Norway seafood push in Middle East

THE Norwegian Seafood Council is organising two missions to the Middle East this autumn but, significantly, Iran is not on the itinerary.
The Tromso based national marketing organisation is planning a major presence at the Seafex fair in Dubai, and Saudi Horeca in Saudia Arabia, with an open invitation to all Norwegian seafood exporters.
Both Seafex and Saudi Horeca are the largest exhibitions of their kind in the region, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from the food and hotel industry.
Ingelill Jacobsen, project manager for new markets at the Seafood Council, said: ‘The Middle East region is an important part of the focus on new markets for Norwegian seafood.
‘Norwegian presence is necessary to ensure that a larger proportion of the population puts seafood from Norway on the menu.’
The council says that, according to large store chains such as Carrefour and Lulu, there are still more people who want seafood from Norway.
In particular, the customers ask for Norwegian salmon, but there are also potentials for shrimp, shellfish, cod and mackerel.
In the United Arab Emirates, for example, people eat an average of 23 kilos of seafood a year, with most of it imported.
The main species is hammour, a type of grouper, but it is heavily overfished. Jacobsen said this opened up opportunities for more sustainable, northern hemisphere cod.
Seafood consumption in Saudi Arabia (population 32 million) is much lower than the UAE, averaging just 13 kilos a year, but there is a growing demand for farmed salmon, trout and mackerel in particular.
The Saudi authorities, worried that the population is becoming overweight, are also encouraging their people to adopt a healthier diet.
The region has also invested millions in recent years in developing its own aquaculture operations.
Seafex will be held in Dubai over two days, from October 30 to November 1, while Saudi Horeca takes place in Riyadh between November 27 and 29.

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