Marine Harvest sees value-added potential in US

November 21, 2012, 4:07 pm

The US offers “plenty of growth potential” for value-added products in the salmon market, said a presentation by Marine Harvest.

While value-added products — VAP — in Europe are already “a popular alternative to the fresh counter”, the US VAP segment is “underdeveloped”, said the presentation, created for a seminar arranged by Nordea on Nov. 21.

Marine Harvest owns factories in Miami and Los Angeles, making it the only salmon producer with its own processing, distribution and storage facilities on both US coasts, according to the company.

The presentation shows salmon sales in the US are now dominated by supplies from Chile and Canada, adding that Chilean imports of Atlantic salmon to the US are expected to reach a record high this year. So far this year Canada and Chile have accounted for three quarters of fresh salmon sales to the US, in volume.

This change is visible when looking at the overall US salmon market: sales from Europe to the US are down 18% compared to a year ago, to 17,400t.

Marine Harvest USA has similarly been increasingly sourcing from Chile at the expense of European supplies. Chile has accounted for nearly 75% of its sales so far in 2012, up from a low of less than 40% in 2010, it said. Sales from Canada have also increased sharply, accounting for nearly 20% of Marine Harvest USA’s seafood sales so far this year.

Challenging market

The presentation added that US salmon consumption is going strong: the US consumed 81,300 metric tons of salmon in the third quarter of 2012, up 15% from the previous quarter and 23% from a year ago, it said.

However, it re-iterated past comments by Marine Harvest and Grieg Seafood that US prices are dropping far more than European ones, breaking a historical correlation between the two references.

Whereas prices in Europe are up compared to a year ago, despite an 18% increase in supply, prices in US are dropping sharply, it said.

Although it did not release figures specifically for its US division, Marine Harvest recently said it had ended a tough quarter in the US, where low prices and increased competition from Chile were making for a challenging market. This is expected to continue “for some time due to the abundant Chilean supply,” the company had said in its third quarter report.

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