Volatility in salmon price hurts our business, says Dunkeld Scottish Smokehouse

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The changing salmon price puts pressure on business, particularly in the lead-up to Christmas.

Logistical challenges, including those caused by the weather, such as storms or heavy snowfall, can reduce the harvesting volumes of salmon. This can push up salmon prices. It means many smaller and medium-sized smokehouses can struggle to get the salmon they need to sell.

Mike Smith, the owner of Dunkeld Scottish Smokehouse, which is located in Highland Perthshire, told Salmon Business that putting up prices for customers was not an option, so they often had to just absorb the cost themselves.

He said: “It does [put pressure on us] in the lead up to Christmas as that’s when most demand is.”

“This year Scottish salmon production has gone from 78,000 tonnes to about 98,000 tonnes, so I’m hoping that extra capacity will suppress the price. If the farms fail, then there’s an increase in the price, there’s good demand there. We only want to buy Scottish salmon.”

“You can see a spike in prices when the Norwegians are on holiday, because they’re not producing, so we’ve just got to be better and manage.”

Mr Smith says the business buys most of its salmon from farms, with a tiny supply of wild. They also provide a smoking service for salmon anglers.

He told Salmon Business that distribution was another challenge because of the reliance on couriers.

He said: “Distribution is quite difficult. You’re reliant on couriers, and a lot of time can be spent chasing them up.”

“We would consider ourselves to be high end, and one of the challenges we have is we can buy cheaper, but you get what you pay for, and we suffer a lot of weight loss in the smoking and curing process.”

“You’re losing around 25 per cent weight, and that has to be built into the product. Weight is a key issue.”