By Richard Ford in Norway

The Norwegian Seafood Export Council is launching a new campaign to boost sales of cod in the UK and capitalise on an anticipated increase in supply.

The £700,000 campaign is expected to launch in the new year and will promote Norwegian cod in UK supermarkets and restaurants and raise consumer awareness of its quality and sustainability.

The Norwegian seafood industry is keen to stimulate consumer demand ­following the agreement between Norway and Russia three weeks ago to boost the Barents Sea ­quota by 16%, which would lead to increased catch volumes.

The council would work with UK suppliers and retailers to develop PoS material, packed-cod stickers and recipe suggestions, it said. It would also encourage retailers to label Norwegian cod as from Norway instead of simply the 'North East Atlantic'.

Details of the campaign would be finalised once a UK PR and marketing agency had been appointed.

Although some work had been done in the past to market Norwegian cod to UK consumers, the council has focused its attention on other more lucrative European export markets such as France and Portugal in recent years.

However, a rise in the levy charged to seafood exporters in April this year, and a further rise to apply from 1 January meant the council now had the means to target UK consumers, said Maria Grimstad, project manager, France & UK. "I really think in the UK we have a really strong job to do to educate people about cod stocks because people seem so concerned."

It was vital Norway boosted demand in export markets, added Jon Grimstad, sales manager at Surofi, a fishermen's sales organisation. "If we don't manage it, the prices will go down because the quota is going up."

Norway, which sources most of its cod from the Barents Sea, is the fifth-biggest exporter of cod to the UK and in 2009, £23.1m of Norwegian cod was imported. Norwegian is sold in UK retailers including Tesco. 

Read more
Sustainable rather than fresh now big selling point for fish (16 October 2010)
Hot Topic: Healthy stocks are not a licence to resume over-fishing cod (16 October 2010)