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Conxemar 2017: Farmed shrimp supplier goes wild

Southern Europe's biggest seafood trade show is once again taking place in Vigo, Spain, this week. Check back here to get the latest from the show floor.

Thursday, Oct. 5, 6:02 p.m. CET

The show is over

This year's Conxemar show attracted 31,370 professionals from 104 countries worldwide, the organizers said.

Visitors from 104 countries all over the world visited the show. They mainly came from Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, but there was also an increasing attendance of visitors from Netherlands, Argentina, Chile, China and Germany.

--IntraFish Media

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Thursday, Oct. 5, 3.15 p.m. CET

Lidl, Eroski, El Corte Ingles up sustainability game in Spain

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in Spain has gained further support from the country's major retailers, Program Director Laura Rodriguez Zugasti, told IntraFish.

"We've made a lot of progress since last year, it really has accelerated," she said. "There's been an important uptake in the retail sector."

Discounting giant Lidl has upped its commitment, she said. In addition, retail chain Eroski has nabbed chain of custody-certification for its 350 hyper- and supermarkets. The group now offers certified Basque anchovies and albacore as well as cod at its fresh counters.

El Corte Ingles launched a range of private label canned products, which are certified under the MSC, Rodriguez Zugasti said.

So far, the penetration of certified products is still at around 1 percent in terms of the total Spanish seafood market "because consumption is huge."

But interest is growing and this "commitment of important customers is key."

Last week, the MSC launched a six-month consumer campaign in Spain -- 'Mares para siempre' -- with the support of 15 partners, including Lidl, El Corte Ingles, Eroski, Alcampo but also producers such as Greenland Seafood, bofrost, Frinsa and more.

The campaign will entail online activities, cooperation with ambassadors promoting MSC products, as well as specific promotions at stores and other public relation activities with the partners.

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Thursday, Oct. 5, 2.20 p.m. CET

Farmed shrimp supplier goes wild

Spanish firm Jaime Soriano -- best known for its Dagustin brand -- is diversifying its product range with a new deal in Argentina to target the US market with Argentinean wild shrimp.

The company, which operates 1,600 hectares of shrimp ponds in Honduras and Nicaragua -- started buying Argentinian shrimp from an unnamed partner, peel them and pack them into 400-grams boxes of IQF product.

They'll be sent to customers in Miami, the United States, Maria Vivar del Hoyo, who works in the commercial department at the firm's headquarters in Madrid, told IntraFish.

Jaime Soriano has a turnover of €100 million annually at its Madrid office -- but operations span far and wide, Vivar del Hoyo said.

It operates two processing facilities in Spain, one in Andalusia and one near Barcelona, through which it supplies the biggest fish auction markets in Madrid and Barcelona.

In addition it runs a factory in Plymouth and Fraserburgh in the United Kingdom, which process crab, squid, langoustines and lobster caught in the North Sea.

The business also extends to India and South Africa, from where it imports squid and vannamei shrimp.

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Thursday, Oct. 5, 9.40 a.m. CET

'Cape hake is Cape hake'

Growing a business is something many companies in the seafood industry aspire to but family-run Portuguese processor Gelpeixe growth doesn't mean growing at all cost.

The Loures-based company, which has a production capacity of about 40 metric tons a day, is faced with the reality of increasing demand and competition for wild-caught fish.

"The future is aquaculture but the market in Portugal is difficult," said Luis Marques, key account manager at Gelpeixe. "We could try to put aquaculture products into the Portuguese market but consumers don't want it.

"They know the difference between aquaculture and wild-caught fish and to change their negative perception on aquaculture is difficult," he told IntraFish.

Gelpeixe specializes in value-added hake products, which it sources from South African fishing firm Sea Harvest, with which it has a long-standing relationship. The products are all frozen-at-sea (FAS).

In addition, it also produces meat products, vegetables and ready-meals. In addition to Portugal, it exports to 19 countries.

Marques said the company would even go as far to rule out hake coming from other origins.

"Even though it's difficult to get enough quantities we wouldn't consider South African hake," he said. "Cape hake is Cape hake."

While South Africa is expected to see a slight quota reduction for hake in the next fishing year, Marques believes supply will be stable also in the future.

Gelpeixe reported a turnover of €53 million in 2016 and is fully owned by the Tarre family.

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Thursday, Oct. 5, 9.15 a.m. CET

Spanish seafood supplier pulls out of Amazon, Ulabox deals

Spanish group Scanfisk pulled out of its e-commerce supply deal with online behemoth Amazon UK and Spain's online retailer Ulabox for the supply of products under its Mr. Fisk brand, Jorge Alonso, chief marketing officer at the firm, said.

Speaking to IntraFish, Alonso said the company had the opportunity to introduce its products to Amazon USA -- but stepped away from the deal altogether, pulling all its products from the online retailers.

The reason? The environmental footprint of doing business online.

Click here to read the full story.

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 6.07 p.m. CET

Italian, Spanish, Portuguese processing industry associations join forces

Seafood processing industry associations from three southern European countries -- Spain, Italy and Portugal -- inked a cooperation agreement Wednesday to jointly develop, promote and enhance the sector at a global level.

The agreement was signed by Spain's Conxemar, Portugal's Alif and Italy's Assoittica Italia in Vigo, Spain, on the sidelines of the show.

Through the deal, the three associations will cooperate and work together to achieve common objectives, such as strengthening activities that benefit production and marketing in the sector, as well as promoting initiatives and strategies to add value to the processing sector.

They will also support each other in areas such as implementation of good business practices and harmonization of standards in general.

In addition, Conxemar, Alif and Assoittica will expand their industrial and commercial cooperation with a view to a future in the context of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union.

José Luis Freire, president of Conxemar, said the agreement is "an opportunity for the countries of southern Europe to gain more importance in Brussels or where issues that are of interest to the sector are discussed."

--IntraFish Media

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 3.25 p.m. CET

Angulas supplier ventures into surimi crabsticks, inks first retail deal

Spanish supplier El Angulero de Aguinaga -- best known for its angulas -- launched its first ever surimi crabstick product a few weeks ago, the company's Jon Otamendi told IntraFish.

This move has come on the back of demand from customers. Retailers are increasingly trying to consolidate their supply chain, sourcing several products from the same supplier, he said.

El Angulero de Aguinaga already nabbed the first retail listing for the crabstick, with grocery chain Unialco, and is in discussion with several others.

The market for angulas has been relatively stable for year, Otamendi said, estimating that it's growing only about 1 to 2 percent per year. But there are good growth opportunities with crabsticks in Spain, he said.

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 3.14 p.m. CET

New Spanish FAS supplier targets European markets

Launched in March 2016, it's the first ever Conxemar show for Igloo.

The company specializes in Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified frozen-at-sea whitefish, which are caught by a Spanish and a Faroese vessel, exclusively for Igloo.

Cod "is our king" and is sold in various formats to customers in Spain, Karolina Reducha, business developer at the firm, said. Products include fillets, skin-on, skin-off, headed and gutted (H&G) and more.

Saithe, haddock, halibut, catfish and yellowfin tuna are also on the product list and the company wants to start with Alaska pollock "soon."

Spain is currently the biggest market for the firm but it is now starting to develop the European market, where it sees opportunities in France and Germany in particular.

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2.02 p.m. CET

Marine Harvest launches organic salmon product at Spanish retail

Norwegian salmon giant Marine Harvest introduced organic chilled 'Bio' salmon fillets to the Spanish market two weeks ago -- the first to do so in the country, Patrick Wiik, sales director at Marine Harvest Spain, said.

The Delmarine-branded product already gained listings at Spain's "biggest retailers," Wiik said, declining to go into further detail.

This follows the listing of natural, chilled salmon products last year, which were launched under the Olav's brand as part of the JV partnership with Anguilas Aguinaga.

Wiik hopes further listings will follow "within the next two months" for its value-added products, such as salmon sashimi, which is also launched under the Olav's brand.

Marine Harvest is seeing further growth opportunities in the Spanish market, with Wiik calling the country a "top consumer of salmon."

While consumption figures declined in 2016 -- due to the volatile and high prices -- they developed relatively stable this year, he said, despite higher prices for salmon.

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 1.39 p.m. CET

Croatian fishing firm turns processor

Tesi Tunolov, which operates three pelagic vessels in the Adriatic Sea, catching sardines, anchovies and bluefin tuna, opened a new chapter in its history, with the inauguration of a new processing plant in 2016.

Located in the business zone Grabi in Policnik near Zadar, Croatia, the company now produces 400 metric tons of individually quick frozen (IQF) items for the Mediterranean markets.

With the move, the company is "minimizing the loss of quality" by shortening the way from the vessels to the production facility, Milivoy Josic, executive manager at the firm, told IntraFish.

In the future, he said, the firm will add a storage facility.

The plant was built with financial support by the European Union.

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 12.28 p.m. CET

Scanfisk launches new MAP-packed, convenient product line

Spanish seafood processor Scanfisk is showcasing a new product line -- and concept -- at this year's Conxemar show, combining two trends: MAP-packaging and convenience.

The Wok y Salteados line, under the Mr. Fisk brand, features different cuts of fish fillets with vegetables, rice (salteados) or noodles (wok), which can be prepared within three minutes on the stove.

The line features salmon, cod, hake and monkfish and Scanfish plans to introduce it to major retail clients "within three months," Jorge Alonso, chief marketing officer at the firm, told IntraFish.

"Consumers want easy things to cook and they don't want to waste food," Alonso said.

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 12.07 p.m CET

Royal Greenland going strong on ultra-fresh, frozen cod

Denmark's Royal Greenland has seen its fair share of struggles in the Spanish market: when prices for coldwater shrimp shot up 40 percent two years ago, sales dropped "dramatically" by 50 percent "at least," Enrique Cordon Scharfhausen, key account manager Spain at the firm, told IntraFish.

The company is still "struggling" with the aftermaths but is seeing some relief from another species: cod.

And not just any cod but its ultra-fresh Nutaaq cod, a harvesting concept first implemented three years ago.

Scharfhausen said the group is producing about 400 metric tons of frozen Nutaaq cod fillets -- and the Spanish market is taking about 350 metric tons of this.

"We still have the capacity to add to our production," he said. The fillets are sold at a premium of around 15 percent and Royal Greenland is mainly targeting high-end customers with the product.

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 11.48 a.m. CET

Flexibility is key

The ability to adapt and respond flexibly to customer requirements is key to succeed in the frozen seafood business.

Spain's Clavo Food Factory has made this its mantra, Yuko Koshimune, who works in the company's export department, told IntraFish.

"One of our strengths are custom-made products," she said. "Our R&D team is good at adapting both on products and on formats."

The family-run company, which started out with seven people cutting fresh fish, runs two processing facilities in Pontevedra and Madrid, producing about 14,000 metric tons annually.

Over the years, it diversified from fish and seafood into meat and other value-added frozen products.

About 50 percent of its products are frozen fish and seafood in various value-added formats, which range from stuffed baby squid to halibut fillets and other fish fillets, battered shrimp, breaded seafood and more.

All the products are manufactured by hand. "If you look for a cheap product, we're not your company," Koshimune said.

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 10.00 a.m. CET

Viciunai pushing branded surimi in key markets

The era of low-quality, bulk commodity surimi is over, according to Lithuanian processing giant Viciunai Group.

Speaking to IntraFish, Viciunai Europe Managing Director Rob Schreur said the group's aim is to "convince buyers to stop talking about price" and instead focus on quality.

The group has been more volume-oriented in the past, added Dmitrij Bogatko, regional sales at Viciunai. "But now we're pushing the Vici brand rather than our private label business," he told IntraFish.

Click here to read the full story.

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Wednesday, Oct. 4, 7.34 a.m. CET

Nueva Pescanova's NovaNam plows €42.5 million into 7 new vessels

NovaNam, a subsidiary of Spanish multinational Nueva Pescanova, is planning to invest €42.5 million ($50 million) into seven new vessels.

In line with its strategic plan, the company plans to build three new vessels for Namibia and four vessels for operations in Mozambique.

Click here to read the full story.

--IntraFish Media

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Tuesday, Oct. 3. 4.22 p.m. CET

New Spanish group goes from zero to €50 million within a year

The company is new but "our experience is more than 100 years old."

Alfredo Mendez, managing director at Hong Kong-based Blue Planet, is talking about WOFCO, which was founded by five partners in June 2016.

Vigo-headquartered, WOFCO has the backing of Chinese squid processor Green Food, Transmarina, an Ecuadorian tuna firm with 20 fishing vessels, and a shrimp fishing company operating in the Falkland Islands, among others.

This year it will report a turnover of €50 million ($58.9 million), said Mendez, who is also the CEO of WOFCO’s Asia headquarters.

The key to success is the partners’ individual strengths, which complement each other, he told IntraFish.

Squid, shrimp, tuna and swordfish are the biggest items sold – around 60 percent of the turnover comes from exports to Asia, the United States and Canada. European markets such as Spain, France and Italy make up for the rest.

Mendez hopes the group will continue on the same path also in coming years, “improving step-by-step, year-on-year.

“We’re coming from zero but we know what we’re doing,” he said.

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Tuesday, Oct. 3, 4.07 p.m. CET

Venezuela goes big on shrimp, tilapia farming

Venezuela's political and economical turmoil has no impact on the country's aquaculture industry -- in fact, it is expected to grow in coming years to cover 25,000 hectares of land used for shrimp farming.

Banks are keen on backing the sector, Pedro Cardenas, president of crab supplier Isabella's, told IntraFish.

"A lot of new projects are under development at the moment," also said Erick F. Mujica C., president of Valaq, which also operates shrimp farms in the country.

Tilapia farming is also on the rise, he said.

Cardenas said there's no issue because it's an export-focused industry.

"The government is pushing these projects. The problem is with companies that are importing because they don't have access to dollars," he said.

Several Venezuelan companies are exhibiting at this year's Conxemar -- a bank is sponsoring the booth, Cardenas said.

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Tuesday, Oct. 3, 3.06 p.m. CET

Brexit? You gotta wait and see

The UK exiting the European Union in March 2019 will have widespread implications on the seafood sector on both sides.

But how big will the ramifications be? That's still a big unknown.

"Because of the volumes we're exporting we're exposed to changes in trade law," Loch Duart's Andy Bing put it dryly. "We're just going to have and wait and see."

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Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2.44. p.m. CET

Loch Duart makes debut in Spain

It's the first ever Conxemar show for Scottish salmon producer Loch Duart and Sales Director Andy Bing is hoping it will be a successful one.

"Spain is a new market for us," he told IntraFish. "We're very excited about it. They appreciate the highest quality seafood and Loch Duart appeals to a niche, which is interested in taste and quality -- and not price."

Bing said the company doesn't "want to send tons" to Spain but aims to be a "point of contrast to Norwegian suppliers who dominate this market."

With the help of its distribution partner, Barcelona-based D'Elite, Loch Duart mainly targets foodservice clients and retailers "who want something special to offer."

Peter Sebes, managing director at D'Elite, said Loch Duart salmon -- or Scotland's Label Rouge salmon -- is selling at a premium price of about 35 percent "on top of" salmon with Norwegian origin.

D'Elite has been working with Loch Duart for three years, he said.

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Tuesday, Oct. 3, 12.22 p.m. CET

Frosta eyes future opportunities in Spain

Spain is a market with "huge opportunities" for German frozen processor Frosta, in particular for the group's ready-meals business, Manuel Miro, business development manager at Frosta subsidiary Copack, told IntraFish.

"It's definitely a future market," he said. "We're now pretty strong in Italy and we're planning to increase our efforts in Spain as its a similar market with similar dynamics."

Currently about 1-2 percent of its overall turnover comes from the Spanish market -- mainly via its private label business with Aldi, Lidl and Carrefour, Miro said. "So there is room for growth."

The offering for ready-to-eat, convenience products is still "underdeveloped" in Spain, lagging 20 years behind Germany, Miro suggested. "And that's our forte as Frosta."

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Tuesday, Oct. 3, 12.10 p.m. CET

Traditional fish made convenient

Danish firm Polar Seafood is mainly known for its coldwater shrimp products, but in Portugal, Spain and France it is somewhat of a specialist in bacalao -- the traditional salted cod.

Last year, the company produced 2,500 metric tons of bacalao at its Portuguese plant, Jorgen Lutken, responsible salted fish/bacalao at the firm, told IntraFish.

The market is a stagnant one but together with Portuguese distributor and partner Nutriplus it is now trying to appeal to a new consumer base by offering frozen, desoaked bacalao.

"We're trying to add convenience to the product but the taste is the same," Pedro Cirino of Nutriplus told IntraFish. "Everyone can cook this."

In the long run, Polar is looking to win over new customers for its coldwater shrimp in the southern European markets as well as its smoked fish products, Lutken said.

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Tuesday, Oct. 3, 11.44 a.m. CET

Nueva Pescanova splashing out on marketing, new products

Marketing and product innovation have been high on the agenda of Spanish multinational Nueva Pescanova since its relaunch as a new entity around two years ago.

The company's marketing department now consists of 10 people in Spain alone -- of which seven were newly hired in the recent past, Iker Asolo Dominguez, new marketing manager for breaded products at the group, told IntraFish.

"A lot of things are happening," he said. "We're a new company." And it is slowly but surely taking steps to revamp its look completely.

'Grumete' -- the group's brand icon -- recently saw a facelift and is now featured in various different styles on Nueva Pescanova's packs, to appeal to different consumer groups, Dominguez said.

At Conxemar, the group is presenting several of its new products, such as the new chilled octopus items and a range of ready-to-cook ethnic langoustine products for the "special occasion."

Nueva Pescanova is also trying to break into the snacking trend, and is promoting its new Tapeo line, which it launched this September, and already scooped the first major retail listings, as Dominguez said.

Tapeo complements the shrimp snacking products it launched under the Dippeo line in April, he said.

In the past the focus has been on providing meals for the dinner occasion but with the snacking items Nueva Pescanova is hoping "to offer something different," Dominguez told IntraFish.

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Tuesday, Oct. 3, 11.27 a.m. CET

Newcomer trying to break into export markets

Barcelona-based Magnifish is one of the newcomers in the diversified Spanish seafood market.

Only four years old, it however already knows the importance of the Conxemar show.

"We have to be here," a spokesperson told IntraFish this Tuesday morning. "All our competitors are here."

Its main products are cephalopods, including squid, octopus and cuttlefish, but it also sells monkfish and lobster, which it all sources from exclusive processing partners in India, Brazil, Mauritius and Morocco.

Magnifish's biggest market is currently in Spain -- but it is looking to expand. It already has distribution partnerships in Italy but it is also trying to break into the French and Greek markets.

In general it is seeing the biggest opportunities in Asian markets such as China, South Korea and Japan.

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Tuesday, Oct. 3, 08.00 a.m. CET

Setting a benchmark for frozen seafood

Southern Europe's biggest trade show for frozen fish and seafood is taking place in sunny Vigo, Spain this week.

According to organizers Conxemar, this year's show will feature the biggest number of exhibitors since 2010: 608 businesses from 43 countries are taking part in the 19th edition of the show, which is "consolidating itself as a benchmark for the frozen sector worldwide."

Last year, the show accommodated more than 30,000 visitors.

Click here to recap on all the news from the 2016 show.

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