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Spanish Canners Dominate The French Tuna Market France, August 30, 12





After hitting a five-year low in 2010, canned tuna imports to France are rebounding to 2007 levels despite the higher prices. Last year, the country’s demand for canned tuna grew by 10.8% - about 10,000 tons more than in 2010 - for a total of 106,500 tons.

Spain controls a quarter of the French market and it continued to dominate in 2011. Its exported volume of 27,200 tons was its largest in the last five years. Europe is Spain’s main export market for canned fish, with major processors such as Calvo, Garavilla, JEALSA and FRINSA. With the latter two strongly focused at producing retailers private labels. Spanish exports to France almost entirely consist out of private label product for French retailers.

Cote d’Ivoire – once the leading supplier to France – has been losing market share since 2007 when it still exported 27,000 tons of canned tuna. Compared to 2010, it delivered 16.6% less in 2011 for a total of 15,500 tons. In four years, this is a volume decline of about 43%. The main reason for the African country’s staggering performance is due to its political unrest of the last few years. Leading French brand Saupiquet – owned by Bolton Alimentari – also chose to shift its production to Ecuador and Thailand several years ago as a result of the continued conflict.

Seychelles, Ghana and Thailand all showed promise in 2011, increasing their exports of canned tuna to France by considerable margins. In the span of a year, Seychelles boosted its volume by 27.1% and delivered 16,900 tons, thereby overtaking Cote d’Ivoire for second place. Thailand also provided 22.4% more to France (9,300 tons total), while Ghana’s shipments similarly increased by 6.5% from 2010, for a total of 8,200 tons. The positive growth from all three countries is the result of Thai Union’s takeover of France-based MW Brands – known for the Petit Navire brand – in 2010. Petite Navire has become the leading canned tuna brand in France and relies on MW Brands owned canneries in both Ghana and Seychelles.

While Madagascar maintained a 6% share of the French market from 2010-2011, its exports of canned tuna dropped by 54.5% since 2006. The island country, situated off the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, has only one cannery. Peche et Froid Ocean Indien is owned by the French company, Peche et Froid S.A., which markets its Pompon Rouge tuna brand in France, and is a supplier of private label tuna.