Current and future trends

We help seafood businesses in the UK understand the trends and changes in the world which may affect them now or in the future.

To identify industry changes and longer term trends we regularly scan the seafood industry horizon. This means working closely with industry stakeholders to gather, analyse and share information. That information is then used to help seafood businesses, informing their longer-term decision making and strategic thinking.

Our horizon scanning work involves:

  • gathering intelligence – collecting information about what is changing in the seafood industry and the wider world
  • regular mapping of the changes underway - to give an overview of the changes that could impact the seafood industry
  • special reviews of those changes likely to have the greatest impacts

All of this work is overseen by an industry steering group.

Mapping changes that could affect the seafood industry

We use the intelligence we gather on what’s going on in the UK and globally to maintain industry change maps. These maps note the changes that could have a significant impact on the seafood industry. These could be identified as opportunities or threats, and they might have either positive or negative results.

We map individual changes in ‘families’ which relate to broader challenges. We also look at how likely each is to occur. We then rate them as generating a weak, medium, or strong signal. The changes rated with a strong signal are the most likely ones to occur.

Through peer review with industry we shortlist the priority changes that are likely to have the most significant impact. During this process we ask industry stakeholders to:

  • review all the strong signal (or most likely) changes
  • identify which changes they think will have a high impact for industry

The priority changes are then considered for extra analysis and review.

We assess and update our seafood industry change maps annually for internal purposes. The most recent update took place in January 2020.

Special reviews

Our special reviews take an in-depth look at priority changes. As part of the review process we investigate the key drivers of a change. This includes looking at:

  • longer-term economic trends
  • trade developments
  • population changes
  • increase in scrutiny
  • regulatory developments
  • media influence

From this, we can identify which major impacts are likely to arise for seafood businesses. We also take the wider context into account by looking at impacts on seafood compared to other proteins. Finally we suggest how the seafood industry can respond.

It is important to bear in mind that our special reviews combine data, opinions and conjecture. They are position papers at time of publication. The evidence gathered today might suggest trends or changes which turn out differently over the longer term.

You can read more about our special reviews from the links below.


Download older reports:
Brexit - initial overview (July 2017)
Product integrity (Spring 2016)
Export trades (Spring 2016)
New NGO priorities (Spring 2016)
Fish as food: UK seafood consumption (Spring 2016)


To find out more about our horizon scanning work contact:

Dr Angus Garrett
Head of Horizon Scanning and Long Term Issues
0131 524 8697