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 Dubai, UAE The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), a key partner to Norway’s fisheries and aquaculture industry, has played a significant role in driving consumption of the country’s iconic pink fish in the Middle East. Now, with topics like wellness and sustainability growing in popularity, the NSC can leverage its access to Norwegian salmon to meet rising demand in the region.

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In late 2022, the NSC celebrated 25 successful years as a supplier of Norwegian seafood to the UAE – firmly cementing Norway’s leading position as a source for high quality blue food in the Middle East. With a trade presence dating back to 1998 – marked by a 200-tonne shipment of salmon – the NSC has seen over 40 million meals brought to the UAE, with almost three times as many being delivered to surrounding countries in the region.

As a global market leader and the largest provider of fresh salmon, the NSC is perfectly positioned to cater to the decades-long trend of increased Norwegian seafood consumption across the Middle East. The Scandinavian nation’s pioneering approach to salmon farming and lengthy history of craftsmanship in seafood production further underpin its credibility and continue to place it at the forefront of regional and international seafood sourcing and supply.

The Middle East’s ongoing shift towards healthy living – paired with strict governmental regulations to ensure high standards of food safety and thorough management of natural resources to maintain sustainability – has significantly influenced the growing regional demand for lean seafood options. This has provided a unique opportunity for the inclusion of Norwegian salmon and cod in local consumption habits, with the fresh fish promoting a balanced, healthy, and flavourful diet.

The premium nature of Norwegian seafood also complements the Middle East’s appreciation for high-quality food, bringing exceptional nutritional value and expanded culinary options to the region’s flourishing gastronomic market.

A report released by the NSC in 2021 also highlighted several other consumer trends that are prevalent in the Middle East today, including more people buying seafood online, a preference for convenient, affordable, and time-saving shopping, and a desire for transparency around how food is being produced.

Ingelill Jacobsen, Project Manager Emerging Markets said: “As Norwegian seafood consumption continues to rise across the Middle East, the NSC remains committed to elevating its trade presence and delivering premium, quality products to meet the region’s growing demand. Several specialised Norwegian seafood companies are looking to promote their products in the UAE and surrounding countries, and we’re proud to support them by strengthening partnerships with local institutions and restaurants. We’re also continuing to prioritise convenience and transparency around our seafood production and consumption, in line with ongoing trends outlined in a 2021 study.

“The Middle East remains one of the biggest growth markets for Norwegian seafood, and the NSC has maintained a positive, energetic relationship with regional partners. We look forward to building on our success and increasing our delivery of sustainable Norwegian seafood,” she added.

About the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC):

Owned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) is a marketing communications organisation that seeks to increase the value of Norwegian seafood globally. The council works closely with fisheries and aquaculture industry players to research, educate on, and develop seafood markets around the world.

Its “Seafood from Norway” brand reaffirms its commitment to consumers of Norwegian origin and promotes the country’s high-quality seafood in international spaces. A pioneer in salmon production and leader in sustainable seafood sourcing, the NSC continues to set the standard for seafood exports around the world.