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Prepared seafood products in Europe: Strategica S.A. outlines three-fold path.

Prepared Seafood Products in Europe: Strategica S.A. Outlines Three-Fold Path

They've got to be industrial, value-added and European products if they're going to cut it in the new European unified market as prepared seafood.

But there's a lot of work to do to make that three-fold path a reality, Jean-Dominique Seval and Anne-Marie Grodvohl of Strategica S.A. told the International Seafood Conference. Although 77% of the prepared seafood products out there meet at least one of the criteria, only 27% meet two, and only 14% all three.

Yet the handwriting is on the wall. Prepared products of one kine or another already account for 45% of all European fish and seafood consumption, and high value-added items (prepared dishes, breaded products, delicatessen, salads, etc.) for 27%. European products account for 45% of consumption, and industrial products for 60%.

The share of industrial frozen seafood products -- fillets and breaded items -- is almost 60%. But 45% of the frozen products are also added value, and 70% of them are European -- percentages far higher than for fish and seafood in general. Sales of shellfish as well as prepared products are growing rapidly, while fillets are barely holding their own, Seval (director of studies) and Grodvohl (marketing manager for Europe) said.

The development of industrial products is limited by the diversity of species from the sea and uncertainty about supplies, while added value products require more promotion and marketing -- and thus a greater role for distributors. And European products are dependent on consumer behavior patterns that differ from country to country and even region to region.

Different distribution patterns create different challenges for the marketing of new products. In Britain, 45% of all prepared seafood items are marketed under retail and wholesale private labels; in France, it is only 16%. Distributors in Britain take care of most of the logistics -- 50% for frozen, 60% for refrigerated and 90% for fresh. In France, the range is 10-20%.

Market share for fish and seafood companies in their own home countries is at least 35% everywhere except Spain; yet the top nine companies in Europe account for only a 30% share continent-wide, and the share of companies owned by food conglomerates is only 40%, except in Britain and Italy, where it is over 50%. Of the five largest companies, accounting for 25% of total sales, only Unilever is active in all forms of preservation and in all countries.

Some of the specialist fish and seafood companies, like Pescanova and Frosta, are vertically integrated; others, like Icelandic and Frionor, aren't. But only two of the diversified conglomerates, Unilever and Nestle, are well positioned to exploit the growing prepared seafood products market (expected to be 60% by the year 2000) by producing products that meet all three of Strategica's criteria.
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Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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