MIL-OSI Australia: Aussie seafood exporters hook new deals in the European Union

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Source: Australia Government – AusTrade

17 June 2022

Australian seafood exporters have reeled in fresh deals in the European Union after attending Conxemar, Europe’s largest seafood trade show.

Clean Seas secured valuable new business with major importers for its sustainably farmed Gulf Spencer Kingfish. Yumbah Aquaculture inked a new deal for its greenlip abalone with one of France’s premium seafood importers. Sea Harvest’s wild-caught Shark Bay prawns are also on their way to new retailers in Europe.

Trade shows such as Conxemar can help exporters increase their profile and meet potential buyers. Austrade can represent businesses that cannot attend in person. At Conxemar, the agency hosted an Australia stand where staff engaged with buyers and passed on trade enquiries to exporters.

‘Austrade has helped us navigate a challenging but highly rewarding market,’ says Antoine Huon, Chief Commercial Officer, Clean Seas. ‘We’ve received important market intelligence and in-market support over the years that have helped us build business in Europe.’

A long history of seafood exports to Europe

Australia has exported seafood to Europe since the early 20th century. Exports have ebbed and flowed over the years. Many exporters have focused on North Asia and Southeast Asia over the past decade. Now, their attention is once again on Europe as they seek to expand and diversify their markets.

‘Australian seafood is well regarded in Europe,’ says Shane McHugh, Global Engagement Manager, Austrade. ‘Buyers know they are getting high-quality products from sustainably managed fisheries. Australian exporters are known for their reliability and professional service. Our familiar, risk-free trading terms also provide a level of comfort.’

Jamie Angus is an Australian based in the UK. He has managed the sales of Clean Seas’ Kingfish into Europe for some years.

‘Australian seafood is known and highly regarded for its quality,’ he says. ‘Australian fisheries are some of the most regulated and well managed in the world. Our sustainability credentials are very compelling for European buyers and a major competitive advantage.’

Clean Seas nets major new business

South Australian seafood company Clean Seas attended Conxemar in person and landed valuable contracts with key European suppliers. Clean Seas breeds, farms and processes Spencer Gulf Kingfish. It partners with over 150 distributors and wholesalers to supply retailers and restaurants worldwide.

Topping Clean Seas’ export wins was a new agreement with one of Southern Europe’s leading food service distributors. It will start shipping multiple containers of its Kingfish starting from the middle of 2022.

The two companies had been working on the deal for some time but the opportunity to meet face-to-face enabled them to resolve complex regulatory, labelling and branding issues.

Clean Seas also finalised new business with a major Spanish importer. Again, the opportunity to meet in person enabled both companies to discuss in detail the terms of the distribution channels to use, and the level of protection and support the importer would receive.

‘Trade shows like Conxemar are terrific for generating new business and extending current contracts,’ says Huon.

Australian exporters reel in fresh deals

Austrade hosted an Australia stand at Conxemar. The agency invited a cross-section of exporters to display their product brochures at the stand. At the event, Austrade engaged with visitors and buyers to promote Australian seafood. Post-event, the agency connected exporters to trade enquiries.

‘The Austrade stand created the perfect platform for constructive meetings with key buyers,’ says Angus.’

Yumbah Aquaculture Limited is exporting its sashimi-grade abalone to France, after inking a deal with a French premium seafood importer. The agreement expands Yumbah’s presence in the EU, where it has been exporting for more than 10 years.

Western Australia’s Sea Harvest will also be sending its wild-caught Shark Bay prawns to new sales channels across Europe.

A challenging but rewarding market

The EU can be a challenging market to enter. There are stringent import and food safety requirements to meet. Processing facilities and factories need EU accreditation and registration. Individual countries also have specific import conditions.

Despite these challenges, the rewards are worth the effort, says Angus.

‘European chefs and wholesalers will pay significant price premiums for Australian seafood,’ he says. ‘Europe is also a more stable market than Asia and the US. These factors ensure that once the preliminary work has been done, then very attractive returns can be secured from business in Europe.’

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