Salmon fillet behind packed behind the counter at Checkers i Cape Town.
With its high purchasing power, South Africa is an interesting market for the Norwegian salmon industry. Here salmon fillet is being packed at Checkers in Cape Town. Photo: Morten Heide

Project Year 2015

Northern salmon hot down south

In South Africa Norwegian salmon has a market share of 90 per cent, and South Africans emphasize the salmon's Norwegian origin.

With its high purchasing power, South Africa is an interesting market for the Norwegian salmon industry. Demand for Norwegian salmon has grown in line with positive economic developments. In 2014 Norwegian companies exported around 4,290 tons of salmon to South Africa at a value of NOK 181 million.

On behalf of the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund, Nofima has analysed the market situation for Norwegian salmon in South Africa. The results show that Norwegian salmon is gaining in popularity on the South African market. The trade agreement between EFTA and the South African Customs Union made Norwegian salmon exempt of duty from 2015, while competing countries such as Scotland and Chile still have 25 per cent duty. This made Norwegian salmon cheaper than salmon from other countries, and led to an increase in Norwegian exports to South Africa.

A large proportion of the salmon is fresh and is used for sushi in restaurants. There are many different salmon products in grocery stores, and new ones are constantly being brought to market. Salmon often has a preferential position on the shelves, which indicates that this is an important product for the supermarket chains. One also tends to emphasize its origin.

“Up to 80 per cent of all seafood used for sushi in South Africa is salmon. Most emphasize that the salmon is Norwegian, both in supermarkets and restaurants in Cape Town, so Norwegian salmon has a strong position,” says senior researcher Geir Sogn-Grundvåg.

However, the purchasing price of salmon has risen, and along with a weaker local currency and costly air freight, fresh salmon has become expensive. The market reacted by increasing prices in shops and restaurants, but at the same time frozen salmon has replaced fresh salmon where possible.

The researchers hope the analyses may help Norwegian salmon producers and exporters in their marketing work.

“Detailed market knowledge also strengthens the position of Norwegian exporters in negotiations with importers, in that they are perceived as competent partners,” Sogn-Grundvåg points out.

Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF)

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