Britain’s major seafood supplier Young’s Bluecrest has hit out at the Minimum Import Price imposed by Brussels on non-EU salmon as “unhelpful to development of the salmon market”.
The company is forecasting an overall rise in the retail price of chilled salmon of 6-7% in April as a direct result.
The UK market for fresh chilled salmon is worth £157m, plus some £72m for smoked salmon. Both have grown phenomenally over the past few years - fresh chilled up by 60% since 2001 and smoked up by 24%.
A couple of weeks after the MIP was introduced, there has been no major shift in prices, since the initial MIP was set close to the current market price at €2.70 (£1.85) per kilo for fresh whole salmon. This equates to around £2.22 per kilo for prepared salmon (ie head-on and gutted) - the most common form in which the fish is imported to the UK.
But in mid-April the EU plans to increase the MIP to a new, higher level of €2.85 (£1.96) or £2.35 for prepared salmon. This is expected to create retail price rises, since 75% of salmon consumed in the EU is farmed outside it, particularly by Norway, Chile and the Faroes.
Mike Parker, deputy chief executive of Young’s, said: “Given the growth of the market, it is impossible for us to meet UK demand entirely from domestic sources so it is inevitable the price of salmon to the consumer will rise.
“We regard the MIP as anti-consumer in that it will probably create retail price rises.”
Kit Davies