Joseph Robertson

Company information

Family-friendly fish

Joseph Robertson is a family-owned and -run business that was set up in Aberdeen 140 years ago. The company is one of the largest independent seafood businesses in the UK, with key product lines including coated fillets and fishcakes, but it has also expanded into the vegetarian and ‘free-from’ categories.

"We supply a range of products to major retailers across the UK, manufacturing for the retailers’ own-label brands," says Managing Director Michael Robertson. "In addition, the company has product ranges through its own Swankies and Get Hooked brands. We are committed to sourcing ethically-sustainable raw material and supplying the very best quality, best value products possible."

The company suffered a setback in late-2005 when a fire destroyed its factory, but it managed to bounce back quickly. "The company survived the disaster, with a new state-of-the-art £8.4m factory designed and built in under 14 months. The new facility was officially opened in May 2007," says Michael.

More recently, there have been other, more promising changes for the company to deal with, both at home and abroad. "In recent years, there has been a reduction in the number of direct competitors within our industry, which has strengthened our position," says Michael. "Brexit has also brought with it opportunity.

The weakening of the pound has made the export market more appealing and it is an area of the business we are actively looking to grow."

However, he adds that Brexit also presents challenges in terms of staff recruitment and retention, at a time when there is already upward pressure on labour costs. "There are opportunities to be had by going down the route of automation and making processes more streamlined and less labour intensive," adds Michael. "That will lead to increased efficiencies, as well as a reduction in labour costs and dependency on migrant workers."