Creating Space for Norwegian Salmon in India
Norwegian salmon has been sold in India for the past 20 years, however it has been limited to the high end segment of hotels and restaurants make the volumes sold small. Yogi Shergill, vice counsel, Royal Norwegian Consulate General (Mumbai) & director (India) of Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) spoke to BW Hotelier about his plans to promote Norwegian salmon in India.
YOGI SHERGILL, vice counsel, Royal Norwegian Consulate General (Mumbai) & director (India) of Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) plans to promote seafood in India especially Norwegian salmon and Atlantic cod. “The Norwegian Seafood Council has been in India for since May of last year, and we have implemented a number of initiatives to promote Norwegian Salmon and Cod,” said Shergill in a conversation with BW Hotelier.
Recently they have participated in the Aahar exhibition in Delhi and Annapoorna in Mumbai, plus arranged dinner gathering in Mumbai, Chennai, Goa and Kolkata, Delhi and Hyderabad, for the hotel restaurant and catering industry. “The focus has been to build awareness around salmon and cod among this group and also retailers who sell to the end consumer where we had a salmon promotion with Foodhall in December 2016 in all their stores across India. Going forward we have plans to participate in the Aahar exhibition in Delhi February 2018 and the Crazy Food Festival,” said Shergill
Being of Indian origin and having lived in Norway for over 40 years, he shares strong interpersonal connects and deep rooted cultural understandings that complement relationship building.
Norwegian salmon has been sold in India for the past 20 years, however it has been limited to the high end segment of hotels and restaurants make the volumes sold small. “Our product is now sold in many more restaurants in the main cities, and also sold in retail stores. However, the knowledge about Salmon or for Cod is still low among the growing affluent middle class who has the buying power to purchase imported seafood. We also see a strong trend among Indians to eat healthy food, and seafood fits extremely well into this mind set,” he told us.
The seafood food from Norway today comprises of salmon in its various forms, smoked, frozen filet but lately more and more whole fresh that is flown in every week. Shergill shared an analysis which says that India is a large seafood consuming country; however the volumes of Norwegian seafood are small, but have the potential to grow if there is access and availability. “We also meet companies who are interested to import Norwegian mackerel, so the portfolio of our fish is growing steadily,” he stated.
Speaking about the import and export policies in the recent past, Shergill said, “Norwegian seafood has an import duty varying from 10 to 30 per cent, depending on the product and payable to the Central Government, in addition to local duties of 7 per cent. Our products are therefore priced high and cannot compete with 95 per cent of the local fish, though at times we have seen Pomfret and Ravas being sold at the same price as fresh salmon.”
According to Shergill, there are on-going discussions with Norway through EFTA and India for a free trade agreement but these negotiations have been going on for many years without conclusion. However, he believes that at some stage an agreement will be reached, resulting in lower or zero duties.
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