SEAFOOD suppliers in Iceland are being urged to take advantage of the rapid growth in the volume of fish being sold internationally online.
A recent report prepared by the Iceland Ocean Cluster, a collection of fishery related businesses, highlights data from the United States, which show that 25 years ago, 90 per cent of all seafood was purchased in traditional supermarkets.
Today, as use of the internet continues to speed up, that figure has dropped to just 30 per cent.
The report says: ‘It is estimated that by 2025, the sale of (all) food online in the US will be around 20 per cent of total sales, five-fold from what it is now. It is thought 70 per cent of all Americans will be using the net to buy food within 10 years.’
Fish sales are growing at a fast rate, which means there is much at stake for Iceland, says the Iceland Ocean Cluster.
Fish protein is a high value product and competition in international markets is becoming tougher. It also posed challenges for those exporting cod, Iceland’s chief high quality fish species, because it was difficult to establish or prove the country of origin.
The report adds: ‘Norway has gained something of a head start in certain European countries by introducing a Norwegian certificate of origin for its consumers in those countries.’
China has a much larger use of online stores than other parts of the world. The online giant Alibaba, for example, is planning more than 2,000 stores over the next 10 years.
The report also refers to the fish fraud scandals in the United States, where many products have been found to be from illegal sources or deliberately mislabelled.
This put Iceland in a stronger position than most of its fishing neighbours, not just because of the high quality of its product but also because the country’s main exporting companies were able to provide a safe, year-round supply.
And it could also offer a fully transparent footprint from the trawler to the processing centre, and then on to transportation and sales.