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New study: Frozen cod fillet in the EU


The study analyses frozen cod fillet production and market trends at EU level, focusing on the price structure along the supply chain in in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

According to EUMOFA estimates on “apparent consumption”, cod is one of the top five seafood species consumed in the EU, together with tuna, salmon, Alaska pollack, and shrimp. Despite cod stocks in EU waters showing significant declines in recent decades, cod production has been increasing since 2009. In 2018, global cod production amounted to 1,63 million tonnes, 7% lower than in 2017 but 33% higher than in 2009. Atlantic cod (which accounts for around 75% of production volume) and Pacific cod (around 25%) are the main species caught. In 2018, with 116.000 tonnes produced in 2018, the EU was the fifth world’s largest producer, accounting for 7% of global production.

In 2018, EU self-sufficiency for cod was at 7%, showing that the EU maintains a high level of cod consumption mainly through imports. EU imports of cod from third countries mainly consist of frozen cod products. In 2019, overall import value was EUR 2,77 billion, mainly originating from Norway (33% of total value), Iceland, and Russia (25% and 17% of total value, respectively).

The study reveals that the Netherlands mainly imports frozen cod fillets of cod from Russia and Iceland; Belgium mainly from the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, and China; and France mainly from China, Germany, and the Netherlands. The main outcomes of the Price Structure Analysis of the three Member States surveyed in 2019 are:

  • the import price of frozen fillets of cod ranges from 5,62 EUR/kg in the Netherlands to 7,36 EUR/kg in Belgium;
  • the retail price (excl. VAT) ranges from 8,26 EUR/kg in the Netherlands 15,29 EUR/kg in France;
  • Considering that the raw material is generally imported frozen and already fileted or cut in pieces, costs for operators mainly come from traders fees, final processing steps (e.g., portion cuts), packaging and distribution.

The study is available in English, French and Spanish. Read also the “Species profile” on cod, available at this link.

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