The project explored ways to expand exports of high-end Japanese sushi and sashimi-grade frozen seafood (yellow fin tuna, amberjack, scallops and red sea bream) to the US and the UK markets. The differences between the US and UK markets are significant in terms of seafood supply structure, trade regulations, as well as consumers’ preferences. Few Japanese companies export seafood to the EU market due to import regulations, while the volumes going to the US are more sizable. American consumers are in favor of wild fish which they consider healthier than farmed, while consumers in the UK express the opposite preference, favoring farmed fish and believing that eating farmed fish is more environmentally friendly. Sustainability and traceability of the seafood supply are regarded as crucial in both markets.
Based on interviews with the seafood and sushi related industry in the US and the UK, as well as focus group interviews with consumers in California, we concluded that there are better opportunities for Japanese sushi and sashimi-grade frozen seafood in the US market. From the four researched species, scallops have the strongest chance to develop a share in the US sushi market, followed by amberjack.