Japan consuming more pangasius from Vietnam

(Vasep.com.vn) Currently, export to Japan still represented a little part of Vietnam’s total pangasius shipments. The increasing import of pangasius into Japan over the recent years shows that the market is eyeing this kind of fish.

Japanese people love eating traditional food like sushi, sashimi, tempura and udon that are mainly processed from seafood such as salmon, tuna and shrimp. Most restaurants in Japan only serve some traditional dishes while marine fish are so popular in the market with a stable supply. Therefore, it would be difficult for pangasius to become one of daily foodstuff of Japanese households.

In contrast, pangasius value-added products, especially the breaded items, have surprisingly attracted many Japanese visitors to Japan Foodex 2013 in early March.

Some Vietnamese exhibitors said that breaded pangasius and other value-added products have great potential in Japan. It is important to speed up national advertising and promotion programs to develop this kind of products in the market.

Japan is buying more pangasius but its purchase of other seafood products dropped in recent years. Through the middle of March 2013, pangasius import from Vietnam valued at US$535,190, 2.76 percent up from the compatible period of 2012, referring to Vietnam Customs.

Fish and fish products are traditionally indispensable in Japanese people’s food culture; the country always has a high seafood demand for its domestic consumption.

However, Japanese purchase is slowing down and even got drop in some groups of fish like frozen fish (HS code 0303), live fish (HS code 0301). Some others, including frozen fish fillets (HS code 0304) reported just a slight rise in import.

According to statistics from the International Trade Center (ITC), frozen fish fillets imported into Japan in 2012 totaled 503,266 MT while they were 491,489 MT in 2011.

Among Japan’s suppliers of frozen fish fillets (HS code 0304) in 2012, the U.S. was the leading one with 117,990 MT, followed by Norway with 65,146 MT. Vietnam only ranked the seventh with 24,930 MT, up from 23,991 MT in 2011.

Of frozen white meat fish fillets imported into Japan, pangasius volume was much lower than other white meat species like Alaska pollock, cod and haddock. It only ranked before tilapia. However, some producing countries have been cutting catch quota of some white meat fish to protect natural stocks; therefore, pangasius may have a chance to gain more market shares to become the leading white meat fish in the Japanese market in terms of volume.

Like the EU and U.S. markets, Japan is seeking for sustainable fish supply. Greenpeace’s market survey said that most Japanese people want to consume fish that are sustainably caught or produced and clearly labeled, so that they can get information about what they buy. With this rising trend, sustainable-labeled pangasius is hoped to have more advantages when entering into Japanese market.

 

Import of seafood (HS code 03) by Japan, MT

HS code

Products

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

0303

Frozen fish

861,680

810,897

832,579

783,189

776,140

0304

Frozen fish fillets

468,878

395,888

445,551

491,489

503,266

0306

Crustacean

278,756

270,815

262,942

263,259

270,921

0307

Mollusk

217,326

222,091

221,871

217,872

211,196

0302

Fresh fish

77,074

79,287

70,204

65,378

72,571

0305

Dried fish

17,748

17,530

18,236

18,895

19,536

0301

Live fish

26,624

21,453

25,192

18,912

14,037

 

Source: Ngoc Ha - vasep.com.vn

 

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