Tuesday, Feb. 3.15 p.m. C.E.T.

Sell wherever you can!

German processor Die Raucherei is going down some unconventional routes to sell its products.

While it has placements at retailers such as Real, Edeka and Hit (private label), as well as in foodservice, it also supplies some of the biggest airlines -- through airline suppliers such as LSG -- and is big in teleshopping on German channel QVC.

"Yes, fish also sells on TV," Thomas Eibler, sales manager and product developer at the company, told IntraFish.

The company's premium products are rather unconventional too, and a lot of time and passion goes into new product developments.

Last week, it launched a new line, consisting of 'Schwarzwalder tuna,' imitating a typical ham from the region, chorizo salmon and mackerel Lardo. "What goes for meat also goes for fish," Eibler said.

In total, the company sells about 500 metric tons of finished products every year at premium prices. "Its a premium product, so it's not at discounter prices," Eibler said. 

The products are all shock-frozen after production to guarantee freshness. The taste, Eibler said, remains the same.


Tuesday, Feb. 2.47 p.m. C.E.T.

'Business as usual' for new pelagic firm

It is already business as usual for Norway's newest pelagic player, Pelagia. After owners Austevoll Seafood and Kvefi -- a subsidiary of Kverva -- got approval for the merger in January, it's all about integrating Welcon Invest, Norway Pelagic Holding, and Egersund Fisk into their new set-up.

"It's business as usual," Terje Loseth, sales manager at the company told IntraFish. "We've just grown a big bigger."


Tuesday, Feb. 11, 1.45 p.m. C.E.T.

Save the date..

GlobalGAP has set a date for its 12th GlobalGAP conference -- it will take place from Oct. 27-29, 2014, in Abu Dhabi, "the gateway to the Middle East."

International retailers, foodservice exports and producers are expected to attend, IntraFish was told.

A detailed program will be released in due course. Click here for more information.


Tuesday, Feb. 11, 11.12 a.m. C.E.T.

'Alliance makes strong'

After prices for North Sea shrimp dropped to rock bottom in 2011 -- to around €1.30 per kilo -- German North Sea fishermen were stuck in a dire situation. To get out, they founded a new producer's association, which officially launched in May last year.

In Bremen, some of the fishermen showcased some of the first outcomes of their own direct marketing efforts, launching a North Sea shrimp recipe book.

"We're still making baby steps and yet have to see how things develop," Tom Caspers, one of the fishermen, said.

One thing that is clear is that the group -- which now has about 100 members -- is pushing more product into the German market, trying to set up a second leg to its exports to countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands, where many of them supply companies such as Klaas Puul and Heiploeg.

"There's no market in Germany, but we're trying to build something up," Caspers said.

Prices also have recovered, and are not at between €3.75 and €4.50 per kilo.


Tuesday, Feb. 11, 8.35 a.m. C.E.T.

Russian Alaska pollock prices trending downwards

Prices for Russian Alaska pollock are seeing a slight downward trend, Julien Labrieux, export sales manager at Nakhodka Seafood, owned by Russian fishing company Bamr, said during a pit stop at the IntraFish booth.

While fishing has been going well so far, and the first shipments of frozen-at-sea pin bone out (PBO) blocks are planned for mid-April, the recent Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of the Sea of Okhotsk created as slightly negative picture.

In reaction to the certification, US sellers dumped prices, he explained, adding “perhaps they saw it as a threat. “

“My explanation is that companies in the United States had to sell off stock to start the A season on a good basis.”  The stocks were sold off at lower prices, and “processors and customers don’t see a reason why they now should pay more.”

He described the downward trend as “not healthy.” In addition, processors are used to a price gap between Russian and US Alaska pollock, which is why the certification is actually of “no additional bonus” to Russian fishing firms.

Nevertheless, Nakhodka has closed in on some “contracts at a good price level,” Labrieux said.  

Bamr's vessels are fishing in the Bering Sea, in far eastern Russia, and the company has a quota share of about 8 percent (110,000 metric tons) for this year.

Currently, all vessels are dedicated to produce single-frozen blocks, Labrieux said. About 40 percent of total shipments are planned for the EU market, while 60 percent will go into Russia.


Tuesday, Feb. 11, 8.22 a.m. C.E.T.

Will panga see light at the end of the tunnel?

Pangasius hadn’t always had it easy in Germany: The 2011 airing of ‘The Pangasius Lie,’ a damning TV documentary had such an impact that pangasius sales fell by nearly 25 percent.

In 2013, Germany – as the third largest importer of Vietnamese pangasius in the EU – saw imports plummet again by 21.3 percent year-on-year to a value of $45.2 million, according to recent figures by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

But despite the ill news, Vinh Hoan Corp., the country’s biggest exporter, remains hopeful to increase sales into Germany and Europe.

The company currently supplies around 12,000 metric tons of pangasius fillets, industrial blocks, breaded fillets, skewers as well as other value-added products, to the European market, Truong Thi Le Khanh, general director at the company, told IntraFish in Bremen.

This accounts for about 25 percent of its turnover and market sales. In 2014, the target is growth.

Achieving ASC certification in 2012 will certainly help, and this is the route the company wants to go down: promoting quality through sustainability.

“Business was affected [by the documentary],” she said. “With ASC we believe we have our quality status restated. It is a good basis to develop business. 

She also mentioned a new decree, battling production challenges, the Vietnamese government was working on last year. She is hopeful this will bring the whole industry back on track.


Tuesday, Feb. 11, 8.15 a.m. C.E.T.

P&P CEO: Heiploeg a perfect fit

In a surprise move, Dutch fishing and processing firm Parlevliet & Van der Plas (P&P) acquired ailing shrimp supplier Heiploeg on Jan. 28, after the latter was announced bankrupt by the court of North Netherlands the same day.

The company is having its first official outing at the fish international show in Bremen in its new form, and IntraFish took the opportunity to sit down with the company's execs.

Click here to read the full story.


Monday, Feb. 10. 4.17 p.m. C.E.T

Crackers and mermaids

When IntraFish visited the Bremen fair two years ago, meeting the mermaid at German fish deli supplier Werner Lauenroth was one of the highlights -- and this year she's back again.

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Monday, Feb. 10, 3.42 p.m. C.E.T

'Ethnic' opportunities for shrimp

Danish-headquartered supplier Uhrenholt recently integrated Chinese restaurant supplier Seven Seas into its UK portfolio, targeting an expansion in the segment, Uwe Thellmann, senior vice president at the company, told IntraFish.

"We wanted to expand, and double our business," he said. Seven Seas has 12 staff and is an expert in its field, he said.

In general, sales at Chinese restaurants have seen "enormous growth rates," he said. "It's an attractive and loyal business area."

Thellmann counts the segment to the "ethnic channels," as he told IntraFish.

"We haven't even gone into London," he said, adding where he'd predict further growth. This is the long-term plan, he said.


Monday, Feb. 10, 2.13 p.m. C.E.T

German-Turkish partnership -- Made in Bremen

Bremen's fair is not only about sitting down with clients, tastings some new products and talk about sustainability -- some companies actually forge new business relationships here.

Two years ago, Turkish bass, bream producer Sursan, approached German importer/exporter Lubbert with a proposition, and today the company sells about 700 to 800 metric tons of its products into the German market, Lubbert's Michael Seidel told IntraFish.

Based in Samsun, Sursan started fishmeal and fish oil production1981, and today it operates four plants and a 1,500 metric tons capacity farming site, certified according to newest EU standards and with GlobalGAP certification. 

"After the show two years ago we visited them in Turkey and were impressed with what we saw," Gunnar Wolf, managing director at Lubbert, said. What makes the fish so special, he said, is its high Omega-3 content, because Sursan is feeding the fish with fish oil-rich feed.

In general, the potential for bass and bream in Germany is growing, Wolf told IntraFish, especially during for the barbecue season in summer.

Cod, saithe and haddock, however, remain the company's biggest sellers -- especially for wholesale, which still takes the lion share of the company's 30,000 metric tons sold every year.

What is new, is a stronger focus on retail, which the company is targeting with its Oceanlord brand. "We have to diversify a bit, open up new business areas," he said.

The company has an annual turnover of about €65 million, Wolf said.


Monday, Feb. 10, 1.01. p.m. C.E.T.

Premium prices for ASC-salmon?

The ASC, together with Norwegian salmon supplier Leroy Seafood, launched the first ASC-certified salmon with a big bang this Monday morning at the fish international show in Bremen.

But while it was praised for its sustainability, forward-thinking and pioneering work, some people in the audience also voiced concerns over the price. With salmon prices still at record highs levels, will customers have to pay even more for ASC-certified salmon?

And where does that leave end-consumers?

Carmel Egenberg of Leroy said one will have to wait and see how the market will develop. "ASC is not yet well-known among consumers, so why should they choose ASC," she said.

This would actually beg for leveled prices. However, significantly higher production costs -- she reckons 20 percent higher costs compared to 'conventional' farming -- will most likely also translate into higher prices.

"We'll have to see how the market is responding," she told the audience.

Tjark Goerges, development and QA manager at Rewe Germany, said any producer will have to explain additional price rises. At the same time, market supply will remain lower than market demand.

"At the end of the day, the end-consumer will make the decision to buy," he said.


Monday, Feb. 10, 11.45 a.m. C.E.T.

This is it...

...the first Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)-certified salmon, at the official launch at the fish international show in Bremen this morning. It's been on sale at Dutch retailers for some weeks now, and will hit Swiss retail shelves next week.

When shoppers can buy it at German supermarkets is still unclear, with Carmel Egenberg, export department manager at certified Hallvard Leroy, saying retailers are "nibbling" at it.

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Sunday, Feb. 9, 3.10 p.m. C.E.T

The big matjes brand push

Dutch herring trader Haasnoot Vis is heralding a new phase for its business, after it recently acquired processors Vergro Fish and Neptunus -- and it is eager to showcase its new matjes strength at this year's Bremen fish international fair.

"We now control the full supply chain, and it gives us the opportunity to push the Neptunus brand coupled with the long traditions at Haasnot Vis," Harry Assink, sales manager at Vergro, said.

While Neptunus "has always been big in Germany," the combined companies are now trying to establish it as a premium brand, which clearly differentiates itself from the private label jungle at German and Dutch supermarkets.

Product and packaging innovations are part of the plan, he said. While Haasnoot reported a turnover of €25 million in 2013, it now hopes to push this to €40 million in 2014.


Sunday, Feb. 9, 2.44 p.m. C.E.T

New VAP plant for Turkish bass, bream producer

Turkish bass and bream producer Kilic is currently constructing a new VAP factory in Bodrum, Turkey, which will start producing ready-to-eat product in June, Sinan Kiziltan executive VP at the company, told IntraFish.

The company is targeting an output of about 3,000 metric tons of finished product for the rest of the year, which will be adjusted "depending on the market and profitability" next year.

The three lines at the new plant will mainly produce seabass and seabream fillets including a sauce (mustard/lemon/tomatoes with herbs), and target the European and domestic markets.

The company is also further expanding its value-added offering, and introduced a new range of canned products last month, which includes rainbow trout, meagre and bream.

With the move, it aims to increase its sales to Europe to about €10 million this year, and is trying to place the new canned products at retailers such as Metro.

The European market, however, offers at best stable sales, Kiziltan said, which is why the company is also eying markets such as the United States, the Middle East, especially Dubai, Iraq, Russia and North Africa, where it recently kicked off the construction of a new 15,000-metric ton farm project.


Sunday, Feb. 9, 2.30 p.m. C.E.T

Bream, bass prices see sharp increase

Seabream prices experienced an incredible jump over the past couple of months, all due to lower supplies coming out of Greece, Sinan Kiziltan executive VP of Turkish producer Kilic, told IntraFish.

Prices for 300-400 grams bream shot up from €3.20 in December last year to currently €5, delivered Europe. "They've gone up like a rocket," he said. He is predicting an average price of €5.50 for the year.

Seabass has seen similar increased, hiking up from about €4 for 400-600 grams fish to currently €5.60 in the EU, and could settle at between €5.50 and €6 for the remainder of the year.

"We want it to be affordable for consumers and I think these current prices are reasonable for both producers and consumers," Kiziltan said.


Sunday, Feb. 9, 1.45 p.m. C.E.T

All in for cod

Danish whitefish trader Alimex Seafood is venturing into new(ish) lands, and is increasingly targeting retailers to boost its cod business.

"We're changing a bit; we're going more and more out to retailers," Morten Wad Dethlefsen, senior sales manager at the company, told IntraFish.

It's all about new packaging to boost sales, in particular loins, portions and fillets. "It's new for us" but the company already has a good customer base, he said.

The main focus is, however, still on selling for further processing. Apart from cod -- mainly sourced from its parent Kangamiut -- saithe, haddock and Alaska pollock are Alimex' biggest segments. 

While Dethlefsen said cod supply has been good, with even prices stabilizing, sizes are an issue. "A lot of big fish is being landed, which makes it difficult to process." But despite the challenge "we try to make it happen with bigger fish," he said.

DKK 512.2 million (€68.7 million/$93.4 million) turnover company Alimex is one of the subsidiaries of Kangamiut Holding, which also owns Kangamiut Seafood, Freshpack in France, G&K Seafood in Iceland, New Alaska Group in Russia, Northcoast Seafoods in the United Kingdom and SN Seafood in Norway.


Sunday, Feb. 9, 1.22 p.m. C.E.T

Veggie caviar

It looks like caviar, it smells like caviar, it actually tastes like caviar, but why can you buy it in the vegetarian aisle at retailers? The answer is simple: it's made of seaweed.

What was "invented by mistake" during a biological test about 20 years ago, is today a growing -- and patented -- business, Jens Christian Moller, managing director at Jens Moller Products, told IntraFish, when we stopped by the company's booth to test some of the products.

The company, which already snapped up retail listings such as Metro in Germany, offers five different flavors under the Cavi-art brand name: two lumpfish roe products, salmon roe, and five veggie versions, including chili, wasabi, truffles, ginger and balsamic.

Around 400 metric tons are sold to foodservice and retail in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, France, Spain, the United States, Brazil, South Africa and Australia.

And interest is growing, Moller said, especially in light of the upcoming lumpfish red listing by the WWF in Denmark on April 1.

The company uses seaweed harvested in France and Scotland, adds some natural coloring and flavors -- and Moller is convinced it is direct competition to traditional caviar. "It is a substitute," he said.


Sunday, Feb. 9, 12.12 p.m. C.E.T.

New pelagic player in Scotland

Scottish pelagic fish processor Fresh Catch has opened a new chapter in its life, and teamed up with Interfish Limited and Altaire Fishing Company to form a new venture called Northbay Pelagic Limited.

Talks have been ongoing since late last year, but Bremen is the first show the three are visiting as one combined company.

Chris Anderson, director at Fresh Catch, is also taking over as director at the new firm, which will operate from the Kirk Square facility in Peterhead. The firm aims to be at the forefront of pelagic seafood processing in Europe.

"We're now totally integrated from catching, primary processing and secondary processing," he told IntraFish on the first day of the Bremen show.

It will give the three companies a competitive edge and stabilize prices from catching, he said.

Currently, the company is fishing mackerel, and brought about 12,000 metric tons back to harbor in the past four weeks. Fishing has been good, but was challenging due to severe weather and storms in January and February so far, Anderson told IntraFish.

Prices are good for catching, at around £900 per metric ton, triggered by good market demand. Mackerel fishing will continue for another 10 days, Anderson said, before the blue whiting season kicks off, running to May.

In June, the company is moving on to herring, which will be processed over summer, and then vessels are switching back again to mackerel in September/October.

Anderson is also hopeful the ongoing mackerel talks will finally come to an end and that a deal with Iceland will be struck soon. "The indications are a deal is very close," he said. "It has to be done."


Sunday, Feb. 9, 11.49 a.m. C.E.T.

EU 'regulations jungle'

"What belongs on the label?," asked Matthias Keller, managing director at the association and vice president of the European Federation of National Organisations of Importers and Exporters of Fish (CEP), kicking off a presentation this morning in an effort to provide some guideposts on how to handle the new EU 'regulation jungle.'

The introduction of new labeling rules as part of the new EU law on food information to consumers, and the new Common Market Organization (CMO) has stirred up some displeasure among seafood processors in recent months.

"It is nuts," Keller described the new labeling rules. "But you'll have to be prepared." As he went on describing new rules on how to label species names, origins, net weight, type of fishing, and even voluntary labeling rules, it became obvious there is more confusion than clarity.

"You'll have to do your homework," Keller said. He suggested to best combine the read with a bottle of red wine. "You'll need that," he said.


Sunday, Feb. 9, 10.43 a.m. C.E.T.

Where's the business?

Seafood shows all over the world are usually crawling with Chinese booths, but Bremen is different: Dalian-based Binyin Food International is actually the only Chinese exhibitor at this year's show.

Qu Bin, managing director at the firm is laughing it off, simply saying "it's a small show." He's mainly here to meet clients from Poland, Estonia and Latvia, as he told IntraFish, but he is hopeful to perhaps fetch a few new business contacts too.

"Germany is a difficult market," he said. The company is processing and selling Russian Alaska pollock, as well as mackerel, which makes up about 90 percent of its exports to Europe. It also sells squid and shellfish products.

In the future, Bin hopes, it will expand further to eastern European countries, which have slightly different expectations to quality standards. "They don't always ask for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified products, and fish can be treated and glazed," he said -- in contrast to Germany.


Sunday, Feb. 9, 9.15 a.m. C.E.T.

Off to a gray start

The Hanseatic city of Bremen, in northwestern Germany, is only slowly waking up to this gray Sunday morning but for the next three days the cold winter weather will be forgotten, as the 14th fish international fair is kicking off at the city's exhibition center.

Around 100 exhibitors from Germany and abroad will showcase their products, and the show floor will be buzzing with seafood execs, foodservice clients, fisheries managers, all taking the opportunity to inform, network and discuss.

IntraFish will be at the talks and exhibition, asking key industry players about the newest tech, R&D and market trends to keep you up to date on this blog.

Click here for a full exhibitor's list.

Click here for the full program.