“The opening of the restaurants may have some impact on the – still very good – sales volumes through retail”

Salmon giant confident about retaining pandemic customers.

Last week, SalmonBusiness reported that Kepler Cheuvreux analyst Christian Nordby reckoned that increased demand from supermarket chains as a result of Covid-19 may have permanently changed the market.

He also pointed to a tight salmon market in the years ahead. One side of that market, the hotel, restaurant and catering sector known as HORECA, historical large buyers of salmon, have been shuttered due to pandemic measures. But European countries are in various stages of reopening, depending on health situations.

Though quarantines, testing and restrictions on travel are putting a dent in tourism.

“With the further relaxation of the lockdown measures in the countries where Mowi Western Europe operates, we expect a gradual return of Horeca business with a positive influence on seafood/salmon sales to this channel, of which we are already experiencing first effects,” said Mowi Western Europe communication manager Margreet van Harn to SalmonBusiness.

“The opening of the restaurants may have some impact on the – still very good – sales volumes through retail, although we expect a lasting positive impact on retail seafood sales, especially with regard to the most popular species, among which salmon,” she added.

The salmon giant has increasingly been releasing premium products under the new consumer brand, MOWI, in Western European countries such as France and Spain.

But what makes you think that consumers will keep buying salmon in retail?

“Consumers have learned to prepare seafood at home over the past year and the awareness of and focus on the importance of food and nutrition for your health and resilience to health challenges increased. We expect these ‘new habits’ coupled with the favourable nutrition and climate profile of salmon/seafood to spell an overall positive effect for this category, both in retail and in foodservice,” said van Harn.

Smoked salmon
In terms of packaged smoked salmon, demand in retail has increased 10 per-cent, said Pierre Commère Delegate General from L’ETF (les Entreprises du Traiteur Frais), the French trade organisation representing 85 per-cent of the manufacture of smoked salmon and trout in the country.

Commère explained that the final numbers are not yet in but that the pandemic “crisis had increased” home consumption.