New Zealand King Salmon: “The States have made the biggest and fastest recovery”

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The New Zealand salmon farmer’s largest export market is the United States. With the pandemic cancelling all passenger flights oversees the company was challenged in reaching the market, but unexpectedly the market has now pivoted.

“We have been challenged. The east coast, New York and Boston has been almost impossible to reach. The West Coast has luckily been easier. But even though the US is in the high of their corona pandemic, surprisingly our clients have been quick to change their habits and buy to cook at home. This week we are sending out 38 tonnes of salmon to the States, our usual level was 40 tonnes a week before the pandemic,” says CEO of New Zealand King Salmon, Grant Rosewarne, to SalmonBusiness.

New Zealand King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne. PIC New Zealand King Salmon

New Zealand King Salmon is farmed in Marlborough Sounds, on the south island of New Zealand. The species is by Canadians called chinook and is more challenging to farm. King Salmon is picky in regards to feed, has a hard time feeding and can face challenges in reproduction.

During the last 30 years the company has both nationally and globally sold salmon. King Salmon is a lot higher in pricing than the average of salmon. The pricing is even up to three times as high as atlantic salmon, and therefore mostly sold to high end costumers and restaurants.

The most challenging period for the company has been this April. At a point the company’s export to the land of the free was down at 16 tonnes a week.

“The States have made the biggest and fastest recovery,” says New Zealand King Salmon boss.

The Americans have according to Grant Rosewarne been incredible at switching to home delivery and online sales. Partnering retailers have also changed to sell the salmon online and in fresh fish stores in supermarkets.

The CEO states that as their product is a high value product, they can also only partner with a limited number of retailers.

The New Zealand government has also last week announced to help national companies export their products. The Government will spend EUR 3.3 million a week to help air freight capacity coming into and out of the country. This will add 56 weekly flights to the 90 commercial and charter flights currently. The number of flights a week was about 600 before the outbreak.

The next step the company is looking is supplying the US market with hot smoked salmon, as this is a fast-growing market for them in New Zealand.

“Our partnering stores, who also sell hot smoked salmon sell much higher volumes. It is our next step to get this out in the States, as we see a growing demand world-wide for the product.”