Ready-prepared seafood takes off in France

By

Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
October 31, 2010

The French market for ready-prepared seafood remains buoyant, with consumers plucking more of these types of products from refrigerated cases.

FranceAgriMer, the country’s trade body, is reporting a “clear rise” in consumer purchases of ready-prepared and delicatessen seafood products, such as smoked fish, crab sticks and prawns, this year. The agency is also witnessing a “slight rise” in consumer purchases of filleted and pre-packaged fish in France.

The news comes after a meeting of the agency’s seafood council earlier this month. During the meeting, officials said tilapia and pangasius imports continue to drive competition in the whitefish market. France’s seafood imports are “stable” compared to last year and continue to be dominated by salmon, cod and prawns.

Also during the meeting, officials said an “observatory” for food prices, including fish prices, will be enacted.

In the summer, the French parliament passed a law to modernize agriculture and fishing. Articulated in the new law is the establishment of an observatory to scrutinize the seafood supply chain in terms of pricing and, crucially, margins. Three representatives from commercial fishing and aquaculture organizations will sit on the observatory, Philippe Mauguin, director general of fisheries and aquaculture for the French Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, told meeting attendees.

Further, the government has given the nod for a new group, called France Filière Pêche, that aims to “add value to the French fishing industry and to improve the coherence of promotional activities.” According to a statement from the agency, the new association will look at a plan to create an inter-professional body, financed by the seafood supply chain through voluntary contributions. All stakeholders in the chain, according to the government, will be consulted.

Also at the meeting, attendees heard the details of a plan addressing the disease problem currently impacting France’s oyster producers. The multi-point plan proposes to delve further into research and development, aid businesses impacted by the mortality and encourage producers to diversify their activities.

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