Salma salmon wants to conquer new markets

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Salmon Brands will launch Salma salmon in southern Europe and Asia.

This weekend this year’s Matstreif was held in Oslo. Matstreif is Norway’s largest food festival, where producers from all over the country meet to market their products.

Visitors could buy tasters of the Salma salmon. PHOTO: Stian Olsen

One of the companies participating in Matstreif is Salmon Brands. In the middle of the crowd, we find Johnny Haberg, Export Director of Salmon Brands. He hands information about the company to keen passers-by.

He says that the company now wishes to expand its horizons.

“We have a relatively long history of export, primarily to France, where we have built up our own organization over time. We have done the same in Sweden, where we also have our own sellers and organization. The main focus has been Northern Europe, but now we are looking for new markets in southern Europe and Asia,” Haberg tells SalmonBusiness.

High salmon prices a challenge
Haberg is aware of what the biggest challenge will be.

Lots of people showed up under this year’s Matstreif. PHOTO: Stian Olsen

“The biggest challenge is the salmon prices. Run-of-the-mill salmon is perceived to be relatively expensive in some places, and therefore Salma salmon is even more expensive. There is a very high retail price for the product. In France we sell Salma salmon for €50/kilo. Then it’s obviously challenging for a regular family to buy,” he says.

The price is exactly why Haberg thinks Salma salmon is not going to be a product for everyone in the near future.

“Out in the world, we will most likely target the most prosperous segment of the population. In Norway – and maybe in Scandinavia and Northern Europe – it is purchasable for everybody, but in the rest of the world we are more focused on those who have the highest purchasing power,” he continues.

Marketing organization
Haberg worked for several years in Brazil, including as the Norwegian fisheries envoy. Then he worked for almost two years for Brodrene Sperre in the whitefish market.

“We built a brand for clipfish. Then the Brazilian market narrowed, which meant I had to look around for something else and it was time to go home. I was lucky to get a job as export director at Salmon Brands.”

Haberg says that the Salmon Brands department in Oslo is a brand organization, rather than a seafood organization.

“We have a lot more marketing people than fishermen there. We have people who come from organizations like Orkla and Tine.”

Inger Saxebor eis Market Director of Salmon Brands. Here she gives a customer information about the Salma salmon. PHOTO: Stian Olsen

One of these is Marketing Director, Inger Saxebol, who came from Tine in 2010. She also says it is challenging to sell Salma salmon outside Norway.

In Norway, the product is well known and is distributed in over 2000 stores, while more effort is required in foreign markets.

“It’s harder to get the product known abroad and to communicate what’s unique with the Salma salmon. It’s a job that needs to be done.”

She also says that most of the employees have gathered this weekend, at Matstreif, along with employees from Bremnes Seashore where the salmon is produced.

“We use it as a team-building activity for the entire group,” she says.