Insight & Research


Spotlight on seafood processors on the Cutting Edge of innovation in new magazine

30 September 2019  |  Insight & Research
Publication part of a suite of resources for processing businesses which also includes new self-service enquiry tool.

The first edition of a new magazine for the UK seafood processing sector has been launched. Published by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, Cutting Edge tells the stories behind the processing industry performance data and shares example of innovative work being done by seafood processing businesses.

Cutting Edge replaces Seafish’s Processing Industry Report and has an innovative two-in-one format which gives articles focussing on these pioneering ideas equal billing with the statistical data.

Stories featured in Cutting Edge’s debut edition are:

  • Expanding Markets - with seafood exports from the UK to Asia growing from under £100million in 2011 to over £300million in 2018, how can processors use seafood expos to tap into these growing markets?
  • Waste Not, Want Not - a focus on how processors can improve their efficiency and reduce cost and waste and what support is available to help support this move towards a circular economy.
  • Festival Atmosphere - a look at UK seafood festivals and how they can help processors build their local consumer base.
  • Craft Revolution – an exploration of training opportunities for processors within the craft tier of the Fishmongers’ Company’s new Master Fishmonger Standard.
  • A Leading Role – examining the important role seafood processors can play in driving sustainable fishing and the positive impact this can have on the entire supply chain.

Accessible infographics are used to illustrate the latest top level figures and trends from the Processing Industry Performance Data, with further data available here.

The figures shows a “steady as she goes” trend for the processing sector in recent years with operating profit remaining fairly constant from 2013-2016 as turnover and operating costs decreased largely in tandem. Processors saw an uptick in operating profits between 2016 and 2017, largely driven by a decrease in the cost of raw materials.

In terms of processing businesses, there has been a reduction in the number of processing sites in the smallest size band (those employing 1-10 full time staff or the equivalent.) This has been in part due to a trend towards consolidation or smaller operators seeing greater financial rewards from instead working for larger players; although both “natural wastage” of operators retiring and expansion at some sites - moving them up into the survey’s next classification band - also plays a role.

Cutting Edge is just one of a number of resources which Seafish is developing for the processing sector. The new Processing Enquiry Tool has also launched. Containing data from the 2018 processing census and 2017 financial data, the tool makes data available in a format which is easy for processing businesses, as well as government and researchers, to use and manipulate. Seafish’s Economic team will continue to support the industry on more complex enquiries.

Commenting on the release of the new resources for the processing sector, Ana Witteveen, Economist at Seafish and the magazine’s editor, said:

“We are delighted to publish this new magazine which tells the stories of the processing sector in both words and numbers. While not as high profile as the catching sector or as familiar to the consumer as the retailers, seafood processors play a key role in the supply chain. As the stories we highlight show, innovation is alive and well in the sector and the businesses we feature offer inspiration to others in the seafood and wider food processing industries.

“At time when the entire seafood supply chain is coming under scrutiny, processors have a massive opportunity to play their part in supporting sustainability from the responsible sourcing of raw product to maximising resource efficiency, both of which we explore further in Cutting Edge.”

Cutting Edge and the Processing Enquiry Tool can all be accessed here.

Seafish, which supports the entire seafood industry from catch to place, will publish the sixth edition of Quay Issues – which highlights innovation in the catching sector – later in the year.

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