In February, fresh salmon exports from Norway to Italy were down 14 per cent due to coronavirus

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Sushi loving country sees sales down in promising market.

Italy has been hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak in Europe. Measures have been put in to close all schools and the death toll has risen to a total of 107 people, hitting the country’s economy hard.

SalmonBusiness spoke to Norwegian Seafood Council’s Director Italy Trym Eidem Gundersen. The country one of the most promising markets. Last year, it was reported Italy’s salmon market was worth EUR 362 million thanks to its growing love for sushi – with demand for Norwegian salmon increasing by a whopping 324 per cent from 2010-2018.

The popularity of easy access “sushi corners” (small outlets in large-scale retail chains) were driving numbers before the Covid-19 virus hit.

“People take precautions, but life goes on as usual,” said Gundersen said. “Supermarkets are not going empty and people are going to restaurants, but less than earlier. The figure (14% decrease in February from last year) is correct, but the figure refers to the direct export of fresh Salmon from Norway to Italy”.

Gundersen added it’s expected that may sales go down further as the trends to avoid restaurants continue but he said that there’s “probably going to be an increase in consumption in the family home as well as home delivery”.