Christmas brought an oyster bonanza to Scotland’s shellfish farmers, who enjoyed the biggest demand they had ever seen over the four-day run up to the festive weekend.
Sales of their oysters normally run at six tonnes a month. But in December, the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group received orders for 24 tonnes. Most of SSMG’s output goes to UK supermarkets and wholesalers, and it supplies 90% of oysters sold in the UK.
SSMG said it was seeing off exporters because its oysters were always in season and meet healthy eating trends. The Pacific oyster spat is grown in waters along the West Coast that never rise above 18C, ensuring constant growing conditions.
SSMG MD Donny Gillies said: “Sales were particularly strong in Waitrose, up 30%, but also in Tesco and Morrisons. We expect another upsurge in demand for Valentine’s Day, the other major high point for sales. Mussels also did very well.”
Last year SSMG invested £400,000 in its operation and its turnover grew from £5m to £7m in the year to September.
n Waitrose said its sales of fresh fish over Christmas rose 20%, with oysters, salmon, prawns and cod fillets performing best.