A letter from his main salmon supplier prompted Ian Goldstein to highlight the problems facing the salmon industry. The letter set out the reasons behind escalating prices and Mr Goldstein passed it on to clients at his Stanmore smokery.
“We have absorbed too many increases,” said Mr Goldstein, who has run the smoked salmon business — started by his grandfather in Stepney — operating under London Beth Din and Kedassia supervision. “Whatever our price is, someone will always undercut us.
“I want to give the best product, to the highest levels of hygiene and supervision and provide smoked salmon that is as good as any you can buy. But I won’t lower my standards to achieve a higher profit margin.”
Putting this into perspective, he said a 25p-a-kilo price hike puts “£2,500 on my bottom line immediately. When we smoke a salmon, 53 per cent is wastage and we have to pay £25 a bin to have it taken away. Years ago, people gave us presents to take it.”
Mr Goldstein wondered why people bought smoked salmon in supermarkets — “it costs up to a third more than in Jewish delicatessens.”
His smoking process is a simple one. The raw fish is filleted and covered in kosher salt to give flavour and draw out moisture. Then the salt is washed off and the fillets are ready for smoking overnight in kilns burning oak sawdust. The fillets are skinned, pin-boned and trimmed by hand before being sliced by machine and finally packed by hand. Between 600 and 800 sides of salmon are dealt with every day.