Initial forecasts issued for the Alaskan salmon pack have suggested a slight drop in reds but a plentiful supply of pinks. However, experts say that traders will wait until fishing starts, in a couple of months’ time, before taking any supply predictions seriously.
Tomato crop down
A wrangle over contracts is dogging negotiations between Italian tomato growers and processors, causing concern that new season availability could be delayed. Volumes could also be down, which would lead to higher prices.
Sources in Naples are forecasting a total crop of 4.6 million tonnes available for processing compared with 5.3 million last year and 6.6 million in 2004.
Some shortages are already appearing so if the forecasts are correct, traders expect to see a flurry of pre-season buying, which could make the market volatile.
One UK importer said: “We hope we are not going to see a return to the days of contractual arguments, a feature of the Italian tomato market for some years.”
Tuna must stay visible
Tuna promotions are fixed through to May, but sudden increases in raw material costs are forcing importers to rethink their strategy for the rest of the year.
With Bangkok costs breaking through the $1,000/tonne barrier - and expected to go higher - sterling quotes for April and May will be increased.
How they are reflected in terms of retailer prices remains unclear, though.
A likely scenario is a switch from bogofs to less costly discount or multibuy promotions. Both distributors and retailers will be anxious to maintain a high level of promotional visibility for tuna as it has become the dominant feature of the canned fish sector.
Sales increases reflect growing consumer awareness of tuna’s health benefits. Skipjack still dominates the market but light meat, the most popular in the US, is gaining popularity in the UK in spite of a premium price ticket.