With the on-going lockdown, consumer trends have shifted towards home-cooking and ready-to-eat meals as a way to care for their health and safety, as well as purchasing food products online or through a quick-commerce channel. In Thailand, these trends are prominent and imported Norwegian seafood saw a growth of 21% in value to-date in 2021, compared to 9% worldwide. This reflects a demand for high-quality food products in which a country of origin serves as a source of trust; particularly, in a time of pandemic where food safety is of highest concern among consumers.
The Norwegian Seafood Council, our premium member, has partnered with Central Food Retail and Thammachart Seafood, one of our corporate member, to launch the ‘Taste From Norway, to Your Home’ campaign which is running from 11 August – 10 September 2021 to promote Seafood from Norway origin mark. The campaign is held throughout Central Food Hall and Tops Supermarket’s outlets nationwide, Tops Online website and application, and quick-commerce service, GrabMart, promoted through in-store, TVC, online, and PR activities. Customers who purchase Norwegian seafood worth a minimum of Baht 399/receipt will get a free tea towel (worth Baht 99) and for a minimum of Baht 600/receipt, a free cooler bag (worth Baht 250).
Asbjørn Warvik Rørtveit, Southeast Asia Regional Director, Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), said, “2021 is a new record year for Norwegian Salmon in Thailand. Despite the lockdown, we experience an increase in domestic demand and consumption. By July, a total of 10,000 tons of Norwegian Salmon had been imported to Thailand from Norway, where 93% were fresh. This is an increase of 43% in volume and 32% in value compared to the same period in 2020. Compared to 2019, before the market was affected by COVID-19, the volume for Salmon has increased by 26%. For Norwegian Saba or Mackerel, we have seen a very positive development over the past 6 years, now moving into the premium catch season in Norway, we expect the volume to increase late this year.”
“Norwegian seafood industry is staying resilient and adapting to local market demand by upholding the food safety standard, maintaining logistics during the pandemic, while conducting research on changing consumer landscape which allows us to gain insights on how the market has shifted and ways forward. Under the ‘Taste From Norway, to Your Home’ campaign, we have partnered with Thailand’s leading food retailers, Central Food Retail and Thammachart Seafood. This is the biggest marketing campaign we have ever done in Thailand that reinforces our commitment in delivering high-quality seafood to Thailand,” Asbjørn added.
According to the Seafood Consumer Trends 2021 report by Norwegian Seafood Council, online sales for seafood have increased globally; especially, among consumers aged 20-34, 20% said they shop seafood online “often/very often”. Thai consumers are highly familiar with buying seafood online, ranked 2nd with 28% saying they shop seafood online “often/very often”, after China and followed by South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Similar online trends are developing among older age groups which create an opportunity for the seafood industry to tap into new sales channels and reach new customers. Convenience is important when it comes to product formats as people are staying at home. 79% of respondents said that it is important that the seafood products they buy are easy to prepare – a huge opportunity for the seafood industry to offer value-added products, not only sushi and sashimi, but also marinated fish products, ready-to-cook, or ready-to-eat products. Health and wellness also impact customer’s preference of food and seafood consumption has long been associated with health and an important source of protein, as well as the reassurance of food safety against COVID-19 contamination.
Emmanuel Couronne, Chief Merchandising Officer, Central Food Retail Co., Ltd., said, “For Central Food Retail, the most important thing for us is the safety and wellbeing of our customers, employees, and the community. With the on-going lockdown in Thailand, we prioritise safe, faster, and convenient shopping experiences for our customers from offline to online, and online to offline. We have witnessed growing trends of customers shopping in a bigger basket size and spending less time at our physical store while ordering more products from the cooking category and fresh foods online, resulting in an increase in sales for Norwegian seafood. By partnering with Norwegian Seafood Council to promote Norwegian seafood products and Seafood From Norway origin mark through a very strong campaign nationwide, we can build on the demand of fresh foods and ready-to-eat products and demonstrate our commitment as Thailand’s no. 1 food retailer in providing high-quality food products for our customers, made available in-store, online, and via our quick-commerce partner, GrabMart.”
Yeeran Davies, Chief Marketing Officer, Thammachart Seafood, said, “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Thammachart Seafood has created various marketing campaigns and released new products to stay ahead of the trends. We place high importance on health and convenience, offering seafood products that can be cooked using an air fryer; low-fat Salmon bacon for a health-conscious crowd, seafood for special occasions such as Thai Mother’s Day; products in skin packaging; Cook In The Bag products; and healthy snacks. Consumers will be able to enjoy this wide array of premium-quality Norwegian seafood at Thammachart Seafood counters inside Central Food Hall and Tops Supermarket’s outlets nationwide and online channels under ‘Taste From Norway, to Your Home’ campaign.”
Additionally, Norwegian Seafood Council also joined with 10 restaurant partners in bringing the taste of premium-quality seafood from Norway delivered by GrabFood.