‘Keep consumers interested in fish by offering a complete price range’

Marine Harvest Pieters, the processor located in the Belgian city of Bruges, puts a lot of energy into innovation, says plant manager Pieter Note.

“We constantly develop new products. That is what our customers demand from us, with the focus on quality and health next to great taste and convenience.”


It is of the utmost importance to keep consumers interested in fish, says Note.

“To achieve this, quality and product innovation are essential. We have our own product development team, with a test kitchen. The starting point of all developments is the consumer.”

“We look at the whole process, including packaging and shelf life. We have to be the market leader in all these aspects,” he continues. “We involve everyone in our company in tastings. We do that during lunch, and people really like that. We also regularly give them new products to take home to try, with a feedback questionnaire.”

The importance of salmon burgers and pangasius
Jérôme Pieters, who founded the company in 1953, was originally a nurse and social worker, but he visited the fish auction in Zeebrugge regularly, and saw how lots of fish went bad and had to be thrown away, because there was no sufficient transportation.

“Jérôme Pieters used to say: ‘If you want to sell fish, you need two things: fish and good logistics’. So he decided to arrange for transportation of fish by rail, and later by trucks. At one point, our company owned 35 trucks.”

Around 1989 Pieters realized the importance of salmon. “The company bought a salmon farm in Scotland’s Western Isles, and also got involved in Icelandic fish processing companies.”

Now, salmon accounts for 40 percent of production at Marine Harvest Pieters. Another important product for the company is pangasius.

“We process 2000 tons of ASC-certified pangasius each year, 1500 tons of this in the Netherlands. We control the complete supply chain, in long-term partnership with our top-quality supplier in Vietnam.”

It is important to be able to offer the complete range, in regard to price also, Note explains. “If you don’t offer mid-price fish species as well, consumers will turn to meat. That is why, as a fish supplier, you also need products like pangasius and fish burgers.”

read also: ‘Cooperation within Marine Harvest is our strength’


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