Shortage of canned strawberries...bureaucratic chaos disrupts corned beef...icicle seafoods acquires kodiak salmon packers...

Not much for canned

With only three Spanish canners packing strawberries this season, there is growing concern over availability. With increasing demand for fresh, as well as frozen fruit for industrial use, canners are finding it more difficult to guarantee raw material supply from the total crop of 150,000 tonnes.

Pricing is dictated by the fresh market and is dependent on quality. This season canners estimate they will be lucky to get 10% of the crop, because ideal weather has resulted in excellent fruit.

China will be quoting, but few canneries are approved and 20.8% duty will be a deterrent.

'It's unbelievable'

A misunderstanding between Brussels and vets in Brazil has caused yet more chaos in the corned beef market. In the third such incident in the past two years Brazilian vets were not notified of a change to the health certificates required by EU port authorities. Documents issued since the changes were introduced were not valid, officials confirmed.

One importer said: "It is unbelievable that it should happen yet again. Each side has been blaming the other."

New documents will be issued, but in the meantime containers of corned beef are building up at ports, with shortages starting to occur in the chain.

Balance to the offer

There was further consolidation in the Alaskan salmon industry last week when Icicle Seafoods announced the acquisition of Kodiak Salmon Packers.

Icicle has been a major pink salmon producer, so the purchase of Kodiak, which specialises in red salmon, will give it a balanced offer.

Low selling prices, due to overproduction, have been a problem in the Alaskan salmon industry for years.

But UK importers expect much tougher negotiations now that there are just five major producers. Earlier this month, two of the largest Alaskan salmon canners, Trident and Ocean Beauty, merged.