Home consumption of salmon is falling in Norway's most important export markets but has so far been compensated by more people eating out.

High prices and weak currency led to another strong month for Norwegian seafood

Salmond-led export earnings up by 19% in value in November compared to same month last year


Sales of farmed salmon accounted for 70% of the value of Norway’s seafood exports last month, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) said today.

Norway exported NOK 14.4 billion (£1.2 bn) worth of seafood in November, representing an increase of NOK 2.3 billion, or 19%, compared to the same month last year. The increase was due to higher prices, not more volume.

If this year’s strong value growth continues in December, seafood exports will pass NOK 150 bn by the end of 2022, mainly due to salmon.

“For the second month in a row, salmon exports exceeded NOK 10 bn in value, a historically high level. After the first 11 months of the year, the total export value from the aquaculture sector is, for the very first time, NOK 100 bn,” said NSC chief executive Christian Chramer.

Take nothing for granted

War and unrest have put a lot of pressure on consumer finances worldwide, said the NSC. This may affect the demand for Norwegian salmon in the vital hotel, restaurant, and catering (HoReCa) segment in the future.

“We see that home consumption of salmon is falling in Norway’s most important markets,” said Chramer. “So far this year, this has been compensated by more people eating out after the Covid restrictions disappeared. However, market reports suggest that many eateries are beginning to feel the effects of weakened purchasing power. In the long term, it may affect total salmon consumption negatively. It shows that we cannot take our strong market position for granted.”

Norway's seafood export earnings (NOK billions). A high salmon price and a weak krone have lifted returns to a record level this year.

In November, the Norwegian krone weakened against the dollar and the euro compared to the same month in 2021. This gave the export value a boost.

“Since a weak krone results in higher export prices measured in Norwegian kroner, it is a favourable development for everyone who sells goods abroad. In total, the currency effect contributed to a value increase of around NOK 300 million for Norwegian seafood exports in November,” said Chramer.

Norway exported 125,234 tonnes of salmon to a value of NOK 10.1 bn in November, and the value of salmon exports increased by NOK 2.2 bn (28%) compared to the same month last year, despite the export volume falling by 1%.

Poland, the US, and France were the biggest markets for salmon in November.

More value and volume in US

Salmon exports to the United States had the most significant increase in value in November, increasing by 87% to NOK 431 m compared to the same month last year.

The export volume to the US last month was 6,393 tonnes, 22% higher than in November 2021.

“This must be seen in the context of several factors. There is still strong demand growth in the US after the Covid pandemic, while at the same time, there is a reduced supply from several competing nations. A strong US dollar against the euro also contributes positively,” said NSC analyst Paul Aandahl.

Chramer also warned that there could be problems ahead.

An unsettled situation

“Although November in isolation was a strong export month for salmon, there are reports from the markets of an unsettled and unclear situation related to the contract market for salmon in 2023. This erodes the predictability that Norwegian salmon has represented for importers, producers and retail customers,” said the executive.

Norway exported 4,897 tonnes of trout worth NOK 454 m in November. That represented a value increase of NOK 32 m (7%) compared to November last year, despite export volume falling by 25%.

The US, Thailand, and Lithuania were the biggest markets for trout in November.

Lithuania had the largest increase in value in November, with an export value of NOK 50 m, or an increase of 1,886% compared to the same month last year.

The export volume to Lithuania was 622 tonnes, 977% higher than in the same month last year.

Farmed cod

Norway exported 2,945 tonnes of fresh cod to a value of NOK 178 m in November, and had a monthly record high export value of NOK 28 m for fresh whole-farmed cod.

“Five hundred tonnes of farmed cod were exported to 17 countries in November. Spain was the largest market, with just under 200 tonnes,” said NSC analyst Eivind Hestvik Brækkan.