Seafood specialist Young's is planning a radical move upmarket with the launch of a spate of premium fresh and frozen fish products.

This month the company is introducing a premium Spey Valley Smokehouse smoked salmon, the result of 18 months of work on a brief to create the best smoked salmon money can buy, said the firm.

It is made in the traditional way, hung from racks over smouldering chips of oak from 25-year-old whisky casks. Young's turned to Irish fish from Glenarm to give it the best flavour. "It was the closest to wild Atlantic fish that we'd ever seen," said master smoker Jack Wilkinson.

It is being targeted at top-end retailers, including Harrods, Selfridges and Jenners, with a price tag to match: 100g costs £8.99 and 200g costs £12.99.

Despite frozen processed seafood being the core of Young's business, the smoked salmon will carry Young's branding, although black packaging has been introduced to create a more premium image. Group commercial director Jim Cane said the company had toyed with the idea of creating a new brand, but was ultimately convinced by its

consumers not to do so.

"Our research showed that people already associated our brand with high quality. When asked, people would say they liked our lobster and potted shrimps. We don't actually sell those products at the moment, but it made us realise that our brand already spans the frozen and premium categories in customers' minds."

Spey Valley salmon is the first of a wave of products set to capitalise on Young's upmarket appeal. Cane said there would be more chilled launches this year and told buyers to expect more branded product at supermarket fish counters as well. "We're sticking to our core business, but we want to make the most of the opportunity offered by premium and convenience foods."