France: Big opportunity in Poland


Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
February 13, 2011

UBIFRANCE will support seafood operators keen to gain a slice of Poland’s vibrant fish-processing industry.

According to the French trade agency, French seafood exports to Poland grew only 3 percent in the 10 months from 2009 to 2010, compared to Polish seafood imports, which rose 36 percent during the same period. These figures “underline French sales are behind when compared to the global dynamic,” suggested UBIFRANCE.

UBIFRANCE is encouraging French seafood companies to attend the biannual Polfish show in Poland later this year, setting-up a French pavilion to promote “all French businesses in the seafood and fish-farming supply chain, fresh and processed and/or ready-prepared seafood, as well as equipment providers.”

Eastern European countries are economic bright spots compared to the rather lackluster economic landscapes of 2010 posted by “old” Europe. Last year, Poland posted growth of 3 percent with a variety of “European structural funds, a modern distribution chain, and more demanding consumer,” underlined UBIFRANCE.

Following quota limits and the restructuring of the fish-farming supply chain, Polish processors are increasingly on the hunt for imported raw materials that can be met by the “quality and diversity French offerings,” said the agency.

Smoked fish is particularly big business. In 2007, the European Union yielded 110,000 metric tons of smoked salmon, with Poland contributing some 22,500 metric tons, just slightly behind France at 27,400 metric tons.

And Polish firms are increasing their presence on the European market. According to FranceAgriMer, four European firms controlled more than 40 percent of the EU smoked salmon market in 2007, two of which are Polish. Indeed, the two Polish firms, acquisition-hungry Morpol and Suempol, operated nearly one-quarter of the European smoked salmon market in 2007.

“Polish companies increasingly present on the international scene are not hesitating to link up with western European firms,” said FranceAgriMer.

Bolt-on acquisitions last year saw Morpol enter the UK salmon-farming business, and last month the firm bought its first Norwegian salmon-farming company, Jokelfjord Laks.

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