The Norwegian salmon business in Spain is blooming

SPAIN: The Norwegian Salmon is selling better than ever before. Recently, the Norwegian firm Nordlaks and the Spanish retailer La Sirena met in Copenhagen to negotiate a new agreement.

Nordlaks was established in 1989 when Inge Berg bought his first license for fish farming. When he started his own business, the industry was still in an early phase in Vesterålen and the equipment and technology was old. In 1989 the production was only about 150 tons, a volume that today is handled in one work shift at the slaughter. The development has been amazing. The growth of Nordlaks has also contributed to development in many communities, a lot of new jobs have been created and further positive effects can be seen.

Since 1989 Nordlaks has produces salmon and trout of top quality at some of Norway’s best locations. They now undertake fish farming in eleven municipalities in the northern part of Nordland and Sør-Troms. The fall of 2012, Nordlaks renewed their filet department. They invested in a newer and a more efficient production line to be able to increase their processing volume. With increased capacity and a related increase in volume, Nordlaks was in a position to find new markets/customers for their high quality salmon products. Spain was among the interesting markets, but for Nordlaks an unknown area in terms of frozen, processed salmon. It should however be mentioned that Nordlaks has exported fresh salmon more than 10 years to customers in Spain, that they also have good relationships with.

Through help from Innovation Norway’s office in Madrid, Nordlaks received a market report that showed that there are good opportunities for processed salmon from Stokmarknes. Nordlaks therefore went to Spain to build relations, and that resulted in a contact with a new customer. La Sirena is a retail chain selling only frozen foods. Today they have 237 establishments in Spain and employ about 1000 people. La Sirena focus on high quality and has 30 years of experience in the Spanish consumer market. La Sirena was very interesting for Nordlaks, and Nordlaks had what La Sirena was looking for after main supplier of salmon.

Spanish customers have traditionally preferred fresh fish over frozen. This seems to be changing. The sale of frozen fish is increasing. According to Juan Bergas Negre at Innovation Norway’s Spain office, the sale of salmon in Spain has increased by 57 percent from 2007 to 2013, this in despite of the economic crisis. “Spain is a large market with a long history of eating fish.” Negre said. The Spanish consumers are very focused on high quality, and the Norwegian fish is known for its quality.

In January 2013, the first agreement was signed between La Sirena and Nordlaks. This was an agreement about delivery of 400 tons of the product 4x125g filets of salmon. After the agreement was signed, La Sirena has seen an increase in the sale of frozen salmon. Good response from the customers is also the reason why they agreed to continue cooperation. This time, Nordlaks was represented by Sales Manager Joakim D. Eilertsen and Key Account Manager Arne Andersen, and La Sirena by Director of Purchases Julio Bragado and Responsible for Purchases Isabel Alemany.

La Sirena has also expressed that Nordlaks may become the main provider of a new product that they have in their stores today, but that is something they will continue working on. Nordlaks is pleased with the new contract and looks forward to continue collaborating. They do also admit that a lot of the success in Spain can be attributed to the start help that they received from Innovation Norway. “Innovation Norway has opened a door to the Spanish market,” Eilersten says pleased.

This article was recently publish in the Norwegian magazine Fiskaren. For the Norwegian version: Artikkel i Fiskaren

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