Chile turns to haute cuisine to launch southern hake brand in Spain

Published on
November 2, 2017

A public-private initiative involving officials and industry from Spain and Chile has enlisted the help of gourmet chefs and restaurants to launch its new sector brand “Merluza Austral Chile” to Spanish consumers and retailers.

Chile’s government investment promotion agency, ProChile, is leading this joint campaign in partnership with Chilean fishing federation Pesqueras del Sur Austral, private firms from Chile (Emdepes, Deris, Friosur and Pesca Cisne) and Spain’s Europacifico, according to a ProChile statement.

The southern hake (Merluccius australis) brand, “Merluza Austral Chile,” which was launched in May 2017, is the first time Chilean officials and producers have used a sector brand for wild-caught fish.

This Spanish campaign is the first action for the sector brand and, over the next year, will be looking to articulate the culinary characteristics of the fish. The promotional efforts related to the campaign – which is exclusive to Spain for the time being – are targeting the HORECA segment, for both high cuisine and common consumers. 

The initial promotional campaign launch took place at the XIXth installment of Conxemar, Europe’s largest frozen seafood industry event, held in the port city of Vigo. This port is also the primary reception point for Chilean hake exports to Spain. At the event, ProChile director Alejandro Buvinic said that the new sector brand is “a fruit of an alliance between the private and public sectors, in a long-term associative strategy.”

As part of the campaign strategy, several show cooking demonstrations from Spanish and Chilean chefs have been held in different parts of the country. Chilean chef Carlos Pascal, founder of the Madrid based cooking event space Kitchen Club, hosted an event for press to highlight the qualities of the fish. Another dinner was held to coincide with Conxemar at Maruja Limón, a Michelin-star restaurant in Vigo. Valencia’s exclusive Marina Beach Club also hosted a cooking demonstration. 

According to Chilean government figures, shipments of southern hake to Spain accounted for 98 percent of the total USD 49 million (EUR 41.5 million) in global exports during 2016. The fish is more popular among Spanish households than cod or salmon, with per capita consumption currently around three kilograms annually.

Reporting from Santiago, Chile

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