Multi X chief sales and marketing officer Fernando Pérez with the company's award.

Sweet success for Multi X in Barcelona

Chilean salmon farmer's 'candy' wins special award


A new value-added product from Chile’s second largest salmon farmer Multi X has proved to be a smokin’ hot favourite with competition judges at the world’s biggest seafood trade show in Barcelona this week.

Latitude Hot Smoked Salmon Candy Bites won a special packaging prize in the Seafood Global Excellence Awards announced last night.

“We are very proud and very happy with the award,” said Multi X chief sales and marketing officer Fernando Pérez.

“Hot Smoked Salmon Candy Bites is a snack product launched this year, mostly in the US market. It’s a hot smoked bite with a sweet taste.

“We see some trends in terms of easy consumption: how you can provide something that is convenient to eat.”

Competitive advantage

Having grown its production volume from around 90,000 tonnes (whole fish equivalent) in 2022 to almost 120,000 tonnes last year, Multi X is now fully utilising its licence capacity, and is looking to increase earnings by focusing on more value-added products, and in particular smoked products.

“We will put more emphasis and more resources on smoking fish. We are the biggest smoker in Chile, and our partners in Japan have taught us how to smoke the product in a different way,” said Pérez.

“The idea is to continue developing that segment considering that we have the full vertical integration and therefore have a competitive advantage.”

60% fresh

Around 60% of Multi X fish is sold fresh, with the remaining 40%, including smoked fish, frozen.

“Fresh fish mostly go to the United States, Brazil, and whole fresh fish are also sold to China. For other markets, including Europe, we are mostly using frozen portions. Frozen products are mostly shipped, not flown,” explained Pérez.

“Our primary markets in Europe are France, Germany, and Poland (to processors), Italy. We try to cover as much as possible. Russia is an important market, too.”

Algae blooms

Farming conditions in Chile this year have been largely okay, said the sales boss, although there are challenges.

“In the last weeks as an industry we have faced some algae blooms in one particular area close to Puerto Montt. So far there have been no big mortalities. The industry has some different solutions about how we can manage the blooms – some algae is toxic, sone consumes the oxygen in the water. So far, companies have been able to manage with different techniques, using oxygen, moving some fish.”

If things go wrong, the industry is much better prepared than it was in the past, he said. “Hopefully it won’t happen but if it does we are much better prepared to remove mortalities faster.”

Indigenous claims

One of the big worries for salmon producers has been the way that some indigenous communities in southern Chile have used the Lafkenche Law – designed to secure indigenous access to the coast – to attempt the annexation of vast areas of sea which are home to a third of Chile’s salmon farms.

A Lafkenche application was recently rejected by the authorities, and Pérez hopes the government hundreds of miles to the north in Santiago will continue in that vein.

“So far, the politicians in Santiago have realised the big importance of the industry for the economy and the local people. The sector is the second largest after mining, and covers a big area from the Ninth Region to the 12th Region. People work directly and indirectly for the industry, so it is very important.”