General Manager of Chile Maddie talks about the salmon market, where are the opportunities and challenges?
In 2021, Chile exported salmon products worth 4 billion US dollars, 55% of which were sold to the US market. Of the Chilean salmon imported into the U.S., 87 percent are chilled fillets, and about 40 percent are sold under contract to large supermarket chains. For Chilean exporters, the US market position appears to be more consolidated under the epidemic environment.
During the Barcelona show, Christian Swett Pla, general manager of Chilean producer Multi X, told UCN that the United States is by far the world's largest consumer of salmon, but its per capita consumption is lower than the average of the top 20 markets, and even much lower than some in Europe. developed country level (below).
Swett Pla believes that the US is the real incremental market. If average demand grows to the 20-country average of 1.94 kilograms (WFE), this means that US demand will increase by 230,000 tons, equivalent to one-third of Chile's exports. "Besides the U.S., there are two future market performances to look forward to. One is China, where the average consumption is very low. If China's per capita consumption reaches the 20-nation average, they will eat all the salmon in Chile." "But, we I don’t think this change will happen anytime soon. It will take many years and we cannot predict whether China will reach that average level,” Swett Pla said. “Brazil’s per capita consumption is also low, although its demand has been growing. If Brazil’s per capita consumption is at or near the G20 average, their demand could increase to 400,000 tonnes, equivalent to more than half of Chile’s production,” Swett Pla said. . Swett Pla believes the U.S. will grow significantly faster than China in the short term. "The U.S. has been the biggest winner in the seafood market for the past three years, growing by nearly 30 percent between 2019 and 2021, much faster than meat or other food proteins."
"The lockdowns caused by the new crown epidemic have prompted people to learn home cooking skills, Salmon is again a favorite seafood dish. We expect this consumption trend has become a habit, and even without the epidemic, the demand for home cooking will continue for more than 10 years.”
"Another factor that gives us confidence in the U.S. market is that so-called millennials and 'Generation Z' are rapidly driving growth in seafood consumption, which will continue to increase as these groups age and grow in income. On the other hand, these young people have an increased awareness and concern for the environment and sustainability," Swett Pla said.
“As a producer in Chile, we’re always a little nervous because we’re facing a big dilemma, which is our carbon footprint. More than 80 percent of the salmon we sell to the U.S. is chilled and shipped by air. If you take into account The carbon footprint, the equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions per kilometer of product transported, is 72 times higher by air than by sea.”
“The carbon emissions from different modes of transport vary widely. But we can do a lot of things, like in processing plants and feed production. Use environmentally friendly materials. The plastic foam boxes we use to package our salmon have a much higher carbon footprint than regular paper boxes and are not easy to recycle.” “So it’s a challenge, something we need to solve. We don’t hide it. , we need to see how this challenge is going to be met," Swett Pla said.