The largest seafood trade fair in the Middle East
Seafex Dubai takes place from October 30th to November 1st. Around 25 delegates from 13 different Norwegian seafood exporting companies will participate in the stand. Seafex is now in its seventh year. The event attracts 15,000 visitors from more than 110 countries, making it the largest seafood fair in the Middle East. This is the fourth year that the NSC has taken part.
- The Middle East region is an important new export market for seafood from Norway. A Norwegian presence at regional trade fairs is necessary to ensure that a growing proportion of the population chooses seafood from Norway. By being present the NSC wishes to create an ideal arena for networking, where Norwegian exporters can meet potential customers from the region” says Ingelill Jacobsen, manager for emerging markets at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
Bringing a Norwegian chef to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Horeca is the largest fair of its kind in Saudi-Arabia, and runs from November 27th to 29th. The fair takes place in the capital Riyadh, and is being arranged for the eighth year running. However, this is the first time the Norwegian Seafood Council is present with a stand. In addition to creating an arena for our seafood exporters, the NSC wishes to increase the awareness of and preference for Norwegian seafood in the region.
- That´s why we have brought with us a Norwegian chef who will teach, amongst other things, Saudi Arabian chefs how to cook Norwegian seafood, with a particular focus on salmon, explains Jacobsen.
During the trade fair there will also be a lunch reception where exporters, representatives from the Norwegian embassy in Riyadh and the Norwegian Seafood Council will participate. At the same time, the NSC is sponsoring the Salón Culinaire competition and will arrange retail tours and a visit to the local seafood market in Riyadh.From Norway, seven seafood exporters have so far signed up to participate.
Potential for more Norwegian seafood in the Middle East
Today, Norwegian seafood exports to the United Arab Emirates are worth some NOK 437 million a year, but the potential for growing this total is good.
Salmon is by some way the most popular export. The NSC has therefore launched a training program to provide local seafood workers with better knowledge of Norwegian salmon and how to prepare it. The long-term plan is to extend this educational program to more species.
In Saudi Arabia, salmon is again the most popular export, followed by mackerel, prawns, trout and herring.
The total export value to Saudi Arabia is NOK 234 million, but here too there is potential for growth.
The population of Saudi Arabia today is 32.5 million people and growing rapidly. On average, only 13 kg of seafood is consumed a year, and lifestyle-associated illnesses and obesity are widespread. The authorities have therefore increased their focus on food and health, which also provides good opportunities for Norwegian seafood, according to Jacobsen.