Bacalhau 2013 Business Overview

Bacalhau is one of the leading fish consumed in Portugal, til now world leader in this type of fish, possibly soon to be overtaken by the Brazilian market which has been gradually growing year after year.
The European crisis and the effect on this products market performance.
It no news to all, that quotas have increased about 25% in 2013. Also Portugal, the biggest consumer of this type of fish is going through a tough crisis due to a credit crunch.
The increase in quota had an immediate effect on the price of the fish at fishermens level, in general a 20-25% reduction. However when compared with market prices we have bigger reductions in price to the consumer.
The bacalhau has been for the last two years a product which big supermarket chains have been using to promote their stores, with incredible price discounts for limit periods. This effect has reduced the credibility of the product and the industry, as quality in most cases has been put aside in these special promotions.
The industry in Portugal is near a cliff, in the last year or so, many companies have declared bankruptcy, and many are just a step away. And we are talking about companies that used heavy TV campaigns about a decade ago. Much has changed in the bacalhau industry, from a profitable enterprise to a nomads land where millions are transacted and pennies made. However it is expected that the present credit crunch will affect the bacalhau industry forever, hopefully returning some nobility to it.
While Norwegian producers are well organized and established in the market, promoting bacalhau as something that has been theirs for decades. Portuguese companies have little or no organizational skills to compete against facts.
While the Portuguese association is wasting time with phosphate ruling, the market is falling over a cliff. The regulations are not enough to rule the product, while much effort and energy is used on the phosphate rulling, other issues are left untouched.
The bacalhau industry is a bit more complex than it looks, the portuguese industry is looked at in general by foreign partners as a credit savvy one, surviving on constant claims and discussions regarding pricing weights and other non-productive things. And on the other side foreign partner who know that credits will be issued independently of how good or bad they do their job,  .... I guess not much to add.
So, everyone is just trying to survive, adding the fact that prices at one of the lowest levels ever, more and more ingenious things are being done to survive.
Bacalhau salted and dried has increased consumption in this crisis, as it is slowly becoming a very affordable way for families to get the needed proteins in their meals. But it has become a no rules game, everyone has a lower price, quality has been put on hold....
Interesting to see how the stones will fall in a few months when consumption will hopefully increase. And some of the quotas will not be captured due to price and capacity.