Bacalhau prospects for 2014

Dry salted cod our dear bacalhau, had a great 2013 in a consumers perspective, a rather bumpy one in a industrial or sales perspective, with the lowest margins ever.
Bacalhau has become a rather cheap source of proteins, when compared to other substitutes. We can never forget that dry salted bacalhau, will grow in weight once we desalt it, reaching 35%. So in reality this positive effect on weight will be a tremendous gain, while other food products have a tendency to decrease in weight, like meat (especially if injected with phosphates) and fish (like octopus).
For 2014, we believe will be the turning point for the industry, as several mutations will be dynamically playing in the market.
Important things to look out for in 2014, that may effect the market as we know it:
  • The increase in consumption of fresh cod, from fillet industry and in general
  • Cod as a substitute of other fish widely consumed
  • Increase in demand from China & Russia
Although the quota did not suffer any reduction compared to 2013, it is expected that the peek of quota has been attained and it is expected a slight decrease in the next few years. 
Fresh cod market is expected to increase its demand for raw material in 10%. Norwegian producers see good margins in this business, giving them first hand choice and high quality in the fresh cod raw material market. Basically fresh cod market is paying more for the kg than processing it to the bacalhau industry, the additional value created is by far not compensated by the surcharge paid by the fresh cod market, and also payments are quicker. It is also expected that this surge in demand for fresh cod is a sustainable demand, which will be responsible for future growth of income. It has become an important part of Norwegian producers income.
Cod as a substitute for other fish, we have seen this before. When cod prices were high, cod was being gradually substituted in some niche markets by other fish, namely Pacific cod and Saithe. Due to the low price we currently have, cod is gradually recovering market share in all corners of the globe.
Important is to refer that Haddock is also one of the main reasons for a possible impulse of cod consumption in the UK, it is expected a reduction of 10% in fishing in 2014, after the reduction of almost 40% from 2012 to 2013. We believe UK market to start looking at cod as an alternative to their fish & chips business. It has become an economic alternative.
The increase in demand from China, has been gradually going on for the last few years. They in general buy smaller sizes, but will gradually start buying other sizes to guarantee quantities. Also the Russian market has become a consumer of cod, and are paying good average price per kg.
All together we see that the bacalhau industry is shifting slightly and 2014 will eventually confirm the data that we are retrieving.