Spanish seafood supplier Europacifico states they will not order more salmon, as they are not able to sell it in the current market.
Monday the Spanish Government stated 400 people have died of corona virus the last 24 hours. A rapid spread and the highest registered spread in 24 hours in Spain. As a result, the seafood industry is bleeding, but the worst is yet to come according to the prime ministers speech Saturday.
Europacifico is also expecting more challenging conditions and trying to minimise production and expenses to survive.
“We are not selling anything that is not a commodity fish. This is to survive. No sales of any special species right now,” says Luis Suarez, general manager at Europacifico.
Europacifico processes around 15,000 tons of fish a year, and salmon is the sixth biggest fish they sell. The company usually processes around 10 tons of salmon a week but right now only processes one ton of salmon a week.
“We are processing 90% less salmon than usual. We are not going to buy any more salmon, otherwise we cannot survive,” Luis Suarez explains and elaborates:
“Salmon prices are falling, and no one is ordering more.”
Europacifico usually gets frozen salmon from Chile and Norway. The last shipment so far is on its way from Chile.
Saved so far by supermarket sale
The company is meanwhile saved by the growing demand from supermarkets, as citizens have been filling up their homes to prepare for the corona virus to infiltrate the food market.
“Supermarkets are very active now. But we expect this to stop soon. People were buying a lot of food in the beginning because of panic. Now everyone’s fridges and freezers are full, and there is no more room for goods,” says Luis Suarez.
Luis Suarez says that the company is expecting people to buy low value products in the upcoming time because many people have lost their jobs.
“We expect sales will decrease 50% in the supermarkets,” he says.
Food service not able to pay
One of the big challenges for Europacifico is many companies in the food service industry are not able to pay their bills at the moment.
“This has a huge financial impact on our business. 50 % of our clients in the retail industry are not able to pay their bills,” says Luis Suarez.
“The travel industry will suffer, and therefore we will too”.
The general manager is very concerned about the time to come. Spain has around 50 million tourists a year, mostly in the summer, and a lot of sales go to restaurants and hotels during this period.
“The food service has completely stopped. No sales at all. This is going to continue for a long time. I think it will be difficult this year for the travel industry in Spain. No one will wish to travel here. Everyone will be scared and stay in their own country. Just look at China, would you go there right now?” says Luis Suarez and concludes:
“The travel industry will suffer, and therefore we will too. We have to get support from our government in order to survive this.”