Hong Kong salmon importer secures market share, price stability with new smokehouse
High salmon prices in Europe in recent years prompted a Hong Kong importer to set up its own smokehouse, allowing it to significantly increase volumes and market share.
When soaring prices for imported smoked salmon threatened its market share in 2015-2016, the Fine Food Company decided to take the margin hit in order to hold onto customers.
“We couldn’t say, ‘Prices are up 80 percent,’ so we gave up our margin in order to hold our customers. But then we built our own smoke house,” House of Fine Food Sales Executive Raphaelle Mouquet told SeafoodSource at Seafood Expo Asia on Tuesday, 6 September. “Now we import from Scotland and Norway, smoke it ourselves and we can barely keep up with demand.”
The Victoria Island Smokehouse uses wood imported from Germany, Mouquet said. Aside from salmon, Mouquet also markets the firm’s own Aristocrat brand of caviar, which is sourced from China and Iran.
Mouquet targets her sales pitch at chefs of international hotels in Hong Kong and Macau. Recently, she said, Hong Kong has become a more price-conscious and multi-layered market with room for cheaper products.
“A few years ago chefs focused more on expensive products. Now we adapt – for example, [using] farmed fish.”
Ongoing expansion of hotel and gambling resorts in Macau – the world’s leading gambling destination by revenue – hasn’t yielded the expected advantages for suppliers, according to Mouquet.
“The market in Macau is difficult,” she said. “You don’t deal directly with chefs who know the products but rather with sourcing officers. They focus on prices and want cheaper products for buffets.”