1 year ago

Fish in focus - Germany's fish fair

25 to 27 February 2018 in Bremen Germany


CHANGE IN THE FISH INDUSTRY INTERVIEW WITH DR. MATTHIAS KELLER, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF THE ASSOCIATION OF THE GERMAN FISH PROCESSING INDUSTRY AND FISH WHOLESALER What is the current situation of the fish industry in Germany? The various areas of the fish industry in Germany are in a good position for the future. Companies are not only ready to identify the challenges they face, but also to respond with the right solutions. That applies to producers in fishing, aquaculture, primary and secondary fish processing as well as the entire seafood retail trade. Key topics that demand investment are sustainability, authenticity and reliable quality as well as communication along the value-creation chain. Will fresh fish be able to compete with increased sales by MAP/ discounters? What pitfalls do you see for the German market? Fish and seafood have a good image among consumers in Germany. We need to continue promoting this image because sneaky attempts are always being made to reduce sales. On the one hand we have ridiculous EU Commission resolutions such as the marketing ban on „organic salmon from Norway“ due to different interpretations of the law. And on the other hand NGOs making unqualified claims about poor quality of fish and seafood, which news media then report without checking. One example was the scare about ethoxyquin in salmon. Since discounters entered the pre-packed fresh fish and fish convenience products segments, there have been massive changes in fish and seafood sales. For the last 3 years (starting from 2014), the value and volumes of fresh and defrosted fish and seafood sold by food retailers have moved in just one direction: up! The sales growth rates are astonishing: 10 % in 2014, 17 % in 2015 and approx. 5 % in 2016. That‘s very impressive. What‘s also fascinating is that this growth in volume goes together with a price level that runs counter to the focus on cheap products otherwise typical of the German market. Customers have readjusted their expectations here. They are prepared to pay more for freshness! However, it remains to be seen how much more! Do you expect further growth in value in the future despite possibly declining sales? In principle, yes. It‘s still not clear when demand will peak. Fresh fish is considered expensive, which is why we need to present good arguments why prices are so high. 14

How does the German fish industry compare with the European and international industry? 1.7 % of EU fishing vessels are registered in Germany. They provide about 4.52 % of the EU fish catch. Germany‘s share of EU aquaculture production is around 1.92 %. The country accounts for 7.2 % of the sales value of EU fish processing. That means Germany is in fourth place in the EU! However, with a per-person consumption of about 14 kg of fish and seafood, Germany is at the lower end of the EU scale. But it‘s still an interesting market. A 2016 study by the EU Commission reveals that e.g. in September 2016 consumers in Germany spent 14.03 euros per kg for fresh fish and seafood. That put them in second place after Danish consumers, who spent 15.20 euros per kg. That‘s in stark contrast to average spending in France of 10.00 euros per kg, in Italy of 8.00 euros per kg and in Spain of just 7.24 euros per kg! These figures show that German consumers are certainly willing to pay a higher price. What role does fish international play for the industry, and what do you expect from the anniversary fair in 2018? Everybody in the German fish industry for whom Boston, Brussels and Vigo are too far away and too expensive finds an ideal meeting place in their own country in Bremen. Short paths, plenty of time for talks, clean, efficient infrastructure and lots more make it a pleasure for anybody in our industry to come here and discuss current trends with colleagues, or even make a splash themselves to raise awareness of their products or services. Considering that it now has almost 30 years of seafood trade fair experience behind it, I expect the Bremen Messe team to plan and stage an exciting and inspiring event that will engage all the senses of the visitors. They‘ve already laid the foundations for this in particular with the expansion of GASTRO IVENT and the broader scope on offer in 2016. Now we need to pick up speed and give the industry another boost! I‘m confident of a sustainable value chain reaction for fish and seafood in 2018. The anniversary edition of the fish international 2018 will be more than just a trade fair. I am looking forward to it! 15