Although the UK’s food industry includes by a wide variety of imported products from vendors all around the world, many of its culinary traditions and iconic dishes remain deeply rooted in British culture.
Fish and chips is certainly among that list. With approximately 10,500 chip shops: restaurants specializing in traditional fried fish with French fries, international seafood suppliers can count on continued demand. In fact, two thirds of fish consumed in the United Kingdom is imported.
Traditionally, cod or was used as the main ingredient, but cod fisheries are depleted and sustainability practices limit their consumption. Now, a new South American player has been gaining ground in the market. Until 2017, fresh fish imports from Colombia were an uncommon for English diners. Up until then, the only Colombian fish products in the UK market were fish by-products and processed fillets that did not see strong adoption in the market.
This is no longer the case. Aquaculture exports from Colombia to the UK have grown by 214% in the last two years, with tilapia fillets increasing by 126%, according to investment promotion agency ProColombia. The fish are now found in some of the United Kingdom’s main fish markets—including Billingsgate in London and in supermarkets such as CostCo, which has 29 stores in the country.
Colombia has several characteristics that make it an ideal supplier to both the aquaculture and fisheries sectors. For example, its diverse aquatic ecology along with suitable land, freshwater, and saltwater bodies all offer great potential for further developing aquaculture. The seasonally unchanging climate allows year-round production in much of the country.
Additionally, advanced quality and environmental regulation—specific criteria for area selection, cultivation systems, fattening and reproduction, and monitoring responsible use of water resources, forests, and lands—support the sector’s sustainability.
Loren Moss is the founder and publisher of Finance Colombia. He has over 20 years of international business experience, including over a decade of experience in securities, insurance, and commercial real estate, at the institutional and international level.