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Aquaculture 'democratizing' seafood at Spanish retail stores

Although figures show seafood consumption is declining, retailers are investing in both domestic production and imports.

Aquaculture products are gaining acceptance in Spain, turning "luxury" goods into common commodities, but retailers continue to invest in Spanish-sourced products.

Despite an overall decrease in seafood consumption in Spain over the last six years, fish products such as salmon are becoming an increasingly frequent product in people’s shopping baskets.

“Farmed fish has democratized seafood consumption in Spain, especially for species such as salmon, sea bass, seabream and turbot,” a spokesperson with Carrefour Spain’s fisheries department told IntraFish.

“These products are part of the shopping basket now, but they were considered ‘luxury items’ only a few years ago.”

Salmon is among the most popular fish in Carrefour, the spokesperson said.

Spanish retailer El Corte Ingles has also seen increasing consumer acceptance for salmon. The company sources from Norway, "due to the high quality-price correlations," a spokesman with the seafood department told IntraFish.

Salmon is the only major seafood product sold on contract; other species are mostly purchased at auction.

Carrefour sources mainly Spanish seafood for its stores in the country, but in addition to salmon counts Argentinian red shrimp, Ecuadorian shrimp, Canadian lobster and Russian/US king crab. The company is also launching a new frozen line of Alaska salmon.

El Corte Ingles said its main focus is also in domestically caught seafood, except for those products that are not produced in the country, like salmon or vannamei shrimp.

Domestic boost

El Corte Ingles is now implementing a supply system supporting the “KM zero” concept, by which the group buys fish locally in the different fish markets in Spain, rather than having centralized suppliers.

Likewise, Carrefour's seafood counter has introduced a premium range, with products coming from different fish markets in each locality responding to more localized demands.

The retailer is now investing in sea bream and seabass estuary production in the country, which allows for the fish to be farmed using more natural diets.

The move is also aimed at helping support local economies and recover wetlands.

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