8M5bSfSJvURRcW04jg

The latest news on the furlough scheme is that, subject to successful testing, the portal for companies to apply for funding for furloughed workers will open on 20 April. All being well, money should flow into businesses from 30 April with HMRC aiming for a quick turnaround of applications. Obviously, these are all brand new systems needing built and tested extremely quickly, so there may well be delays to this timetable but it gives you some idea of the targets being worked to. More clarification on the furlough scheme – including what information businesses will need to provide to claim, clarification on maternity/paternity leave, issues with contractors etc – has been published. The latest guidance is here.

Scotland Food & Drink Update

We are going to restructure the daily update. Now that our Coronavirus Information Hub is live on the Scotland Food & Drink website, please use it as the central gateway to the latest information. You’ll find the hub here.

The current national lockdown expires on Thursday. The speculation is that UK Government, supported by devolved nations, will announce a further three week extension to the current restrictions. However, don’t make any operational decisions on that until it is confirmed, but you can at least factor it into your planning work.

On haulage and logistics issues, Seafood Scotland has had reports of disruption in haulage capacity affecting the seafood sector. Again, any information on issues affecting other sectors should be fed in via info@foodanddrink.scot

The current derogation on EU drivers hours legislation is due to expire but it is hoped that an extension will be granted, allowing greater flexibility for a crucial supply chain link that has much reduced capacity just now.

We have had a number of businesses submit further evidence of financial hardship and business impact in recent days. The difference in grant support north and south of the border for businesses with retail outlets is also being raised. This feedback from our membership is hugely valuable and we are feeding it into government to shape future support decisions.  So, please keep this information coming.

  • Seafood processors can now apply for support through the new £10 million Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund
  • Coastal businesses and third sector organisations affected by Covid-19 can now benefit from a £7.2 million Scottish Crown Estate fund which is devolved to councils
  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme information and useful webinar
  • Notice period for commercial leases extended from 14 days to 14 weeks

Business help

Updates from 14 April:

  • Changes to exporters processing license applications during Coronavirus. New interim measures are now in place to help manage license applications during Coronavirus.

Coronavirus Information Hub

Click here to visit the hub homepage or for specific information, click the headings below.

Support for businesses

Financial assistance

Updates from 14 April:

Webinars & guides

Workforce

9th April​

Landings

Between auction and private sales today has possibly seen the most fish offered to all for two weeks.we had 1200 boxes on PD auction. Scrabster has 2 boats for 365 boxes and Shetland has 5 boats for 654 boxes.  PD prices have held firm at a high level, and it’s difficult to identify a species for which there is no current demand.

Expectation is of a similar sized market on Peterhead tomorrow, but this may increase yet depending on whether or not boats which left earlier this week manage to get back in for tomorrow or take advantage of good weather over the weekend.  Four boats are already definite for Monday (two pairs- 1 from Rock and the other expected which is targeting saithe) and a further Rockall landing is notified for delivery/auction Tuesday. 

Market intelligence suggests that French demand will take a downturn next week.  The retailers will be closed on Monday so this in itself would have an effect, but with more vessels landing into the post Easter market it would be expected that the monk price will come back. Fillets into France may buck that trend if the buyer is looking for a cheaper option, but it may be that ling and coley drop off too, however this may depend on French vessel activity.  Spain looking slightly more optimistic with demand remaining firm for megrim and hake. Spain is seeing very little in terms of hake imports from Namibia and elsewhere so demand for this species could be expected to grow further after the holiday weekend.

Domestically we have still to really test the market on cod, but small amounts are selling relatively well.  The home market for larger sizes of haddock fillet still looking remarkably good, but much will depend on volume not breaching demand next week.

I have an international market report for this week and will send this out separately to the industry.

As we head into the Easter weekend I would like to wish everyone a restful weekend and the daily update will return on Tuesday.

Scotland Food & Drink Update

In terms of the latest news, workforce absence levels appear steady at around 10-15% of the workforce. Indeed, there are some reports of improvement.

This good news is tempered by growing concern over the financial health of many businesses, in particular cashflow concerns. The slowing of retail sales is exacerbating the effective closure of hospitality and many export markets. We are building up specific company examples to illustrate the impact of market closures and other disruption (including examples of unpaid invoices by customers). This will be a crucial part of the discussions next week with Government on further interventions to support businesses. Please share your own examples via info@foodanddrink.scot.

The delivery of UK Government-backed Business Interruption Loans remains extremely low. We understand there have been around 300,000 applications with only around 2,000 approved thus far (0.65%). 

There is close monitoring of the whole food and drink supply chain ongoing. Farmers are feeling the impact of major disruption to the dairy market as well as concerns rising across the red meat sector. The main fish markets are more volatile than usual too in terms of both prices and the amount of fish being landed day-to-day. The haulage sector remains under enormous pressure with at least a third of drivers now furloughed. Any disruption to logistics should also be reported to us. The current consumer shift more towards convenience outlets, away from multiple retail, is also causing some challenges in terms of normal supply chains.

Discussions continue between our industry partners and Scottish Government around consumer messaging on supporting local produce, with a number of initiatives already in development by Quality Meat Scotland and Seafood Scotland amongst others.

Furlough letter template and webinars from Acas
Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has produced a free-to-download furlough letter template for employers to use to confirm that there is an agreement to temporarily furlough a worker or employee. Download here
There is also an upcoming webinar – Coronavirus: an advisory webinar for employers – on Thursday 16th April which will provide practical advice for employers to help manage the impact of Coronavirus in the workplace. Register here 

Temporary relaxation of drivers’ hours rules: all sectors carriage of goods by road
In response to unprecedented pressures on local and national supply chains, the Department for Transport has introduced a temporary and limited urgent relaxation of the enforcement of EU and GB drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland and Wales. Click here for details.

Letter of support for the Aquaculture industry
Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing has paid tribute to Scotland’s aquaculture sector for keeping UK supermarkets stocked with fresh salmon, trout and shellfish. Mr Ewing’s letter acknowledges the many barriers that the Coronavirus outbreak has placed in the sector’s way and the importance of aquaculture.

Coronavirus information hub 
Scotland Food & Drink has created an online Coronavirus hub that pulls together all of the updates, information, support and advice we’ve issued in these daily updates over the last few weeks. We’ll be updating it daily and will be a central gateway to the most up to date information. Click here to visit the hub. ​

Social distancing guidance for businesses in Scotland 
The revised guidance from the Scottish Government sets out all business workplaces that are not being specifically required to close should consider it imperative that they keep open only those premises or parts of premises that are truly critical or essential to the national and international Covid-19 effort.
Guidance from Food Standards Scotland: COVID-19 –  Food Business operators and their employees
This guidance has been developed to supplement generic guidance for consumers and food businesses which has been published by Food Standards Scotland and on the Gov.uk website. To access this important new guidance please click here.

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

Letters and employee briefings

Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.
Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.
Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

Social distancing best practice tips, click here.
Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. 
Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.  

Redundancy Support Service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000.

Recruitment

Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Find out more and upload your vacancies.
Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal have launched a jobs portal for all essential businesses based in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Fife or the Scottish Borders, looking to recruit urgently to respond to high demands as a result of COVID-19. Click here to access the portal.

Public health advice

Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Do not meet others outside your household, even friends and family. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.
You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others

A new Coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak has been launched on Friday by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience.
 
Health advice 
For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms
Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

8th April​

Seafood Scotland have been developing plans over the past 2 weeks with industry to see how we can promote Scottish Seafood locally and nationally and plans are being finalised to put this into action. We are keen to get more seafood into retail and are working hard to make this happen and also to promote local outlets and suppliers. 

I am keen to get an update from the processing sector on the current situation regarding production and requirements. The fleet need to understand the requirements moving forward and recognise that the fleet at present need to be demand led. Can you let me know the following:

  •  Are you still operating?
  • Are you remaining closed?
  • Are you planning to open once your furloughed staff can return?
  • What species and what volumes do you require on a daily basis?
  • Do you have any staffing requirements?
  • Are your customers reopening / ordering more?
  • Do you have any logistical issues getting to your customers?

The more information you can give me will help get a good understanding of not only landing requirements but also business support. 

Scotland Food & Drink Update
Some of the discussions with Government and other business organisations earlier today focused on the rollout of the business support measures. Around 2000 business interruption loans across the UK have been approved but we know it remains an unappealing option for a lot of our food and drink businesses. 

HMRC continues to work on the portal that will manage payments for furloughed staff. Some reports were suggesting that funding might not reach businesses until June (exacerbating cashflow problems in the meantime). The latest information suggests a quicker timescale but we should know more over the next fortnight. We’re pushing for clarity from UK Government as soon as possible.
We now have a dedicated contact point within Police Scotland to feed in any enforcement issues our businesses face, particularly in relation to the movement of essential workers. So share any issues with us. The police have confirmed that they don’t expect staff that are travelling to be carrying permission notes/approval letters, however they can be helpful. 
We understand overall grocery sales in the UK were down again last week, compared to the same week last year. That is now two straight weeks of lower retail sales year-on-year as the shadow cast by earlier stockpiling continues, alongside fewer shopping trips being made. We’re stressing the increased financial impact this is having on businesses already hit by the collapse of large parts of the foodservice and export market. 
 
The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund 
The Prince’s Trust and NatWest have launched a £5million fund to help young entrepreneurs across the UK to keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.
The fund is available to entrepreneurs aged 18-30, who can apply for grants and tailored support to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet any existing financial commitments, such as paying for essential equipment or settling invoices from suppliers.
To be eligible, businesses must have started up in the last four years and be run by someone aged 18 to 30. To apply for funding and support from The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund, click here.

Covid-19: How borrowers can manage the impact on their financing arrangements
In these uncertain times, borrowers will need to consider the impact of the pandemic on their existing funding arrangements in order to keep businesses viable as a going concern and to ensure that businesses are in the best position to return to normal post-pandemic.
Brodies LLP outline some practical steps borrowers should consider taking to manage the impact of the pandemic on their existing financing arrangements, and some logistical considerations for new facilities or facility amendments.
Read the article.

Social distancing guidance for businesses in Scotland 
The revised guidance from the Scottish Government sets out all business workplaces that are not being specifically required to close should consider it imperative that they keep open only those premises or parts of premises that are truly critical or essential to the national and international Covid-19 effort.
Guidance from Food Standards Scotland: COVID-19 –  Food Business operators and their employees
This guidance has been developed to supplement generic guidance for consumers and food businesses which has been published by Food Standards Scotland and on the Gov.uk websiteTo access this important new guidance please click here.

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

Letters and employee briefings

Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.
Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.
Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

Social distancing best practice tips, click here.
Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. 
Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.  

Redundancy Support Service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000.

Recruitment

Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Find out more and upload your vacancies.
Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal have launched a jobs portal for all essential businesses based in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Fife or the Scottish Borders, looking to recruit urgently to respond to high demands as a result of COVID-19. Click here to access the portal.

Business help
The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 
Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        
If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660
 
Public health advice
Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Do not meet others outside your household, even friends and family. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.
You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others

A new Coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak has been launched on Friday by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience.
 
Health advice
For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms
Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

6th April​

£10 million assistance for processing businesses during Covid-19 pressures
Financial support for seafood processors to help them through economic pressures related to COVID-19 will be available through a new £10 million scheme.
The Scottish Seafood Business Resilience Fund provides a combination of grants and loans to businesses suffering severe hardship following the shutdown of international markets and the food service industry across the UK. As soon as full application and criteria details are published I will send these out to the sector.
Read the full announcement here

Seafood Scotland FAQs

Can seafood companies apply for the Business Loan Interruption Scheme? – yes ithe scheme has been revised and seafood companies are eligible to apply for this support, there are restrictions for fisheries surrounding the interest and fee payment support only.

Can I continue fishing if I still retain a handful of customers and I have received funding under the Fisheries £5m grant scheme for 12 metres length and under? – yes you can still operate while receiving funds.

I will update FAQ’s as they occur.

UK Export Finance to offer export insurance in all major markets in response to Coronavirus 
UK Export Finance has today announced it is expanding the scope of its Export Insurance Policy (EXIP) to cover transactions with the EU, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the USA with immediate effect.
UKEF will help companies concerned about the impact of Coronavirus to export with confidence, by offering insurance that can cover up to 95% of the value of an export contract. The insurance will protect against the risk of non-payment should UK exporters’ customers become insolvent or their government actions make fulfilling the contract impossible.

Scotland Food & Drink Update
There have been a few important developments for the food and drink sector over the weekend. After a long wait, further guidance was published by UK Government on some of the rules surrounding the furloughing of workers. It has been confirmed that, unless there are specific contractual restrictions, workers that are furloughed can do other paid work for a different employer. The link to the latest guidance is below.

On Saturday, the Scottish Government issued further guidance on social distancing with businesses. It reiterated that businesses should remain open if providing something essential to the wellbeing of Scotland (this includes food supplies), alongside being able to provide confidence to the workforce on their protection and social distancing. For this latter point, once again, the Food Standards Scotland guidance is the place to go for how to achieve that for workers who cannot work at home and who must be on site.

Absenteeism rates are largely stable at between 10-20% across the supply chain.  

Lastly, Seafood Scotland working with Scotland Food & Drink and its other partners are already involved in early thinking on the industry’s recovery plan.  Our partners across industry and government are involved and we’ll share more information on that as it develops over the coming weeks.
 
Update: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 
HMRC has updated guidance on how to claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The online service is not available yet, but it is expected to be available by the end of April 2020. Click here to read the latest guidance.
 
Update: Social distancing guidance for businesses in Scotland 
The revised guidance sets out all business workplaces that are not being specifically required to close should consider it imperative that they keep open only those premises or parts of premises that are truly critical or essential to the national and international Covid-19 effort.

Additional guidance from Food Standards Scotland has been developed to supplement generic guidance for consumers and food businesses which has been published by Food Standards Scotland and on the Gov.uk website.

It intends to translate Scottish Government guidance on ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): business and social distancing guidance’ and the advice published by Health Protection Scotland for Non-Healthcare Settings for application in food manufacturing settings. This guidance also takes account of guidelines produced by the food industry on practical ways to provide a safe working environment at this time.
 To access this important new guidance please click here.
 
Do you have surplus edible food?
Company Shop, a social enterprise, is supporting front line workers and disadvantaged communities by redistributing surplus food and products at a discount. Company Shop can purchase your surplus stock, providing a financial return on product that may otherwise have gone to waste.
 To enquire about selling your surplus, contact any of the Scottish business development team:
Sandra Brown – sandra.brown@companyshop.co.uk, 07813 993 304
Mark Don – mark.don@companyshop.co.uk, 07813 993 322
 
Retail landscape in Italy
IRI has published data on consumer behaviour within Italy to provide guidance to UK food and drink manufacturers on what could happen within retail in the short term.
Key findings from Italy

  • Small stores, local supermarkets and discount stores are in growth while out of town hypermarkets are in decline. Discount stores could be experiencing an increase due to personal financial concerns, while out of town hypermarkets are losing sales due to restrictions on travel
  • Major announcements lead to spikes in shopping behaviour. With major government announcements continuing to take place on weekdays, it is likely shopping patterns will spike midweek
  • Basket sizes increased from €45 to €76, (46% increase) while shoppers spent more on goods such as non-perishables and canned or dried goods. The trend for home baking is likely to continue too
  • Some snacking categories may decline slightly as pre-packed snacks are no longer required for packed lunches. Although, consumers do still want some treats during the crisis, chocolate bars have seen a rise in demand

To hear more about shopper and market insights, IRI are running a webinar on Wednesday 8 April at 2pm GMT. Click here to register.

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

Letters and employee briefings

Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.
Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.
Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

Social distancing best practice tips, click here.
Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. 
Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.  

Redundancy Support Service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000.

Recruitment

Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Find out more and upload your vacancies.
Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal have launched a jobs portal for all essential businesses based in Edinburgh, East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Fife or the Scottish Borders, looking to recruit urgently to respond to high demands as a result of COVID-19. Click here to access the portal.

Business help
The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 
Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        
If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660
 
Public health advice
Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Do not meet others outside your household, even friends and family. This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.
You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

NHS asks people to share their coronavirus symptoms to help others

A new Coronavirus Status Checker that will help the NHS coordinate its response and build up additional data on the COVID-19 outbreak has been launched on Friday by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.
People with potential coronavirus symptoms are now being asked to complete the status checker and answer a short series of questions which will tell the NHS about their experience.

Health advice
For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.
What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms
Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.
If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

2nd April​

Fish Market Information

There was slightly more fish hitting markets over the course of today. Prices remain strong, but supplies are still very low. This morning Peterhead had 483 boxes (40% monk) and Shetland 677 boxes (40% whiting). KLB will have a small market later tonight of 200+ (export mix). 

Reports for tomorrow currently showing another small market in Pd of approx. 600 ( all Rockall fish consigned from UL) and Scrabster has reported in with 1 boat for 167 boxes of mainly haddock and whiting. Shetland showing 380 boxes Friday from 2 boats, with another boat still to report.

There will be more haddock on PD market from tomorrow, so we should get a better idea of where the remaining fresh trade demand for bigger sizes is at.

Locally efforts to get more vessels back to sea are being hampered by the weather.  While there is a short lull between tomorrow and Saturday, Sunday into Monday now looking poor also with a southerly f6, gusting f8 forecast.   On the west coast the boats on the edge could get worked over the weekend but the forecast is currently giving what could be a fairly punchy Atlantic depression forming west of Rockall moving NE up and over the Wyville Thomson Ridge as we move into Monday.   If the forecast is correct by P.M. Monday the Northerly grounds, especially up and around Shetland will be taking the brunt of it.

The forecast aside we still hope that several boats will make a move by Monday, but given the delay the weather will cause, it is estimated that it could be a week yet before auctions market increase beyond current minimal levels.

Market Update 2nd April​
Coronavirus Employer Roadmap​
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme​
Key workers letter movement​
Key workers letter childcare providers​
Furlough letter to employee​

Market Assessment

Local

We are currently working with Scotland Food & Drink to develop a portal to promote local selling activity that is taking place. We are continuing to promote activity through social media at present so please feel free to send us any information you wish us to be communicated out.

UK

At a UK level we are working with Scottish Government to develop a campaign to get more seafood into UK retail.

Export

At Seafood Scotland we have access to in-market specialists in number of key markets across the world. We have received market intelligence on a number of key markets which I have summarised and attached for information. Tonight I have focussed on France, Italy, Spain, Middle East, USA and China. We will continue to update this information for you.

I have also attached a poster I was send by Paul Thomson from JK Thomson, his daughter in law designed this for their office, a little bit of humour.

 

Scotland Food & Drink Update

The additional guidance from Food Standards Scotland, mentioned yesterday, was published this morning. See below for the link. This is really important official guidance and it should be treated as the go-to place for information on how to maximise social distancing and worker protection, at the same time as continuing to maintain food/drink production and supply. The new guidance incorporates some of the best practice information we had shared previously. You can also use this as a risk assessment tool within your own business. It will also be a helpful mechanism to engage with the workforce and give them even further confidence on the steps you’re taking to protect them and the business. Thanks to FSS for the work on this, which aligns with advice across the rest of the UK.

There’s one bit of feedback we’re asking for from you over the next 24 hours – around access to government financial support, in particular the Business Interruption Loan Scheme. There have been a number of reports of problems and delays. We hear that changes may be coming and there’s reports the Chancellor may overhaul the scheme very shortly. In particular, by removing the requirement for banks to consider all other lending options first. That is one likely reason that money is not flowing as quick as it should. All feedback welcome via info@foodanddrink.scot.

Other areas to tell us about include updates on your staff absenteeism. It still seems to be levelling out at around 10-15% on average. But we know it is spiking more sharply in some businesses. Secondly, the haulage industry is under significant pressure. Over 40% of the UK fleet is parked up just now. The wheels of delivery are still moving but any issues should be reported to us.

We’re also working with Seafood Scotland and other industry partners and Scottish Government on campaign work to encourage people to buy local. A central portal for the public to access direct delivery is being explored too. All of this would help to find new customers for products now locked out of export and foodservice markets. We will keep you updated on progress.

Lastly, Scottish Government officials are working hard on the next phase of financial support for the sector. The seafood processing sector has been at the sharp end of the impact, so measures for them, alongside options for the wider sector, are in development. Expect to hear more in tomorrow’s daily update on that.

Important New Guidance from Food Standards Scotland: COVID-19 – Guidance for Food Business Operators and their Employees

In these challenging times, it is essential for the food sector to prioritise the safety of their staff as a critical resource and to ensure all of their employees are following government guidance on infection prevention and control measures against COVID-19.

Whilst there is currently no evidence that food is a source of the virus, it is more important than ever for food businesses to implement effective Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS), including the application of frequent and thorough hygiene practice.

This guidance has been developed to supplement generic guidance for consumers and food businesses which has been published by Food Standards Scotland and on the Gov.uk website.

It intends to translate Scottish Government guidance on ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): business and social distancing guidance’ and the advice published by Health Protection Scotland for Non-Healthcare Settings for application in food manufacturing settings. This guidance also takes account of guidelines produced by the food industry on practical ways to provide a safe working environment at this time.

 To access this important new guidance please click here.

Best Practice and Tips from Industry: Social Distancing Measures in the Workplace

In addition to the official guidance (above) we have collated a number of tips and best practices from businesses and partners regarding social distancing in the workplace. These tips are offered to enhance and supplement the FSS Guidance and businesses have told us they are proving useful as they implement new ways of working. The tips can be found here (updated 1 April).

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings. If you have helpful resources or tips that you’d like to share, please send them to info@foodanddrink.scot

Job Hub

Skills Development Scotland has developed the My World of Work Job Hub, a new free service, offering employers a way to advertise immediate job vacancies in Scotland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Find out more and upload your vacancies.

If you have any suggestions for development of the site please feedback via info@foodanddrink.scot 

Redundancy support service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000. 

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership updates

We’ve pulled together a table of the comprehensive updates, activity and support available across the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership. To access this great resource, please click here. 

Latest UK Retail Sales Figures Insight

Data partner IRI has shared with the SF&D Market Intelligence Team one of the most up-to-date pictures available (sales data to 28th March) of what is happening in the turbulent UK multiple retail market. After media stories of stockpiling, empty shelves and product shortages this report details the real changes taking place in demand and supply in UK supermarkets.

Report Summary

  • Last week’s grocery sales were lower than the same week in 2019. UK value sales in grocery were -3.8% lower which equates to £64.1m value sales (w/e 28th March 2010)
  • Some categories experienced growth (vs the same week in 2019). These include lager, fresh chicken, fresh beef, prepacked cheddar, and prepacked sausages
  • Other categories showed decline (vs the same week in 2019). These include sandwiches, chilled ready meals, cakes, water, and lunch salads

To access the full report please click here.

VisitScotland Business Impact Survey

VisitScotland has released the second wave of their survey that is tracking the effects of Coronavirus on the industry. As well as gaining insight into the overall impact on Scottish tourism, it is also generates understanding across different regions and business sectors, including food and drink activities. The survey results can be found here

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

Letters and employee briefings

Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.

Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.

Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

Social distancing best practice tips, click here.

Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. 

Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.  

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

1st April​

Today I have been answering a lot of queries from individuals and trying to seek clarity on a number of issues. Every day things are changing and more clarity begins to emerge with some of the questions being asked, guidance and FAQ’s are being developed and amended according.

Please find attached again the guidance and Q&A regarding furloughing of staff and how the payment structure for this will operate, a template letter for furloughing staff and also key worker movement letter. I will always put amended versions on the page so you can keep up to date with the latest guidance and will highlight any key points of change. Food Standards Scotland are currently making amendments to their guidance and will be published in due course and will give you these when I receive them.

Please keep your questions coming in.

Please be assured that Scottish Government are working hard to finalise an intervention scheme that will support the processing sector and an announcement will be made very soon.

Scotland Food & Drink Update

We are keeping a close watching brief on workforce absentee levels with very variable level of absence reported across the country and between individual businesses. Please keep information flowing to us on changes on this and general impacts of the outbreak on your operations. We are involved in daily calls with our fellow industry bodies and with government and it’s your information shaping the responses being developed. As always, you should email info@foodanddrink.scot with a briefing on your current situation.

A reminder too that yesterday saw the launch of the new workforce recruitment platform, which could be a very useful mechanism for businesses seeking to fill emerging gaps in their own workforce. The link to that is below.

Many of you continue discussions in your own businesses on social distancing and building further protection for workers that have to be on site to keep food and drink supply moving.  There may be further guidance issued from Food Standards Scotland (FSS) later. In the meantime, the business section in the Q&A from FSS remains the go-to place for official guidance. We also have the SF&D best practice guide available too. Links to both are below. 

Job Hub

Developed by Skills Development Scotland, Job Hub has been launched on behalf of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership.

Job Hub is a free service which enables employers across Scotland to quickly and efficiently advertise vacancies to a broad audience through Scotland’s dedicated careers resource My World of Work. 

Redundancy support service

The Scottish Government has enhanced its support service for those made redundant as a result of COVID-19.  Advice is available at redundancyscotland.co.uk or by calling 0800 917 8000.

Social distancing within food businesses

A reminder that Food Standards Scotland has published a Q&A for consumers and businesses. Many of the calls we’ve had are answered within this guidance on social distancing and other safety measures.

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

This is not official guidance but is proving useful for many businesses we’re told. We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more. The tips can be found here (updated 1 April).

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings. If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to info@foodanddrink.scot 

Employee social distancing briefing

Some food and drink businesses have found it helpful to issue a briefing to employees, detailing the measures being taken to maintain social distancing and provide regular updates on company guidance. Click here for an example sent to us from a member. 

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership updates

We’ve pulled together a table of the comprehensive updates, activity and support available across the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership. To access this great resource, please click here. 

Personal Skills Learning Resource

The Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) has collated some of its top resources for the personal skills needed to cope with immediate changes to working life. These can be accessed here

 Business Gateway webinars

Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.  

Kantar – COVID-19: Ensuring Resilience in Retail

If you missed yesterday’s webinar with the Kantar UK team answering questions about the impact and implications the Coronavirus pandemic is having on retailers, manufacturers and people’s shopping behaviour you can now listen to a recording. Click here to access. 

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

Letters and employee briefings

Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.

Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.

Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

Social distancing best practice tips, click here.

Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. 

 

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660.  

Coronavirus update

152,979 people in the UK have been tested for the virus of which 29,474 were confirmed positive. Of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 2,352 have died.

The actual number of people with the respiratory infection in the country is estimated to be much higher.

A total of 17,007 people in Scotland have been tested. Of these:

  • 14,697 tests were confirmed negative
  • 2,310 tests were positive
  • 76 patients who tested positive have died

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

31st March​

The key issue the seafood sector faces today still remains that supply and demand need to match. The sector are all trying hard to find a new way of working to ensure catches are landed in a timely manner in the correct volumes with the current demand from processors who are still operating.

It is therefore vital that you continue to feed into the sales agents what your requirements will be and will allow everyone to be able to plan for supply matching demand over the coming weeks.

We have good guides to share with you; a roadmap for employers who are considering furloughing staff, and a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme FAQs. I have also attached again the key workers movement letter. If any companies are having any labour issues because of staff absenteeism can you please let me know.

We continue to wait on official guidance for car sharing travelling to and from work, however, the advice we have been told at present is only people living in the same household can car share. I will share official guidance as soon as I receive this.

If you have any issues you wish to raise, please do not hesitate to contact me and I if I don’t know the answer I will find out.

 

Scotland Food & Drink Update

Today, we’ve been raising a few issues that further clarification is required on.  Some of the exact rules around the furlough of workers are still to be confirmed. In particular, the ability of furloughed workers to support workforce gaps in other sectors is being explored.   

On travel restrictions, there are some reports of police stopping vehicles with staff that are car sharing in order to get the work. Further official public health advice is being sought to help clarify for the police – and for our businesses – what the enforcement advice should be.

In other developments today, Scotland Food & Drink has joined six of its industry partner organisations in signing a letter co-ordinated by FDF Scotland to all of Scotland’s MPs and MSPs. It highlights the work being undertaken by businesses and our workforce to keep the nation’s food and drink supply chain moving. A link to the letter is below.

Also today, a new workforce platform to connect those looking for work with those needing additional workforce has launched. This will add – and provide a central connection to – the many other excellent initiatives happening on this subject. See more information below.

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership updates

We’ve pulled together a table of the comprehensive updates, activity and support available across the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership. To access this great resource, please click here.

Recognising the valuable role of the Scottish food production supply chain – a letter to MPs & MSPs

Today FDF Scotland co-ordinated a letter signed by industry partners to MPs and MSPs across Scotland highlighting the valuable role that the food production supply chain is doing by providing high quality food to front line workers and the Scottish population, during this unprecedented time. Read the full letter. 

Job Hub

Today, sees the soft launch of Job Hub developed by Skills Development Scotland on behalf of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership.

Job Hub is a free service which enables employers across Scotland to quickly and efficiently advertise vacancies to a broad audience through Scotland’s dedicated careers resource My World of Work. 

If you have any suggestions for development of the site please feedback via info@foodanddrink.scot

Home delivery  

Many producers and independent retailers are turning to home delivery as an option to reach local customers in self-isolation or unable to travel to their local shop.

The Association of Convenience Stores has issued new guidance on how to start a home delivery service. This can be found here.

Business Gateway webinars

Business Gateway is releasing webinars across Scotland to help businesses through COVID-19.  Topics range across such as staffing issues, managing business debts, government funding and rates relief. To find out more and to register, please click here.    

April 6 Employment Law Changes – The Good Work Plan

Though Coronavirus is currently dominating the headlines, there are huge employment law changes that have to be legally implemented by 6 April 2020.

Known as The Good Work Plan, these are designed to give greater protection to those working under more flexible work arrangements. They will impact every single business in the UK, such as through changes to holiday pay calculations and the increased protection of agency workers.

To help get your head around the changes, here are two free guides that the HR & Employment Law experts of our partner, Citation, have put together:

 

Social distancing within food businesses

A reminder that Food Standards Scotland has published a Q&A for consumers and businesses. Many of the calls we’ve had are answered within this guidance on social distancing and other safety measures.

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

This is not official guidance but is proving useful for many businesses we’re told. We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more. The tips can be found here.

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings. If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to info@foodanddrink.scot 

Employee social distancing briefing

Some food and drink businesses have found it helpful to issue a briefing to employees, detailing the measures being taken to maintain social distancing and provide regular updates on company guidance. Click here for an example sent to us from a member. 

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

Letters and employee briefings

  • Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.
  • Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.
  • Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.

Guidance and tips

  • Social distancing best practice tips, click here.
  • Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here

Business Support Measures

Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here. (updated 31 March)

 

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660.  

Coronavirus update

In the UK there are more than 22,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus and at least 1,408 people, who have tested positive for the virus, have died.

More than 112,800 people in the UK have been tested for the virus but were found not to have it. The actual number of people with the respiratory infection in the country is estimated to be much higher.

A total of 15,895 people in Scotland have been tested. Of these:

  • 13,902 tests were confirmed negative
  • 1,993 tests were positive
  • 60 patients who tested positive have died

Please note: delays to reporting over the weekend have contributed to the increase in total test figures and deaths confirmed today.

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

29th March​

You will see from the SF&D update below the partnership has been working on a number of issues today including ensuring Police Scotland now have the template letter we have provided for your employees to travel too and from their workplace. We are also busy working with Scottish Government to look at support mechanisms.

The key issue the seafood sector faces today in ensuring that supply and demand match. A large number of companies responded to my email on Friday regarding the requirement to temporarily close their businesses due to lack of orders as export and food service markets collapse. It has become apparent over the weekend with statements made from both the UK and Scottish Governments that this lockdown will not be a 3 week short lockdown and then things start to go back to normal. This lockdown and market restrictions will be here for the coming weeks possibly 3 months and what then becomes normal?

We need to ensure that companies that have a market, however limited, can as far as possible, have a supply of fish to process. The fishermen also need assurances that there are buyers for their fish once it is landed and also that the prices are not going to collapse. There was no market in Peterhead today with only private sales taking place, there will be one tomorrow. Many of the processors will have seen the email that SSA put out today about the need for us all to work together to find a workable solution in these unprecedented times we are undergoing. We need to all find a new way of working and ensure that the catching sector are working on demand of supply from the processors. It is therefore vital that you feed into the sales agents what your requirements will be moving forward.

Seafood Scotland, SFF and SSA have had very productive conversations with Scottish Government regarding the promotion of Scottish seafood today and are progressing with this and we will keep you all informed of the progress.

Please continue to ask questions and feed in information.

Scotland Food & Drink Update

At the start of week two of ‘lockdown’ there continues to be a range of priority issues for the Scotland Food & Drink team, working with partners, government and individual businesses. 

Over the weekend a number of you have shared more information on the significant changes you’re implementing to embrace the social distancing requirements. 

Workforce absence is starting to rise based on reports we are receiving; it probably sits at around 15% on average across the sector. Please keep sharing your own situation, it helps inform the daily discussions between the industry organisations and government. Please drop us a note via info@foodanddrink.scot.

The template travel letter we issued to assist workers who may be questioned on their movements has now been shared with Police Scotland.  Please report any issues your essential workers face in travelling to work.

We’d remind businesses that there is no further requirement for PPE for your staff, beyond what would normally be required. It will be important we don’t add to the national demand for those products, the priority for which needs to be frontline NHS staff. 

There is also a great deal of work going on to address product supply gaps and to explore how products previously destined for export and the out of home markets could be redirected to meet retail, convenience and home delivery demand. 

In addition, discussions continue with government on business support measures.

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership updates

We’ve pulled together a table of the comprehensive updates, activity and support available across the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership. To access this great resource, please click here.

Enterprise Agencies

Scottish Enterprise, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and South of Scotland Enterprise have today (30 Mar) published an open letter, outlining their joint commitment and actions to support Scottish business as they respond to the significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

These actions seek to complement the unprecedented financial and economic measures outlined by the Scottish and UK Governments over the past week or so. 

Business resilience

The Scotland Food & Drink team is working hard to create a new guide to business continuity and resilience, and we hope to be able to bring you this within the next few days.

Tomorrow, Tue 31 March, two of our partners are hosting seminars to share their respective industry knowledge on a wide range of key resilience related issues.

Kantar – COVID-19: Ensuring Resilience in Retail

  • Join the Kantar UK team to hear about the impact and implications the Coronavirus pandemic is having on retailers, manufacturers and people’s shopping behaviour. To find out more, join Kantar on Tuesday 31 March at 2pm GMTfor a webinar where a team of Kantar retail experts will share findings from daily, weekly and monthly panel data, how to win the mircro-battles and their opinions on what is next for retail. Please find the registration link here

Shepherd and Wedderburn – COVID-19 Food and Drink Sector Webinar update

  • In this food and drink focused webinar, Shepherd and Wedderburn’s legal experts take a sectoral look at some of the core COVID-19 related issues, examining staffing, frustration of contract, competition law, and the licensing and regulatory impact of the recent Coronavirus Act. Please find the registration link here

 

Social distancing within food businesses

A reminder that Food Standards Scotland has published a Q&A for consumers and businesses. Many of the calls we’ve had are answered within this guidance on social distancing and other safety measures.

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

This is not official guidance but is proving useful for many businesses we’re told. We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more. The tips can be found here.

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings. If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to info@foodanddrink.scot 

Employee social distancing briefing

Some food and drink businesses have found it helpful to issue a briefing to employees, detailing the measures being taken to maintain social distancing and provide regular updates on company guidance. Click here for an example sent to us from a member.

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

Coronavirus Business Toolbox

  • Letters and employee briefings
    • Travel to work pro-forma letter, word version template, click here.
    • Childcare Request pro-forma letter, word version template, click  here.
    • Employee social distancing briefing example, click here.
  • Guidance and tips
    • Social distancing best practice tips, click here.
    • Food Standards Scotland social distancing guidance click here
  • Business Support Measures
    • Overview, key links and application status update on food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here.

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on Coronavirus guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660.  

Coronavirus update

A total of 19,522 cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be much higher.

The number of deaths is now 1,228 according to the latest figures available.

A total of 14,624 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 13,061 tests were confirmed negative
  • 1,563 tests were positive
  • 47 patients who tested positive have died

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

27th March​

Many of you will have received an email from me today asking if your business has closed, intends to close today or remain open for operations next week. Thank you to everyone who got back to me.

The seafood sector has been hit very badly in this crisis, with the loss of export markets and food service markets it has caused a large number of businesses to temporarily close. All the leaders of the seafood and fisheries sector are working tirelessly to ensure that the businesses who can continue operations have the infrastructure to remain open. We are also supporting the supply chain to ensure they have real time information to react to any increase in market activity so businesses can increase production and indeed reopen as soon as possible. We really do appreciate all feedback we receive from you to allow informed decisions to be made. Food production and seafood is of essential importance to feeding the nation during this time and we are all essential workers in supporting the country during this crisis.

I would like to thank the team at Seafood Scotland, the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership, SFF, SSA, Scottish Government officials and countless others for all their hard work, many of it behind the scenes to work towards getting the correct information to you and looking at how we can best support the sector during this time.

26th March​

One of today’s priorities has been around clarifying guidance for within food and drink businesses on social distancing.

Food Standards Scotland has this morning issued guidance which mirrors that issued by Public Health England, so it is consistent across the UK. It addresses the two-metre, social distancing rule which has been the subject of many questions we’ve received. See below for the link.

The Scotland Food & Drink partnership has also moved to support our businesses who have workers for whom it’s absolutely essential to travel to work. We’ve had reports of police questioning some workers about their movements so the industry trade bodies have produced a template letter for companies to use and for workers to have with them when travelling (this has not happened in the seafood sector yet to my knowledge). There is also one developed to help with childcare requests. These are attached.

Enquiries have also came in regarding furlough letter template for employees and I have attached a template. We have been asked regarding availability of PPE such as facemasks etc, it is becoming increasing difficult for businesses to purchase these are the first priority for these goods are going to front line health care staff.

Help for Self Employed has been announced this evening of direct cash grant of 80% of their profits, up to £2,500 per month

  • The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
  • To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment.
  • To minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment and meet the above conditions will be eligible to apply. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply.
  • The income support scheme, which is being designed by HMRC from scratch, will cover the three months to May. Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all 3 months, and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.
  • Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.
  • Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.
  • For the self-employed who have yet to submit your tax return for this year have been given 4 weeks to file.

Just a reminder of the Corona virus fund for Seafood Fishing Industry that was announced

  • The seafood sector is to receive an initial package of more than £5 million in financial support to assist businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Funding will be offered to over 650 seafood fishing companies, many of whom have lost their livelihoods with the collapse of export and hospitality markets for Scottish delicacies like langoustine, prawns and crab.
  • An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under – the vast majority of which are in the creel and dive sectors, many of whom operate in remote and island communities.
  • Support is also being developed for the onshore processing industry – one of the largest employers in Scotland’s coastal communities – and others in the shellfish growing sector which is being affected by the loss of trade and markets.

Marine Scotland will be writing to all vessels and relevant representative Associations with more details. Queries can be emailed to: seafisheriesintervention@gov.scot. More details can be found at:

https://www.gov.scot/news/support-for-seafood-fishing-industry/   

We still await the funding announcement for support for the processing sector

 

Travel to work and childcare request pro-forma letters

The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership has worked to produce two pro-forma letters for food and drink businesses to issue to relevant employees.

The first of these is to help those for whom it is absolutely essential to travel to work – for example in the case of being stopped by the police.

The second letter template is to request childcare provision for those employees who are essential to the ongoing operation of manufacturing and supply.

Thanks to David Thomson of FDFS for co-ordinating this work.

Social distancing within food businesses

Food Standards Scotland has published a Q&A for consumers and businesses. You can find official guidance to many questions regarding social distancing and other safety measures.

https://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/consumers/food-safety/coronavirus/questions-and-answers-covid-19

On the two metre rules it says: “Food businesses need to minimise opportunities for the virus to spread by maintaining a distance of 2 metres between individuals wherever possible.” See the link above for the full guidance. 

 

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

The First Minister has advised essential businesses to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace. To support food and drink manufactures in protecting their workforce from Covid-19, Scotland Food & Drink has pulled together best practice tips being used by members of the food and drink business community.

 

This is not official guidance. This might not be relevant to all businesses but we hope that by building a community of practice it provides some support to businesses during this trying time.

We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more. An update from today, 26 March can be found here.

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings. If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to info@foodanddrink.scot 

 

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

 

Request for businesses involved in food supply – stay open if you can

Businesses involved in food supply should remain open if possible, subject to being able to adhere to two requirements:

  • safe social distancing practice
  • normal health and safety requirements.

If you cannot meet both these requirements, the Scottish Government guidance is to close.

Alongside this guidance we would reiterate our guidance to businesses to reduce staffing levels on site to the bare essentials required to operate.

 

Business Support Measures

Overview and application status update on key food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here.

This includes:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund £10k Grant
  • Deferring VAT payments
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate for SMEs
  • Non – domestic Rates Relief
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • HMRC Time to Pay scheme

Specific support for:

  • Scotland’s seafood fishing industry
  • Retail, leisure and hospitality
  • The self-employed

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660

 

Coronavirus update

A total of 9,529 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be much higher. The number of deaths is now 463, according to the latest figures available.

More than 87,490 people in the UK have been tested for the respiratory infection but were found not to have it.

As of 2pm on 26 March, a total of 11,487 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 10,593 tests were confirmed negative
  • 894tests were positive
  • 25patients who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) have died.

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

25th March​

We welcome the £5m funding announcement from Scottish Government to support the 12metre and under fleet and further details of this can be found below.  We have spent a lot of time today answering calls and emails looking for further guidance for businesses regarding ongoing operations and social distancing. There is formal advice due out imminently from Food Standards Scotland for food and drink businesses and we are in dialogue with Scottish Government and Marine Scotland, however below you will find latest government advice which will provide a huge challenge for the seafood supply chain. 

It’s been a busy day working on other issues too. We are working on a pro-forma letter for businesses to issue to employees for whom it is absolutely essential to travel to work, we have had reports from the agricultural sector of the police questioning some staff heading to their workplace and challenging their movements outside of the home. FDF Scotland is co-ordinating that work amongst the industry partners. If anyone feels they need this urgently please contact me.

Coronavirus support for seafood fishing industry

Extra payments to help sector through outbreak.

  • The seafood sector is to receive an initial package of more than £5 million in financial support to assist businesses during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Funding will be offered to over 650 seafood fishing companies, many of whom have lost their livelihoods with the collapse of export and hospitality markets for Scottish delicacies like langoustine, prawns and crab.
  • An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under – the vast majority of which are in the creel and dive sectors, many of whom operate in remote and island communities.
  • Support is also being developed for the onshore processing industry – one of the largest employers in Scotland’s coastal communities – and others in the shellfish growing sector which is being affected by the loss of trade and markets.

Marine Scotland will be writing to all vessels and relevant representative Associations with more details. Queries can be emailed to: seafisheriesintervention@gov.scot.

More details can be found here  

Request for businesses involved in food supply – stay open if you can

Businesses involved in food supply should remain open if possible, subject to being able to adhere to two requirements:

  • safe social distancing practice
  • normal health and safety requirements.

If you cannot meet both these requirements, the Scottish Government guidance is to close.

Alongside this guidance we would reiterate our guidance to businesses to reduce staffing levels on site to the bare essentials required to operate.

Further guidance to employers published by the Scottish Government

Points that employers should consider:

  • Working with unions and workers to identify only those staff absolutely necessary to deliver the COVID-19 response and to provide essential and safe services
  • Introducing new shift patterns, working from home, recruiting more staff or dropping non-essential tasks
  • Having discussions with staff to identify if they can access any appropriate alternative childcare. This may include another parent or carer who is not a key worker

More on this updated guidance can be found here

Best practice and tips from industry on how to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace

The First Minister has advised essential businesses to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace. To support food and drink manufactures in protecting their workforce from Covid-19, Scotland Food & Drink has pulled together best practice tips being used by members of the food and drink business community.

This is not official guidance. This might not be relevant to all businesses but we hope that by building a community of practice it provides some support to businesses during this trying time.

We will continue to develop and expand these tips as we learn more. Please read the daily bulletin to stay up to date. The tips can be found here.

We’d like to thank all the businesses and partners who contributed and shared their learnings.

If you have created your own guidelines or have come across any helpful resources please share by sending to info@foodanddrink.scot 

Public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials– only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day– such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need– for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work– but only where this is absolutely necessary

Vehicle MOT Extension

  • The Secretary of State for Transport announced today (25.03.20.) that he is granting an MOT temporary exemption. This means that if your MOT is due from 30th March 2020 you will automatically receive a Six-month However, you must still keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition and garages will remain open if your vehicle need repairs.

 

Business Support Measures

Overview and application status update on key food and drink relevant financial support measures can now be found here.

This includes:

  • Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund £10k Grant
  • Deferring VAT payments
  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate for SMEs
  • Non – domestic Rates Relief
  • Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
  • HMRC Time to Pay scheme

Specific support for retail, leisure and hospitality:

  • 100% rates relief
  • Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support Fund £25,000 Grant

Support for the self-employed

  • Tax payment on account deferrals

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660.

Coronavirus update

A total of 8,077 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be much higher. The number of deaths is now 422, according to the latest figures available.

More than 82,300 people in the UK have been tested for the respiratory infection but were found not to have it.

As of 2pm on 25 March, a total of 10,676 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 9, 957 tests were confirmed negative
  • 719tests were positive
  • 22patients who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) have died.

In most western countries case numbers have been increasing by about 33% a day. More than 436,000 people infected globally. The number of people confirmed to have died as a result of the virus has now surpassed 19,600. 

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

What to do if you have coronavirus symptoms

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

24th March​

Clearly, the announcement by the UK Government and Scottish Government of national ‘lockdown’ is the most significant development since yesterday’s update. The over-riding concern for both administrations is public Health. How this will impact the seafood sector will be significant.

New public health advice: Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of Coronavirus

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

Request for businesses involved in food supply – stay open if you can

Businesses involved in food supply should remain open if possible, subject to being able to adhere to two requirements:

  • safe social distancing practice
  • normal health and safety requirements.

If you cannot meet both these requirements, the Scottish Government guidance is to close.

Alongside this guidance we would reiterate our guidance to businesses to reduce staffing levels on site to the bare essentials required to operate

What this means is the fishing fleet, processing facilities and others within the supply chain, you MUST be able to ensure ALL workers are operating at a social distance of 2 metres. This will have serious implications for the sector in the coming weeks while this is still in place.

Key worker status. Originally clarification of food production staff being a key worker was being sought from individual local authorities as this was only referring to access to school childcare, whilst this is still the case for childcare there is also identification of key workers in the food production supply chain requirement to be able to leave their homes and attend their place of work.

At present under current guidelines if you are a food production company who is currently supplying the marketplace you will be allowed to continue in your operations. However you must adhere to the social distancing and normal H&S requirements. You must also ensure non-essential staff stay at home. Only staff that are critical to the production facility are to travel into the workplace. So for example all admin, marketing etc must stay at home. People will be stopped and asked to prove key worker status and their place of work and we are working with Scotland Food & Drink to pull together a pro forma letter that you can complete for your staff to carry with them if you don’t already have anything in place. This will come out tomorrow.

The current supply and demand situation is also proving very challenging with a tough day at markets today. Work is taking place with various organisations tirelessly to try and help manage the situation and understand the new demand with lockdown. Things are changing rapidly and with the formal guidance of the 2m social distancing this will have further impact on both the fishing fleet and processing sector’s ability to operate at present.

At Seafood Scotland we are still keeping abreast of the situation both in the UK and internationally to ensure that when markets start to open up we have the market intelligence to put in place marketing effort to rebuild trade and relationships. We are still keen to be putting any positive news out on social media and we have put together a plan to support local consumption of local product with recipe ideas, demonstrations etc.

Business Support Measures

Overview and status update on all financial measures here.

Scottish Government Coronavirus Business Support

Businesses can now apply for grants to help them deal with the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

Small businesses in receipt of the small business bonus scheme or rural relief, as well as hospitality, leisure and retail business can benefit.

Two types of grant are now available to ratepayers:

  • a one-off £10,000 grant to ratepayers of small businesses
  • a one-off grant of £25,000 available to retail, hospitality and leisure business ratepayers with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999

The list is not exhaustive and if businesses think they may be eligible for one of these grants, they should contact their local authority, which are administering the scheme on behalf of the Scottish Government. Some Local Authorities may not have updated their websites yet, but will hopefully do so shortly.

Further details available here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

The UK Government has pledged to cover 80 % of the wages of furloughed workers backdated to March 1.

Some information to note: 

  • Do companies have to pay the additional 20 per cent? No. Companies should pay 80% of workers’ wages up to £2,500 a month once they have been furloughed. They will retrospectively be able to claim for that amount.
  • They should pay workers using normal payroll systems, deducting tax and national insurance under the pay as you earn (PAYE) system. If employers want to top up pay levels, they can, but will not be able to claim for more than 80% of £2,500, equivalent to a gross salary of £2,000. 
  • The big outstanding issue is what happens to employers’ national insurance contributions, which amount to about 13.8 per cent of the majority of a worker’s salary. This has not been decided yet. 
  • HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement and are ‘aiming to get it done before the end of April.’

How can companies without cash flow pay their workers’ wages?

  • The main source of funds for this will be the deferral of value added tax payments for the quarter until June 2020 which do not have to be paid until March 2021. 
  • Officials told the Financial Times that there would be no interest payable on these VAT deferrals.If tax deferrals and other measures announced by the chancellor such as business rate relief in some sectors are inadequate, the Treasury wants companies to borrow in the short term. Officials said that to do this they should look at the business interruption loans (details in the summary).

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660

We are aware that food and drink manufacturers are looking for guidance on how best to implement social distancing measures in the workplace. The Scotland Food & Drink team are pulling together guidelines as we speak and will issue shortly.

 

Coronavirus update

United Kingdom Cases 

Confirmed: 6,650
Deaths: 335
Recovered: 135 

A total of 9968 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 9384 tests were confirmed negative
  • 584 tests were positive
  • 16 patients who tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) have died

The number of new cases in the UK and Scotland is expected to rise sharply in the next four weeks and then peak in June.

Health advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by using the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do. 

If you have coronavirus symptoms and need help, from now on you should dial 111, not your GP. You only need to call 111 if your symptoms worsen and are unmanageable, or do not improve after 7 days.

Continue to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home.

23rd March​

Seafood Scotland Update

The weekend’s work has been dominated by the “key worker” issue, alongside digesting the significant funding announcement made by Chancellor on Friday night.  You will have seen that the status of “key worker” for food production will be decided on an individual local authority basis. With 32 local authorities this creates a confusing picture and many of the local authorities are still working through the categories only prioritising key health care workers at this moment in time. At present the “key worker” status is to determine childcare provision. We will inevitably move into a different “key worker” status if/when a lock down occurs and we are working hard to ensure critical workers to help feed the nation in the sector and supply chain are identified on this list. We are working with Scotland Food & Drink and other F&D trade bodies as one voice on this issue and you will find more detail below including the press release that went out today. We also need to reiterate calls that you need reduce staffing levels to the lowest possible number and that staff who can work from home do so. The more people we can keep out of the workplace and schools the quicker we can stop the virus from spreading.

On the funding announcement we are still trying to get as much clarity on up to 80% support for employee costs so we can to signpost everyone to the full details. Systems and processes need to be put in place and as soon as we have these details we will communicate these to you.

A question we have been asked a lot today is how social distance on the production line is undertaken, at present we cannot find any formal guidance on this but we are trying to gather this information for you and hopefully tomorrow we will get this out to you all.

A lot of discussions are taking place regarding fishing effort and assessing the daily market demand for seafood and we really appreciate everyone’s continual effort to ensure that this will work as best as it can. Difficult decisions have to be taken short term but lets hope we are on a path to recovery very quickly. We are assessing the international markets on a daily basis to stay ahead of the curve to ensure there is enough product on the marketplace as soon as demand increases again.

Thank you to everyone who is providing information, a lot of requests are happening from a lot of different organisations and we appreciate your patience and understanding. We are all working together to provide data required by industry, stakeholders and governments and to minimise requests.

 

Action for businesses to take now

The full statement issued by the industry this afternoon is available here:  https://foodanddrink.scot/news/covid-19-food-and-drink-businesses-asked-to-reduce-staffing-to-bare-essentials/

In summary, we are asking food and drink businesses to do the following, if they have not done so already:

  • Reduce staffing levels to the lowest possible number required to maintain the production of essential goods
  • DO NOT contact your local authority to make the case for key worker designation unless it is the measure of last resort. All other measures must be explored first (e.g. shift changes, halting some production lines, alternative childcare arrangements)
  • If you do contact your local authority, only seek designation for “business critical” roles.

 

Will key worker designation have relevance in a “lockdown” scenario

A so-called ‘lockdown’ situation, which has been introduced in a number of European countries, remains an imminent prospect in the UK.  In this scenario, it is expected that the movement of individuals across the country will be severely restricted for a period of time.  All but essential services would halt. 

The definition and role of ‘key workers’ in this situation is unclear. At present, we hope and expect that many businesses will be able to find innovative ways to manage staff absence resulting from the school closures, illness and current self-isolation advice.  Some will find real difficulty with that, hence our request for national guidance on prioritising essential food production and supply for childcare places, where there are absolutely no alternatives.  However, in a lockdown scenario, new mechanisms will be required to ensure we can safeguard the movement of the workforce required to safeguard the production and provision of essential food and drink products.  The industry bodies have begun thinking on this and are already discussing this scenario with Scottish Government.  We’ll update you as and when things develop.

 

Latest Business Feedback Summary

The key information provided to us by businesses for: 23.03.20.

  • Growing financial pressure on many food and drink businesses, with a resulting need for quick translation of the UK/Scottish Government funding announcements into action.
  • Businesses now taking tough decisions re shift patterns and shift reductions.
  • Companies adapting and setting up delivery of their products.
  • Some manufacturers trying alternative products (e.g. hand sanitiser)
  • Online or ecommerce food / drink businesses increasing awareness of their offering
  • Hospitality businesses adapting to home delivery

New Package of Support from UK Government

(For more details please see the Johnston Carmichael website) 

Key announcements:  

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:

  • The UK Government will pay wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Access to the scheme

  • First step is to designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify your employees of this change. 
  • It is not clear whether directors and shareholders of owner-managed companies can put themselves ‘on furlough’, or how it affects zero hours workers.
  • Submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal.
  • NB (from Accountancy Daily): ‘There is limited information available and no technical guidance from HMRC as yet.  HMRC will have to create a new IT software system to run the scheme. This will take until April to complete.’

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) 

  • CBILS is available through the British Business Bank’s 40+ accredited lenders, which are listed on the British Business Bank website here.
  • In the first instance, businesses should approach their own provider – ideally via the lender’s website. They may also consider approaching other lenders if they are unable to access the finance they need.
  • Decision-making on whether you are eligible for CBILS is fully delegated to the 40+ accredited CBILS lenders. These lenders range from high-street banks, to challenger banks, asset-based lenders and smaller specialist local lenders. 
  • Bank letter templatehere to help you invoke the CBIL Scheme and request to freeze all payments of interest, capital and any fees

Bridging loan scheme

  •  Further to the Bridging Loan announcements earlier this week, the Government are reviewing an extension of the scheme to include larger and medium-sized businesses. We expect further announcements on the details next week.

VAT

  • The next quarterly VAT payment is to be deferred. Payments are deferred from now until end of June and companies will have until the end of the financial year to pay any deferred VAT.

Tax Payment on Account

  • To assist the self-employed the 31 July 2020 Income Tax Payment on Account is being deferred and is to be paid on 31 January 2021. 

Support for businesses paying tax

  • All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service.
  • These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to Covid-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

Non-domestic rates in Scotland

The Scottish Government has proposed help for companies in Scotland with non-domestic rates during coronavirus (Covid-19).  It is working with Scotland’s 32 Councils and other stakeholders to agree a common approach to the application process.

Deferring payment of non-domestic rates

If you’re struggling to pay your non-domestic rates bill you should contact your local council and ask them about your payment options.

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

Sign up for email updates from the Scottish Government on coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance and advice for businesses in Scotland here.        

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660

The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. Callers should select option one to speak to the Covid-19 team. Please be aware that the helpline experiences a very high volume of calls.  

Information and Tools

 

  • Information on Statutory Sick Pay here.
  • Company Cashflow Toolbox

 

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

The virus’s proliferation has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, meaning it is spreading rapidly in different parts of the world. More than 150 countries have confirmed cases so far. 

A total of 5683 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000.

The number of deaths is now 289, according to the latest figures available.

United Kingdom Cases 

Confirmed: 5,683
Deaths: 289
Recovered: 135 

A total of 9364 Scottish tests have concluded. Of these:

  • 8865 tests were confirmed negative
  • 499 tests were positive
  • 14 patients who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died

The number of new cases in the UK and Scotland is expected to rise sharply in the next four weeks and then peak in June.

 

Health Advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by visiting NHS.UK/coronavirus to check your symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting your GP.

Also:

  • People showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus should stay at home for seven days and only contact NHS 111 or their local GP if their symptoms worsen during that period.
  • Members of a household where someone has suspected symptoms should now stay at home for 14 days.
  • Those with underlying health conditions should be ‘’shielded’’ at home for 12 weeks.
  • Minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations and smaller gatherings such as restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas and gyms
  • For those who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant, they are strongly advised against these activities and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.
  • Avoid using public transport as much as possible
  • Work from home when possible
  • British nationals should also avoid all non-essential foreign travel, the Foreign Office has advised.
  • Follow basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching your face and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

19th March​

Seafood Update

 

  • Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing is working on a package of support for the seafood sector to be announced soon. A number of support mechanisms are being considered – as soon as this is announced I will put out an update. (Apologies for putting wrong timelines in previous email)
  • Skippers and crew are being advised to continue fishing during this period of uncertainty.
  • Half landings, where possible, with fresher product to the market and less volume hoping to find the balance of ‘supply to demand’.
  • Days at sea also under consideration to again maintain balance of supply to demand
  • It’s vital we keep continuity of raw material to the market putting effort on species most in demand.
  • The onshore infrastructure needs support to ensure a healthy future.
  • Minimal disruption to the food supply chain – a target to hopefully achieve.
  • Recognition across the piece that we need to move from ‘react’ phase to response and action, and that applies across the piece – gov’t and all parts of industry.
  • Supporting SF&D case for seafood companies and key supply chain staff to be officially designated as ‘key workers’ and trying to get a better understanding of what a potential lockdown could look like for the sector.
  • Rumours are abound that Boulogne Sur Mer will close on Monday – this is not the case. This will remain open.
  • Independent Fishmongers reporting trebling of sales.
  • Social media campaign to buy and eat local with recipe ideas, cookery demonstrations etc to launch. If anyone has content they wish to provide or to highlight please pass on to enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

 SF&D action being taken, together with our partners

 

  • Making the case for food and/or drink manufacturing workers – and key supply chain staff – to be officially designated as ‘key workers’. This is essential for safeguarding ongoing food supplies to the public. Both Scottish and UK Governments are currently weighing the options for this and we hope to have a clearer picture on Fri 20th and we will let you know as soon as we can. 
  • Pushing for rates relief to be extended beyond hospitality and retail and into the food and drink supply chain. Also pushing for additional Government support – the primary action needs to be taken at UK level.  For example, a wholesale break on business tax for at least three months (VAT, employers NI etc.).
  • We are still highlighting the impact on food and drink businesses of unprecedented disruption in the supply chain (recognising the effective closure of the hospitality market and major disruption to export markets). We’re working closely with our industry partners to reflect the pressure across all sectors and working hand-in-hand with Scottish Government and its agencies
  • Exploring new routes to the UK market/consumers to pick up the sales drop in foodservice/export.

Non-domestic rates in Scotland during Coronavirus

 

The Scottish Government has provided new information regarding help with non-domestic rates in Scotland during coronavirus (Covid-19). Details can be found here.

Applying for a grant and getting paid

The Scottish Government is working with Scotland’s 32 Councils and other stakeholders to agree a common approach to the application process. This should help make sure there’s an effective and timely processing of grants as soon as possible.

Deferring payment of non-domestic rates

If you’re struggling to pay your non-domestic rates bill you should contact your local council and ask them about your payment options.

Business interruption insurance

 

  • SF&D spoke to 70 of our Scottish food and drink manufacturers yesterday. 97% do not have cover for Covid-19 within business interruption insurance. This is either because pandemics are not covered or that Covid-19 – a novel strain – is not on the list of recognised diseases.
  • The First Minister has committed to meet the insurance sector, UK Government too, and we will be feeding in the need for the insurance sector to play its part in supporting their customers. UK Government could explore under-writing the sector to pay out on interruption policies.

Scottish Government funding announcement

 

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop has confirmed (Wed 18 March) that Scottish businesses will get £2.2 billion of support

Support includes:

  • 6% relief for all properties, effectively freezing the poundage rate next year.
  • £10,000 grants for small businesses in receipt of the Small Business Bonus Scheme or Rural Relief.
  • A full year’s 100% non-domestic rates relief for retail, hospitality and tourism
  • £25,000 grants for hospitality, leisure and retail properties with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000.
  • Urging local authorities to relax planning rules to allow pubs and restaurants to operate temporarily as takeaways.

In addition, it has been announced that Scottish schools will close at the end of this week. 

Latest general business feedback summary

The key information provided to SF&D by businesses for: 19.03.20

  • Smaller food and drink manufacturers, who are more reliant on foodservice customers, are facing immediate business challenges.
  • Some businesses who supply multiple retailers have seen a surge in demand.
  • One or two companies who sell online, direct to consumers, are reporting a sharp rise in orders. 
  • Reports from retail orientated companies of supply chain challenges in raw materials, especially if imported.
  • We are continuing to use the media to raise awareness on issues facing the Scottish food and drink supply chain. We want to highlight real business impact. If your business is willing to speak to the media, please get in touch with SF&D who are co-ordinating at info@foodanddrink.scot

 

Business help

The findbusinesssupport.gov.scot website is the best way to find the information you need in relation to Coronavirus (24/7). 

This is a fast-moving situation and the Scottish Government are working hard to expand the information available on the website so that businesses can get the answers they need.

If you can’t find the information you’re looking for on the site above, call the business helpline number on 0300 303 0660

The helpline is open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm. Callers should select option one to speak to the Covid-19 team. Please be aware that the helpline is experiencing a very high volume of calls.  

Please do not call to request more information on the range of measures announced by the Scottish Government on 18 March and by the Chancellor on 17 March. The call handling team have no further information at present.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

According to the UK Government website, here’s what you need to know:

  • If someone becomes unwell in the workplace with a new, continuous cough or a high temperature, they should be sent home and advised to follow the advice to stay at home.
  • Employees will need your support to adhere to the recommendation to stay at home to reduce the spread of Covid-19 to others.
  • Those who follow advice to stay at home will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) from the first day of their absence from work.
  • Employers should use their discretion concerning the need for medical evidence for certification for employees who are unwell. This will allow GPs to focus on their patients.
  • Employees from defined vulnerable groupsshould be strongly advised and supported to stay at home and work from there if possible

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

Legislation is being brought forward to allow small and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim SSP paid for sickness absence due to Covid-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of Covid-19.
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of Covid-19.
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
  • Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force.
  • The UK government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.

The Scotland Food & Drink team are keeping a close eye on the development of the SSP refund mechanism and will provide updates as soon as they become available.

Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. 

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to Covid-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

For Tourism businesses, VisitScotland has set-up an advice page which can be accessed here

For Hospitality businesses, the insight supplier CGA is supporting the market by publishing weekly trading data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, backed up by the results of regular snap consumer surveys. For more click here

Coronavirus Covid-19 update

 

A total of 2,626 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000.

The number of UK deaths is now 104, according to the latest UK figures available (18 March).

53,595 people in the UK have been tested for the respiratory infection and 65 people are said to have recovered.

As of 2pm on 19 March, there were 266 positive cases of Covid-19 in Scotland. So far, six patients in Scotland have died.

Health advice

 

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by visiting NHS.UK/coronavirus to check your symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting your GP.

People showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus should stay at home for seven days and only contact NHS 111 or their local GP if their symptoms worsen during that period.

Information required by Seafood Scotland

 

The situation is fast-moving and in order to successfully deliver the work above we need business impact information – as much as we can. We had many emails and messages yesterday, thank you. Please send all information including loss of sales, business fragility, cashflow problems, workforce absence and disruption in supply chain. Also, any other potential solutions or opportunities are welcome. Send all information to enquiries@seafoodscotland.org

18th March​

Seafood Sector action being taken

  • After the announcement of the closure of supermarket fish counters to start tomorrow we are putting pressure on Scottish Government to urge retailers to reverse this decision. The Cabinet Secretary has a meeting with retailers tomorrow morning.
  • Pushing home the impact on Seafood sector within catching, processing and supply chain and how fragile this sector currently is and that it cannot withstand a period without support from government.
  • Working with processing sector to understand immediate requirement for landings to inform catching sector or volumes and species that will be require for current market demands.
  • Looking at different logistic options for exporting due to freight options being limited or very expensive for example dedicated air freight routes to US.
  • Dialogue undertaken to encourage secondary processors to switch some of requirement to locally landed species.
  • dialogue with retailers to look at how other species can be sold in UK retail.
  • Developing social media plan and potential platform to promote new ways of promoting and selling of Scottish seafood locally

Latest Seafood Business Feedback Summary

  1. Sectors of the fleet are facing very serious situation, but Government is listening and understands the need for urgent action – we are in regular contact.
  2. Fishing and seafood industries, working together, can make sure we will have a reliable supply of healthy, safe and nutritious food in the UK – modern, efficient fleet able to keep fishing, with processors delivering product that the market wants – so yes these are very difficult times, but we should have confidence in our ability to be an important part of keeping the UK fed.
  3. Export demand has continued to plummet especially within Europe with only a very small amount of product getting out of the country as orders continue to cancel. Product going unsold on French seafood markets. Markets in Middle East falling only supermarkets and pharmacies open here too.
  4. Real worry that Italian customers will not pay Scottish companies as they will go bankrupt with crisis.
  5. Sector needs information supplied by government to be user friendly.
  6. Catching and Processing sector continuing to lay off staff and this will become more prevalent in the coming days with the end of the week becoming a critical point.
  7. Sector need support from government of at least 50% of wage costs to support companies of all sizes to keep employing their trained staff.
  8. Sector needs financial aid package that does not include loans but puts cashflow into businesses to survive.
  9. A need to maintain supply chain for both inbound and outbound food and food production materials. 
  10. Cold storage is becoming scarce.

 

What did the Chancellor announce on Tuesday?

Key message: this is an economic crisis. The UK Government will do “whatever it takes”. There is more support to be announced. Crucially, we will hear later today (Wed 18th) from Scottish Government how this will fully translate to support in Scotland. The main elements of the Chancellor’s announcement are:

  • A series of government loans; £350 billion guarantees of economic support.
  • For SMEs, extending the business interruption loan scheme, which will offer loans of up to £5m, from next week.
  • A specific focus on hospitality: a cash grant of £25,000 per business (with a rateable value of less than £51,000) to support them during this period.
  • For the UK’s 700,000 smallest companies, cash grants of £10,000.
  • Additionally, the business rates holiday would be extended to all businesses in “most affected sectors” for 12 months. Currently that is only defined as leisure, retail and hospitality.
  • Mortgages providers will offer a mortgage holiday for three months 
  • Insurers to pay out business interruption insurance cover where it includes pandemics.

 

Scottish Government funding announcement.

As of 3pm (Wednesday 18 March), the First Minister had indicated the following, in response to the UK Government response:

  • Replicating yesterday’s UK Government’s package which will result in over £1.9 billion to support Scottish businesses with a commitment to passing on all consequentials from the Chancellor and “every penny” going to support Scottish businesses and employers.
  • £10,000 for businesses in small business rates relief and the rural business scheme and a freeze to the poundage rate over the next financial year.
  • A 12-month business tax relief will be implemented for properties in retail, hospitality and leisure and grants of up to £25,000 for those sectors with a rateable value between £18,000 and £51,000. An additional ask to the UK Government to reduce cost pressures on businesses by implementing tax holidays, PAYE breaks and a suspension of the Apprenticeship levy.
  • The First Minister will chair an urgent meeting with insurance companies and FISAB to look at how banks could best support individuals through the outbreak.
  • Guidance for local authorities to ease restrictions on pubs and restaurants becoming takeaways will be issued by the Chief Planner. All local authorities will be contacted to secure rates deferrals until next year and PACE programme support will be given to those made redundant by the crisis.
  • A commitment to Fair Work Convention principles remaining at the forefront of Government response with discussions between trade unions and the private, public and third sector continuing.

A Q&A is attached regarding support for Non Domestic Rates

In addition, it has been announced that Scottish schools will close at the end of this week.

 

James Withers appeared on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland today to outline the impact of the current crisis on our industry and what needs to happen now to support it. SF&D’s main points in response to the announcement are summarised below but if you’d like to listen to the full interview please click here.

  • Loans are not the best mechanism. Distressed businesses don’t need debt and interest payment, they need injections of cash.
  • The business rate holiday is welcome but must be broadened beyond hospitality to food and drink manufacturing.
  • Any tool that injects cash into companies, small or large, must be considered.
  • UK must think radically, exploring all options to make the business environment tax free for an emergency period of time, at least 12 weeks
  • In addition, the insurance industry must be approached immediately with regards to how they implement business interruption insurance, where many policies exclude
  • Public health is the top priority but in the long-term to protect lives Government must also protect livelihoods in order to drive the  recovery later in the year.

 

Business Help

Based at Scottish Enterprise’s call centre in Clydebank, advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to COVID-19.

The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660

The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team.

Please do not call to request more information on the range of measures announced by the Chancellor on 17 March. The call handling team have no further information at present.

To complement the helpline a new website has been created to keep businesses up to date with the latest guidance across a comprehensive range of important areas relating to COVID-19.  

More information on the Chancellor’s business support measures new will be added to this site shortly.

Click here  FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot. to access

Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. 

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

 

Coronavirus COVID-19 Update

The virus’s proliferation has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, meaning it is spreading rapidly in different parts of the world. More than 150 countries have confirmed cases so far. 

The epicentre of the coronavirus is now Europe, with the largest number of confirmed cases in Italy, and death tolls growing more quickly in Italy and Spain than they did in China at the same stage of the outbreak.

United Kingdom Cases 

Confirmed: 1,950
Deaths: 71
Recovered: 65 

As of 17 March, there were 195 positive cases of Covid-19 in Scotland following 4,895 tests, with 4,724 tests negative. So far, two patients in Scotland have died.

The number of new cases in the UK and Scotland is expected to rise sharply in the next four weeks and then peak in June.

This link https://www.foodstandards.gov.scot/consumers/food-safety/coronavirus  provides further information on Covid-19 and the risk management advice to the effect that:

The risk of contracting novel coronavirus (COVID-19) through the UK food chain is very low. There is currently no evidence to suggest transmission occurs through the foodborne route.  Therefore you are very unlikely to catch COVID-19 from food.

Health Advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by visiting NHS.UK/coronavirus to check your symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting your GP.

Also:

  • People showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus should stay at home for seven days and only contact NHS 111 or their local GP if their symptoms worsen during that period.
  • Members of a household where someone has suspected symptoms should now stay at home for 14 days.
  • Those with underlying health conditions should be ‘’shielded’’ at home for 12 weeks.
  • Minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations and smaller gatherings such as restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas and gyms
  • For those who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant, they are strongly advised against these activities and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.
  • Avoid using public transport as much as possible
  • Work from home when possible
  • Follow basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching your face and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing

Information required by Seafood Scotland

The situation is fast-moving.  The information businesses provide us fuels our effort in analysing impact and exploring mitigation options, financial or otherwise.  Please send Seafood Scotland all information including loss of sales, business fragility, cashflow problems, workforce absence and disruption in supply chain.  Also, any other potential solutions or opportunities are welcome. Send all information to enquiries@seafoodscotland.org  we will also feed this information directly into Scotland Food and Drink to allow this to feed into the wider food sector discussions.

17th March​

SF&D action being taken

  • Highlighting the impact on food and drink businesses of unprecedented disruption in the supply chain, recognising the effective closure of the hospitality market and major disruption to export markets.
  • Pressing for UK Government support. The level of support required is enormous, well beyond the means of Scottish Government (but also exploring options for support at Scottish level).  Avenues being explored include tax relief, including a suspension of PAYE obligations, a holiday on VAT payment, grants to cover payroll costs.
  • Working with media to raise awareness of the impact on the Scottish food and drink supply chain.
  • Collating industry impact information to share with Government.

Seafood Sector action being taken

  • Highlighting the impact on Seafood sector within catching, processing and supply chain and how fragile this sector currently is and that it cannot withstand a period without support from government.
  • Pressing for UK government support to not only include what SF&D are highlighting but to include support for State Aid exemptions to allow support out with fisheries deminimis and to support large organisations, capital and interest loan holidays, support to allow fishermen to apply for recently announced grant aid of £3000, support for cashflow.
  • Looking at different logistic options for exporting due to freight options being limited or very expensive.
  • Developing up to date information on access to markets.
  • dialogue with retailers to look at how other species can be sold in UK retail.
  • collating what support is being offered to seafood sectors in other countries.
  • With the cancellation of major tradeshows including Boston Seafood show and Seafood Expo Global in Brussels we are working on plans to get market activity started as soon as it is possible.

Information required by Seafood Scotland

The situation is fast-moving.  The information businesses provide us fuels our effort in analysing impact and exploring mitigation options, financial or otherwise.  Please send Seafood Scotland all information including loss of sales, business fragility, cashflow problems, workforce absence and disruption in supply chain.  Also, any other potential solutions or opportunities are welcome. Send all information to enquiry@seafoodscotland.org  we will also feed this information directly into Scotland Food and Drink to allow this to feed into the wider food sector discussions.

Latest Business Feedback Summary

The key information provided to us by businesses will be summarised here daily.

  1. Export demand has plummeted with only a very small amount of product getting out of the country, either because of the closure of hospitality outlets or major disruption to traditional routes to market (airlines, haulage etc).
  2. Large parts of the foodservice market in UK will become affected with current government guidelines across hotel, bars, restaurants etc. 
  3. Shellfish sector are the most vulnerable sector with immediate action needed.
  4. Prawn prices are dropping and soon becoming unviable to fish for them and cold stores are filling up.
  5. We all need to work together to ensure that all decisions taken, are taken collectively to ensure there is a market and processing capability to match the catch being landed.
  6. Catching and Processing sector starting to lay off staff and this will become more prevalent in the coming days and weeks.
  7. Without the Easter trade internationally many companies will suffer as this is their busiest time out with Christmas.

 

Business Help

Based at Scottish Enterprise’s call centre in Clydebank, advisers across Scotland will answer questions from businesses related to the Coronavirus outbreak.

The business helpline number is 0300 303 0660

The helpline will be open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Callers should select option one to speak to the COVID-19 team.

To complement the helpline a new website has been created to keep businesses up-to-date with the latest guidance across a comprehensive range of important areas relating to COVID-19.  

Click here  FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot. to access

Support for businesses paying tax

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. 

These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

 

Update on virus spread

The virus’s proliferation has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, meaning it is spreading rapidly in different parts of the world. More than 150 countries have confirmed cases so far. 

The epicentre of the coronavirus is now Europe, with the largest number of confirmed cases in Italy, and death tolls growing more quickly in Italy and Spain than they did in China at the same stage of the outbreak.

United Kingdom Cases  (as at 16/3/20)

Tested: 44,105

Confirmed: 1,544
Deaths: 55
Recovered: 52 

 

There are 171 positive cases of Covid-19 in Scotland following 4,240 tests. So far, one patient in Scotland has died.

The number of new cases in the UK and Scotland is expected to rise sharply in the next four weeks and then peak in June.

Health Advice

For people showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus the UK Government is stressing the importance of seeking help online by visiting NHS.UK/coronavirus to check your symptoms and follow the medical advice, rather than visiting your GP.

Also:

  • People showing symptoms suggestive of coronavirus should stay at home for seven days and only contact NHS 111 or their local GP if their symptoms worsen during that period.
  • Members of a household where someone has suspected symptoms should now stay at home for 14 days.
  • Those with underlying health conditions should be ‘’shielded’’ at home for 12 weeks.
  • Minimise social contact by avoiding crowded areas and large gatherings, including religious congregations and smaller gatherings such as restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, cinemas and gyms
  • For those who are over 70, have an underlying health condition or are pregnant, they are strongly advised against these activities and to significantly limit face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.
  • Avoid using public transport as much as possible
  • Work from home when possible
  • Follow basic hygiene precautions, such as washing hands frequently, not touching your face and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing

Please pass this email on to anyone who would be interested in this update and they can email enquiries@seafoodscotland.org to register to be added on to the distribution list.









Enquiries





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