By  March 9, 2018 16:33 GMT  Undercurrent News

BERGEN, Norway — Salmon farmer Marine Harvest is currently developing its brand Supreme Salmon in Taiwan, working with local top chefs and promoting on social media, the firm’s CEO, Alf-Helge Aarskog, said at the North Atlantic Seafood forum last week.

At present, yearly salmon consumption per capita in China averages only 0.1 kilogram, compared with 1.3kg in the US and 3.1kg in France. The figure that indicates the large growth potential for demand on that market, Aarskog noted.

Marine Harvest aims to implement a franchise concept for its Supreme Salmon restaurants in Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China.

By 2025, the firm is planning to open 2,000 restaurants there, selling 40,000 metric tons of head-on, gutted (HOG) Atlantic salmon and generating a turnover of $2 billion, Aarskog said.

Marine Harvest believes the chain — which serves dishes such as salmon gyoza, salmon risotto and salmon fried rice — will help expand demand for the farmed fish among the country’s growing middle class.

Salmon consumption in China tends to be limited to hotels and upmarket restaurants, and the company is hoping that availability through its restaurants as well as products sold under the same brand in retail outlets will make the fish more accessible to ordinary consumers, Reuters reported.

“Our market research shows that Chinese consumers are looking at salmon as high end, tasty, modern and healthy. However they do not know much about the product and they want more variety in how to eat and prepare it,” said Ola Brattvoll, chief operating officer of Marine Harvest’s sales and marketing unit.

Marine Harvest also plans to roll out a fast-moving consumer goods model in retail across Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China.

Supreme Salmon retail sales are expected to rise to 20,000t of HOG salmon, with a turnover of $600m by 2025, Aarskog said.

In 2013, Marine Harvest launched the Supreme Salmon concept in Taiwan, following a period of in-depth pan-Asian research on consumer habits.