Peru becomes France’s largest supplier of frozen scallops

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Peru becomes France’s largest supplier of frozen scallopsPeru has become the largest frozen scallop supplier for the French market, the world’s largest market for this product, concentrating 19 percent of French total imports, reported Wednesday Marie Christine Monfort Consultant.

On the segment for frozen products, France’s recent performances have been absolutely outstanding, with imports developing steadily from 14,002 tonnes in 2000 to 22,142 tonnes in 2009.

“France buys frozen scallops from all over the world, with five dominant suppliers in 2009: Peru, USA, Argentine, Chile and Canada,” states the report “Fresh and Frozen Scallops in France Products and Performances in 2010”.

Peru and Chile have been regular suppliers of Argopecten purpuratus, destined mainly to the retail market, where packs of 300g, 400g, 500g of 20-30 pieces per lb, or 20-40 pieces per lb are sold at 14-17€/kg.

Argentinian scallop Zygochmalys patagonica is a must have when using small size meat in ready meals. The recent come back of Japan as dynamic supplier of Pecten yessoensis is also to be noted.

Placopecten magallanicus from the USA is a real success, after 10 years on the market (the first shipments date back to October 2001, with 23 tonnes that year).

The market for ready meals comprise the typical half shell in sauce item, incorporating scallops meat in 20% to 60%, depending on the brand and recipe.

The processing industry making these items utilise dominantly small sized Zigochlamys patagonica from Argentine and Chlamys nobilis from Vietnam. This segment is entirely supplied with made-in-France products.

Marie Christine Monfort Consultant said the affordable prices of scallops have constituted its great competitive advantage. “In a period of higher prices, new efforts will be necessary to maintain sales”.

However it warned that this year will probably be tougher to suppliers due to the drop of euro versus dollar.

“This period may represent an opportunity to investigate new strategies other than solely based on price. This may include product development. Compared to tropical shrimps, addressing the same clients on similar segments, the supply of scallops is rather basic.”

When it comes to marketing, so little being done for the time being, more precise product positioning and communication with buyers could easily and efficiently been envisaged. Scallop is still poorly branded.

France is by far the largest European outlet for scallops with over 180,000 tonnes consumed per year (in equivalent shell-on products), domestic production included, and total imports over 210 million euros.

Both, the segment for fresh shucked meat and for frozen shucked meat have sky rocketed, boosted by the exchange rate favourable to imported products, and consequent low prices. 2010 may be a different story, with the severe drop of the euro versus dollar.

Large volumes of imported species enter the market, to complement domestic landings of Pecten maximus (10,000t to 15,000t) and Aequipecten opercularis (a few hundred tonnes per annum). These high profile species are marketed in three dominant forms.

MC Monfort is a marketing consultant 100% dedicated to seafood products in Europe

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