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A fledgling recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) shrimp farmer in Switzerland is finding its commercial launch to be a success, thanks in part to consumer sentiment about imported product.
“There are people in Switzerland who never want to eat shrimp anymore from Thailand or Ecuador or other exporting countries because they are afraid of antibiotics or they have [negative] pictures in mind of the shrimp farmers,” Swiss Shrimp AG Managing Director Rafael Wabar told IntraFish.
“They say they buy our products because it’s locally produced. At the end of the day, it’s trust.”
Swiss Shrimp AG is the only commercial shrimp farmer operating in Switzerland, having just entered the market in April 2019 after an extensive pilot that started in 2015.
The company is mainly selling to retailers, direct to consumers, and players in the gastronomy industry who view it as a “delicacy” product worth as much as CHF 120 ($121.1/€109.8) per kilogram — double the average for imported shrimp, Wabar said.
“Fresh shrimp was not available in Switzerland before, so we only want to sell fresh,” he said. “It’s the opposite of the imports, and since this is our product we can’t cross the border.”
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The company has no plans to take its product to other markets, citing that the freshness is what gives a high premium.
The antibiotic-free quality, flavor and high regard for animal welfare were some of the other factors cited by Wabar as key to its high price, according to the feedback from their customers.
Customers have also positively responded to the product being locally produced and regulated by Swiss authorities.
The company’s current 5,000-square-meter facility contained 16 shrimp pools and is still currently ramping up production to meet the interest it has garnered from retailers.
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