Sector Trend Analysis – Fish and seafood trends in Sweden

August 2018

Executive summary

Analysis of Swedish fish and seafood industry and consumption trends indicates Sweden as a promising market in the European Union (EU) for Canadian fish and seafood exporters through tariff reductions on EU imports.

Sweden is the 19th largest fish and seafood importer in the world and the 7th largest in the EU28. Sweden's fish and seafood imports were valued at Can$3.37 billion in 2017, a decrease of 5% from 2016 and an 11% increase over the past 5 years. Sweden's imports of fish and seafood products mainly come from Norway (86%), followed by Denmark (4.8%), China (1.3%), and Germany (1%).

In 2017, Sweden's primary fish and seafood imports included fresh/chilled Atlantic salmon (Can$3.9 billion), fresh/chilled Pacific salmon (Can$405 million), frozen Pacific salmon (Can$321 million), dried cod (Can$208 million), and fresh/chilled cod (Can$144 million).

Imports from Canada were valued at Can$21.6 million and Canada was the 10th largest supplier of fish and seafood in 2017. Top seafood products imported from Canada were prepared shrimps/prawns (Can$9.2 million), frozen lobster (Can$4.9 million), fresh/chilled lobster (Can$2.9 million) and caviar substitutes (Can$1.5 million).

Canadian performance

Canada was the 10th largest overall and the 2nd largest non-European import source of fish and seafood to Sweden, after Norway (86%), Denmark (4.8%), China (1.3%), Germany (1%), and other European trading partners. Norwegian fish and seafood imports dominate mainly due to Norwegian companies and fishermen entering the EU market via Sweden, rather than direct consumption in the Swedish market.

Imports from Canada were valued at Can$21.6 million in 2017, representing a decrease of 12% from 2016 due largely to a decrease in imports of prepared shrimp and prawn. Prepared shrimp and prawn continues to be an important import for Sweden, however imports from Canada and other traditional sources have been in decline over the past four years, with Sweden increasingly sourcing prepared shrimp and prawn from Albania and Bulgaria.

Sweden was Canada's 20th most important market for fish and seafood in the world and 9th most important EU market. Sweden received approximately 0.2% of Canada's fish and seafood exports in 2017. Overall, fish and seafood was Canada's 6th most significant export sector to Sweden after precision instruments. The sector represented 2% of all Canadian merchandise exports to Sweden in 2017 (Global Trade Tracker, 2018).

Sweden represents a promising market for Canadian suppliers of fish and seafood products. Competition from European suppliers continues to affect Canadian imports but the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is expected to help fill key EU opportunities. Most fish and seafood tariffs will be eliminated gradually within three, five, or seven years. See the chapter-by-chapter guide to the key provisions of the Agreement.

Consumption trends

Per capita expenditures on fish and seafood in Sweden have decreased from US$67.9 million in 2012 to US$60.8 million in 2017, a decline of 10%, partly due to media reports focusing on fish related environmental issues including heavy metal content in fish. Sweden has the 7th highest per capita consumption of fish and seafood in the EU with 26.9 kilograms (kg)/person. Per capita expenditures are forecast to increase to US$73.2 million by 2020. Fish and seafood product sales represent roughly 27% of overall meat sales in Sweden (Mintel 2018).

Fish and seafood is seen in Sweden as a healthy alternative to other meat products and an important part of Swedish holiday culture and classic dishes in Swedish cuisine. Salmon and pickled herring are typical holiday foods. Cod and shrimp are also found in many classical Swedish dishes.

By the numbers

Top ten suppliers of fish and seafood to Sweden and top imported products in 2017
Rank Country Import value (Can$ millions) Top import supplied Value of top subsector (Can$ millions)
World 6,406.0 Fresh/chilled Atlantic salmon and Danube salmon 3,900.0
1 Norway 5,528.0 Fresh/chilled Atlantic salmon and Danube salmon 3,896.0
2 Denmark 305.8 Frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns 69.2
3 China 83.6 Frozen fillets of Cod 35.5
4 Germany 62.9 Fresh/chilled fillets of Pacific, Atlantic, Danube salmon 14.2
5 Netherlands 59.7 Frozen fillets of flat fish 7.3
6 Poland 47.2 Smoked Pacific salmon 11.9
7 Bulgaria 32.4 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns not in airtight container 13.8
8 France 23.7 Prepared/preserved fish, whole or in pieces NESOI* 10.8
9 Albania 22.6 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns not in airtight container 22.6
10 Canada 21.6 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns not in airtight container 9.2

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018.

*NESOI: Not Elsewhere Specified or Included

Top ten Sweden fish and seafood imports, Can$ millions
Imports 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
Fresh/chilled Atlantic salmon and Danube salmon 267.1 3,084.0 3,386.0 4,343.0 3,899.0 9.9%
Fresh/chilled fillets of Pacific, Atlantic and Danube salmon 438.0 472.5 437.4 430.7 404.9 −1.9%
Frozen fillets of Pacific, Atlantic and Danube salmon 191.9 237.6 214.5 262.1 320.7 13.7%
Cod, dried, whether or not salted, but not smoked 135.6 153.6 206.5 222.7 207.7 11.2%
Fresh/chilled cod 76.4 107.3 113.1 122.6 144.6 17.3%
Cod, salted or in brine, not dried or smoked 86.9 103.0 125.3 126.4 136.9 12.0%
Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns not in airtight container 82.0 103.9 117.2 123.1 110.5 7.7%
Frozen fillets of cod 56.1 75.9 79.5 97.3 94.4 13.9%
Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns in airtight container 70.3 71.8 81.3 82.6 92.3 7.1%
Frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns 98.8 86.3 100.5 114.1 87.7 −2.9%

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018.

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Top ten fish and seafood suppliers to Sweden in 2017 (Can$ millions)

Country HS code Import supplied Value
1. Norway 030214 Fresh/chilled Atlantic salmon and Danube salmon 3,896.0
030441 Fresh/chilled fillets of Pacific, Atlantic, and Danube salmon 391.0
030481 Frozen fillets of Pacific, Atlantic and Danube salmon 297.0
030551 Cod, dried, whether or not salted, but not smoked 207.0
030251 Fresh/Chilled Cod 138.0
2. Denmark 030616 Frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns 69.0
160529 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns in airtight container 33.0
160521 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns not in airtight container 29.0
030695 Shrimp and prawns, not frozen except cold-water 18.0
030444 Fresh/chilled fillets of Pacific, Atlantic, and Danube Salmon 16.0
3. China 030471 Frozen fillets of cod 35.0
160540 Prepared/preserved crustaceans, NESOI* 19.0
030473 Frozen fillets of coalfish 7.1
030475 Frozen fillets of Alaska Pollock 5.9
030481 Frozen fillets of Pacific, Atlantic and Danube salmon 4.7
4. Germany 030541 Fresh/chilled fillets of Pacific, Atlantic, Danube salmon 14.0
160419 Prepared/preserved fish, whole or in pieces NESOI* 11.0
030441 Prepared/preserved mackerel, not minced 5.3
030481 Fresh/chilled cod 3.4
160420 Frozen fillets of Pacific, Atlantic and Danube salmon 3.1
5. Netherlands 030483 Frozen fillets of Flat fish 7.3
160419 Prepared/preserved fish, whole or in pieces NESOI* 5.6
030443 Fresh/chilled fillets of Flat fish 3.3
030487 Frozen fillets of Tuna 2.8
030632 Lobsters 1.8
6. Poland 030541 Smoked Pacific salmon 12.0
160411 Prepared/preserved fish, whole or in pieces NESOI* 11.0
160521 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns not in airtight container 5.4
030471 Frozen fillets of cod 4.5
030481 Frozen fillets of Pacific, Atlantic and Danube salmon 3.5
7. Bulgaria 160521 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns not in airtight container 14.0
030616 Frozen cold-water shrimp and prawns 8.3
160529 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns in airtight container 6.5
030695 Shrimp and prawns, not frozen except cold-water 1.9
160419 Prepared/preserved fish, whole or in pieces NESOI* 0.5
8. France 160419 Prepared/preserved fish, whole or in pieces NESOI* 10.8
160420 Prepared/preserved fish 9.2
160300 Extract and juices of meat, fish, or crustaceans 1.0
030711 Fresh or chilled oysters 0.8
030224 Fresh or chilled Turbot 0.3
9. Albania 160521 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns not in airtight container 22.0
10. Canada 160521 Prepared/preserved shrimp and prawns not in airtight container 9.2
030612 Frozen lobster 4.9
030632 Fresh or chilled lobster 2.9
160432 Caviar substitutes made from fish roe 1.5
160530 Prepared or preserved lobster 0.9

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018.

*NESOI: Not Elsewhere Specified or Included

HS code: Harmonized System code

Market size

Retail sales of frozen processed seafood grew from 2013 to 2017 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1.4%. The three main categories of frozen processed seafood products sold in Sweden were: breaded fish representing 29.2% of the total; breaded fish fingers (26.2%); and cooked and peeled process prawns (23.3%). Frozen processed seafood is expected to perform better than average for the processed seafood category, growing 3.0% over 2018-2022.

Historic sales of processed seafood by category: US$ millions 2013-2017
Category 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-2017
Shelf stable seafood 335.5 335.0 335.0 337.7 334.3 −0.1%
Chilled processed seafood 149.9 153.8 152.0 156.2 144.5 −0.1%
Frozen processed seafood 66.5 66.9 67.2 68.4 70.3 −0.9%
Total 551.9 555.7 554.2 562.2 549.1 1.4%

Source: Euromonitor, 2017

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Historic sales of frozen processed seafood by type: % value breakdown 2013-2017
Category 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Breaded fish 28.9 29.0 29.3 29.6 29.3
Breaded fish fingers 26.9 27.0 26.9 26.3 26.2
Cooked and peeled processed prawns 23.2 23.0 23.2 23.3 23.4
Fish burgers 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.9
Processed calamari 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3
Scampi 4.3 4.3 4.0 4.0 3.9
Others 9.9 9.8 9.7 9.8 10.1
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Euromonitor, 2017

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Forecast sales of processed seafood by category: US$ millions 2018-2022
Category 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 CAGR* % 2018-2022
Shelf stable seafood 338.6 346.4 355.8 366.4 377.4 2.7%
Chilled processed seafood 142.9 144.5 148.2 153.1 158.3 2.6%
Frozen processed seafood 72.2 74.4 76.7 78.9 81.3 3.0%
Total 553.8 565.2 580.7 598.4 617.0 2.7%

Source: Euromonitor, 2017

*CAGR: Compound annual growth rate

Retail environment

The Swedish food retail industry is highly consolidated and dominated by grocery retailers (full-service supermarkets, hypermarkets, discounters, and convenience stores). Three leading retailers (ICA, Coop and Axfood) hold a combined market share of 96.0%.

Fish and seafood products are more likely to be sold frozen as opposed to chilled. Almost every supermarket has a large selection of frozen fish and seafood and some of the larger stores have a chilled/fresh fish counter. Smoked and preserved options are always plentiful.

Distribution of processed meat and seafood by format: % value growth 2013-2017
Format 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Store-based retailing 98.5 98.3 98.1 97.8 97.6
Grocery retailers 97.4 97.1 96.7 96.3 96.0
Modern grocery retailers 94.8 94.7 94.5 94.2 94.1
Convenience stores 6.0 6.0 6.2 6.2 6.3
Discounters 5.4 5.4 5.3 5.4 5.5
Forecourt retailers 1.1 1.1 1.0 0.9 0.9
Hypermarkets 25.9 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.2
Supermarkets 56.5 56.3 56.0 55.5 55.2
Traditional grocery retailers 2.5 2.4 2.2 2.1 1.9
Independent small grocers 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.2
Other grocery retailers 1.0 0.9 0.9 0.8 0.8
Non-grocery specialists 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3
Other foods non-grocery specialists 0.9 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3
Mixed retailers 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
Internet retailing 1.5 1.7 1.9 2.2 2.4
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Euromonitor, 2017

Sweden fish and seafood supply chain structure

Seafood arrives in Sweden either via Swedish fisheries or via import. Both arrive at key landings ports where they go to auction. The largest fresh fish and seafood auctions are held in Gothenburg Harbour, Smögen and Strömstad, which are located on the west coast. The west coast deals in significantly higher volumes of landings. On the Baltic side, Karlskrona, Trelleborg, Simrishamn, Västervik and Oxelösund are the largest.

The general supply structure of Sweden's seafood sector for imports can be described as follows:

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There are four steps along the supply chain that fish and seafood caught by a foreign fleet make on its way to the Swedish consumer:

  1. Exported directly after harvest through brokers/agents to importers/processors and large retailers
  2. Distributed by the importers/processors to wholesalers, large retailers, and fishmongers
  3. Distributed by wholesalers to restaurants and fish mongers, and
  4. Fish and seafood made available at the retail level by large retailers, fishmongers, and restaurants

Source: The Fish Site

For more information

International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.

For additional intelligence on this and other markets, the complete library of Global Analysis reports can be found on the International agri-food market intelligence page, arranged by region.

For additional information on Seafood Expo Global (SEG) 2019, please contact:

Ben Berry, Deputy Director
Trade Show Strategy and Delivery
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
ben.berry@canada.ca

Resources

Sector Trend Analysis: Fish and Seafood Trends in Sweden
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Kris Clipsham, International Market Analyst

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