Know your Scottish Salmon

Survey reveals only 6% of consumers know that Scottish salmon is farmed

Fidra acknowledges that much work has been conducted between government, industry, and retailers in the UK to establish sustainable processes in Scottish Salmon farming. However, consumers are often left out of this conversation.  

Fidra conducted surveys with UK consumers in December 2019 and 2021 to understand what influences the choices made by consumers when purchasing Scottish salmon products. This blog highlights the key findings from the 2021 survey, identifies the changes in consumer opinions over the two years and outlines our key asks for retailers. The surveys were hosted by Survey Monkey and sent to a sample of the UK population (around 700 respondents were received in both 2019 and 2021).  

Download the 2021 consumer survey report here 

Download the 2019 consumer survey report here


Key Findings

Consumer knowledge of salmon farming

The survey revealed consumers are lacking knowledge on the environmental impacts of Scottish salmon farming. Less than half of all survey respondents in 2021 (ranging from 34% to 46%) felt they had enough information on specific environmental factors related to Scottish salmon.  

Additionally, only 6% of consumers know that Scottish salmon is farmed in the UK, consistent with 2019 survey results (5%). 

Just over half of all survey respondents would like to know more about Scottish salmon farming (52%). This is consistent with 2019 survey respondents (51%). Consumers have a stronger preference for this information to be on the packaging of salmon products in 2021 (69% compared to 64% in 2019). This is further supported by 83% of consumers think it would be interesting to have the name of the Scottish salmon farm on the label of products in 2021.  

Consumer preferences for salmon

Freshness, price and colour/look of salmon were the most important factors to consumers in 2021 when buying salmon, consistent with 2019 respondents. However, more people thought information on the source and the sustainability of a product is important (27% in 2021 compared to 17% in 2019).  

Additionally, the majority of consumer respondents would be happy to pay more for a salmon product that claimed it was responsibly sourced (69% agreed or strongly agreed) and produced in an environmentally sustainable way (68% agreed or strongly agreed) in 2021.  


Most consumers look for the supermarket’s own ‘responsibly sourced’ labels/certification logos when considering which salmon product to purchase (43%). Two possible reasons for this include (a) the consumers not only trust but believe the responsibility of certification lies with the retailer, or/and (b) the consumer is not aware of what the other certification schemes mean. 

Supermarket preference for buying salmon

The majority of consumer respondents buy Scottish salmon from major retailers in 2021 (99%), consistent with 2019 consumers (100%).  The most popular supermarket for buying salmon was Tesco (20%). 

Download the 2021 consumer survey report here 


Fidra’s key asks

Based on this analysis, Fidra makes the following asks to retailers in order to improve traceability, transparency and reduce the environmental impacts of Scottish salmon farming:

  1. Retailers label all own brand Scottish salmon products with the name of the source farm. Having the name of the source farm on the label and/or a QR code, barcode or similar to link through to more information about on an individual farm level will show true accountability.
  2. Retailers support the development of a sustainability dashboard or equivalent database. Accessible, transparent, real-time information on environmental and sustainability issues available on a farm-by-farm basis online, would enable consumers to make informed choices.
  3. Retailers ensure they source their salmon from producers that meet the strictest regulatory and certification standards. Salmon should at minimum have an Excellent regulatory compliance record including Good or Excellent benthic survey results. Retailers should also be striving to source products that meet all the strictest criteria available through certification as specified by the ASC, Global GAP, Soil Association and RSPCA Assured.
  4. Retailers support calls for the Scottish salmon farming industry to reduce its environmental impacts. Environmental sustainability issues are clearly important to consumers, which needs to be reflected by farming practices. Central to this is reducing chemical treatments known to impact wildlife and antibiotics, moving towards more enclosed structures for treatment and waste capture, closing or moving poorly performing farms, and using more sustainable feed (including alternatives to marine ingredients).

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