Norwegian salmon giant Mowi has begun supplying UK retailer Tesco with private label salmon products, part of a contract which was previously held exclusively by Hilton Seafood, formerly known as Icelandic Seachill, sources confirmed to IntraFish.

Mowi’s branded products launched in Tesco in early October and the company is now also supplying a fresh private label lines for the supermarket, sources said.

The products are fresh, chilled, salmon fillets and portions. No further details were available on the volume or value of the contract.

Hilton Food Group -- the parent of Hilton Seafood UK, formerly trading as Seachill UK – has long been an exclusive supplier for Tesco, its main customer.

Seachill was bought by long-time Tesco meat supplier in 2017, and part of the attraction was its similar supply deal with the retailer on a range of chilled seafood from salmon to whitefish.

At the time, Tesco was Seachill's largest customer. Seachill entered into a long-term partnership with Tesco to supply a range of private label seafood in 2016.

Hilton Food Group is almost entirely retail focused -- most of that business private label -- and saw volumes increase due to COVID-related fish counter closures, which prompted consumers to seek out chilled pre-packaged products instead.

Grimsby-based Seachill was the food giant’s first-ever acquisition, and its first entry into seafood.

For Hilton Seafood UK, which operates from three factories in Grimsby, profit and turnover increased in 2019, in part from new contracts secured in 2018 with its largest customer Tesco, including a £50 million (€56.1 million/$65.7 million) shellfish supply contract.

The seafood business turned over £332.4 million (€383.9 million/$469.7 million) in 2019, up 8 percent from 2018, and saw operating profit climb 16 percent to £11.6 million (€13.4 million/$16.4 million) during the year.

Tesco accounted for 82 percent of Hilton Seafood’s total sales during the year.

In 2020, the overall group posted revenues of £2.8 billion (€3.2 billion/$3.9 billion) up 53 percent from the year before.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) amounted to £126.4 million (€146 million/$178.6 million), up 23 percent on 2019.