Smoked Salmon in Switzerland

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Smoked Salmon in Switzerland

Article Date: 12/04/2019 


Cormac Coghlan, Food & Beverages, Bord Bia – Irish Food Board

This Swiss smoked salmon market can be seen as very attractive for smoked salmon producers. The price level for smoked salmon is high, the retailers carry a large range within this category and there is a very clear preference for quality and premium origins. With a volume of about 2.221 tons in 2017, the small-pack-retail-sector (excluding Aldi/Lidl) represents the biggest share of the Swiss Smoked Salmon Sector which is estimated at around 4.000 tons of sold product per year. In 2017 pre-packed smoked salmon in Swiss retail (without Aldi/Lidl) had a value of €86.3mn. The total Smoked Salmon market is estimated between €130 – 150 Mn per year in this market. Smoked salmon accounts for around 45% of the total salmon market in Switzerland both in volume and value terms. The sales volumes in Swiss retail for smoked salmon dropped by around 4.8% between 2016 and 2017 mainly as a result of high raw salmon prices which resulted in a price rise for nearly all (Smoked) Salmon products. The strong increases in raw salmon prices from 2016 to 2017 resulted only in small losses in sales volumes which were compensated by higher prices resulting in an almost unchanged sales value. Compared to the German market, the price level for (Smoked) Salmon in retail is 60 – 80% higher in Switzerland. This probably results in higher margins both at retailer and supplier levels. An important reason for the high prices paid by Swiss consumers is the strong currency rate of the CHF compared to the Euro.

Within the European retail landscape, Switzerland shows the highest concentration along with the highest private label value share. Within the retail salmon category, the two market leaders, Coop and Migros, account for approximately 90% of this market – each with a share of around 45% . Both of these retailers carry a large variety of private label smoked salmon products from basic priced to high end products. In Switzerland, organic smoked salmon is sold in nearly all retail units. The vast majority of supermarkets will carry at least two different organic smoked salmon products on their shelves. Both Migros and COOP have their own organic brand - (MIGROS BIO) and COOP (naturaplan Bio). Bio Suisse certification is the most reputable organic accreditation in Switzerland and its label indicates that the product was produced in Switzerland. EU Organic certification can also found on Swiss retail shelves. The origin of the organic smoked salmon products in Switzerland is mainly Ireland, Scotland and Norway.

Ireland exported over €339,000 worth of smoked salmon to Switzerland in 2018, an increase of 316% compared to 2017. Volumes increased during this period by almost 350%, from 3 tonnes in 2017 to 14 tonnes in 2018. In the same period, exports of fresh Irish salmon fillets to Switzerland increased by over 400%, jumping from nearly €500,000 to almost €2.5 million. Volume levels increased by over 400% also, up from 45 tonnes to 228 tonnes in the same time period, with unit price staying around the same at €10,900 per tonne. We know that at least some of this fresh salmon exported from Ireland is destined for smokehouses in Switzerland for processing and sale into the Swiss retail and foodservice sectors.



Wever A (2018), Smoked Salmon in Swiss Retail 2018, AWF consulting.

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