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Spanish Canners Take Heavy Loss In French Tuna Market

France’s imports of canned tuna from Spain dropped sharply in 2012. A massive one million less cartons of canned tuna were exported to France from Spain, representing a heavy 36 percent loss in volume from 2011. France is after Italy the most important destination for Spanish canned tuna.

In 2011, France’s import figures were thought to show a turnaround for Spain, after hitting a five year low in 2010 for exports to this country. The recovery was believed to display a rebound, with Spanish canners being reported to dominate the French tuna market. This up-trend has now been reversed again.

Contrastingly, imports from Cote D’Ivoire saw a 29 percent growth and canned tuna shipped from Seychelles rose also by 20 percent. Showing a strong comeback for canneries from these traditional supply countries, which earlier saw competition from Spain take over their share.

This trend has knocked Spain off the top spot for France’s importing nations, pushing it down to third place behind Cote D’Ivoire, exporting 2,403,502 cartons of canned tuna to France in 2012 and Seychelles, shipping 2,391,081 cartons. Spain ended 2012 with the meager figure of 2,090,529 cartons (based on 48x185g) delivered to French retailers.

Despite enlarged exports from Seychelles and Ivory Coast, France still imports still shrunk by one million cartons from 2011 to 2012.

France is not the only country where Spanish canners have been taking a beating. The 2012 overall canned tuna exports from Spain shrunk by 1,293,410 cases. This came from dramatically lower export performance in its top two ranking markets Italy and France, compensated somewhat by stronger demand from the United Kingdom and Germany.

Europe is the main destination for Spanish canned tuna, with major companies such as Calvo, Garavilla, Jealsa and Frinsa supplying the private labels of supermarkets. Last year it was reported that the figures of 2011 showed Spain’s control over more than half of the Italian market and a quarter of the French.

Now having lost the dominance in the French market, processors from the Iberian Peninsula are holding on firm to their lead position in Italy. Unlike in Italy -where Calvo owns the Nostromo brand- Spanish canners active in France consistently focused on private label retail business.