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The salmon farming industry: cooperation versus competition for achieving a global positioning

Felzensztein, C. and Carter, Sara L. (2006) The salmon farming industry: cooperation versus competition for achieving a global positioning. Case study. European Case Clearing House.

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The main farmed salmon producing countries in the world are Norway, Chile and Scotland. These three countries account for 80% of the global supply of farmed salmon. Furthermore, Norway increased its production by 160% from 1990 to 2000, while Chile did so by 900% in the same period. This increase in production at a global scale has made the salmon farming industry the fastest growing food producing sector worldwide. At the same time, the industry has also become more international, with ownership structures and interest across national borders, clearly seen by the location of Norwegian and Dutch companies, with processing plants vertically integrated, in countries like Chile and Scotland. Different factors have influenced the increase in demand for farmed salmon over the last decade. At the same time, increased availability of farmed salmon led by large supermarket chains in both frozen and fresh types has had a key role in the distribution channels to final consumers. These trends in demand are important. However, the industry must also be aware of the pressure of the environmental groups, which have direct influence in media and consumer decisions. Consequently, marketing strategies and collectivistic efforts from producers should consider these different forces of the market and the environment. Under strong competition, in a sector that has been considered a player in a quasi commodity market, managers of the different trade associations of the salmon farming industry, in Chile and Scotland need to re-think how to persuade more innovative marketing strategies, better customer satisfaction and segmentations of their different markets. In short, they quickly need to re-establish how to compete more effectively in an industry which faces global competition and cheaper prices of their products. What should the Chilean and Scottish industry do next in terms of: (1) price; (2) quality; (3) positioning; (4) branding; (5) country and region of origin effect; and (6) image and packaging? Is there any possibility of inter-firm co-operation? These are only a few of the questions that most salmon companies, salmon farming trade associations and the export promotion offices in Chile and Scotland are looking to answer.