The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), a public company owned by the Ministry of Trade, is planning for the future at the city’s annual Gulfood 2023. The 28th edition of the showcase, taking place until 24 February, remains one of the UAE’s largest food and beverage sourcing events and serves as a global networking platform to highlight the sector’s latest initiatives.
The NSC works closely with Norway’s fisheries and aquaculture industry to improve markets for Norwegian seafood, using several research, development, and risk management processes. The organisation will be marking 25 years as a supplier of Norwegian seafood to the UAE as it looks to leverage its already substantial MENA trade presence to boost further growth and expansion in the region.
As a global market leader and the largest provider of premium salmon, the NSC has established strong trade connections between Norway and the UAE. Over the past two decades, demand for high quality seafood from the Scandinavian nation has dramatically increased across the Middle East – largely due to rising demand for more sustainable seafood. As a pioneer in salmon farming, and with a reputable history of craftsmanship in seafood production, Norway remains at the forefront of sustainable seafood sourcing and consistently delivers fresh, healthy, and flavourful products.
The Middle East’s shift towards healthier living has also influenced the growing demand for lean seafood options, along with increased sushi consumption in countries like Saudi Arabia. As a key ingredient in both a balanced diet and sushi meal, salmon is critical to the region’s overall health and flourishing gastronomical scene.
With strict governmental regulations ensuring high standards of food safety – and thorough, sustainable management of natural resources – the NSC is looking to further penetrate the market with a supply of premium salmon that complements the region’s appreciation for high-quality food.
Mr. Sten Arne Rosnes, the Norwegian Ambassador to the UAE, commented: ““There is a great synergy between the supply and demand of the Norwegian and Middle Eastern markets, and the NSC has a unique opportunity to expand its presence and elevate the quality of seafood in the region. Its 25-year history of exporting to the UAE dates to 1998 – with a 200-tonne shipment of salmon – and has seen tremendous growth in the years since. In 2022 alone, the NSC brought in more than 40 million meals to the UAE – and almost three times as much to the wider region.
“The Middle East remains one of the biggest growth markets for the NSC, and we’re thrilled to have maintained such positive and lengthy relationships with local partners as we continue to align the delivery of Norwegian seafood with the region’s high food standards and long-term sustainability goals.”
Commenting on the future of the NSC in the Middle East, Ørjan Kjærvik Olsen, NSC’s Head of Emerging Markets, said: “We’re currently halfway through a four-year project, which will see us continue to collaborate with local stakeholders and invest in B2B arenas throughout existing markets. Our focus in 2023 will be advancing trade relations with the UAE and Saudi Arabia, with the long-term goal of bringing premium Norwegian seafood to all surrounding regional markets.
“We want to keep working with local chefs, retailers, and government entities to ensure the sustainable delivery of our products and hope to introduce more of our country’s seafood, like the Norwegian cod, soon.”