Rising prices stunt smoked salmon market


Lindsey Partos, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Paris

Published on
November 1, 2009

French smoked salmon suppliers are voicing their concerns over continuous raw material price increases.

The high cost of farmed salmon is the result of the gap between supply and demand, according to the association representing several large smoked salmon and trout suppliers, citing a massive fall in supply in Chile as a major factor.

“The price of fish represents about a 55 to 60 percent slice of the value of smoked salmon. The economic equilibrium for businesses involved in salmon is strongly destabilized,” said the association, which counts major smoked salmon producers Labeyrie and Marine Harvest Kritsen among its members.

According to producers, several fundamental factors have fed into the price rise. They cite an 80 percent drop in production in Chile and a fall in production in the Shetland Islands, plus the “dynamic market” for fresh salmon, as contributing to the price pressure.

French smoked salmon suppliers are trying to meet a resilient demand on their home market, as the French appetite for smoked fish remaining strong. Valued at some EUR 468 million (USD 692 million) last year, France’s smoked salmon and trout market grew 5.6 percent in volume between 2007 and 2008, with the country’s suppliers producing 28,666 metric tons of smoked salmon and 2,334 metric tons of smoked trout in 2008.

A further influence on farmed salmon prices is the impact of the North American market, which has upped demand for supplies from Norway in order to compensate for the shortfall in Chile.

“This has also put added pressure on demand and subsequent prices,” said the association, adding that the price pressure is compounded by an appreciating Norwegian kroner against the euro.
For smoked salmon suppliers, even the production increase in Norway “cannot compensate for the lack of deliveries from its principal competitors, and this despite the fact that the international market is growing.”

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