India is one of the fastest growing markets globally for the food and beverage sector. With a young population that is increasingly well travelled and familiar with international cuisine, there has been a growing awareness and demand in the country for quality produce and food ingredients from around the world.
In 2015, Catch of Norway Seafood, a family business based out of Bengaluru and Oslo, realised the potential for bringing fresh seafood from the cold waters of Norway to fine-dining restaurants and homes of customers in India. Mark Alzawahra, co-founder and managing director for Catch of Norway Seafood, moved to India and set up an office in Bengaluru to import and distribute salmon and other seafood to end customers in the country.
Over a period of five years, Catch of Norway has met with success, rapidly expanded its clients base by supplying to restaurants in hotels, premium and organic supermarkets as well as catering businesses across more than 10 cities in India. Following on from its success in the B2B sector, Catch of Norway has now also established its own direct-to-customer channels, allowing for individual customers across many cities in India to source seafood from Norway.
From its early days of setting business in India, Catch of Norway has relied on Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates. Through its cargo operations across a global network, Emirates SkyCargo helps facilitate the rapid movement of fresh seafood from Oslo to Bengaluru via Dubai.
Alzawahra said: “Our first shipment of fresh salmon was transported in 2015 with Emirates from Oslo to Bengaluru via Dubai. Emirates SkyCargo has literally been part of our success from the first time we imported salmon in to India to this day. Emirates came highly recommended, and we were already aware of the reputation of the passenger and cargo services.
“Emirates SkyCargo has the best and widest route network with multiple flight frequencies from key cities. For perishables such as premium salmon, cod, halibut, and shellfish, minimising transport time, transit times, and turnaround times on the ground is crucial. Having multiple flights from Oslo to Dubai and onwards to Bangalore has been very important. If there are delays, there are backup flights within a short timeframe if the initial connection was missed.
“Emirates SkyCargo’s teams in Oslo and Bangalore have been responsive and supportive over the years. We imported 50kg of fresh whole salmon and fresh salmon fillets and portions for our shipment in to India. In 2020, we were importing almost one tonne of fresh seafood from Norway every shipment, mostly with Emirates SkyCargo. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, Emirates SkyCargo has been operating regular cargo connections to Bengaluru, helping maintain the continuity of the supply chain.”
As part of its business plan over the next years, Catch of Norway Seafood will be looking to expand its source markets, diversifying its product portfolio and embracing e-commerce channels to match the evolving tastes of Indian customers.
“We have sourced seafood occasionally from the Netherlands and we are considering importing seafood from markets such as Canada, Japan and Spain. We are also observing an increased interest in a variety of health-food and plant-based food product ranges from Europe to India, all of which is very exciting and we look forward to using Emirates SkyCargo’s services and expertise in bringing these quality goods from international destinations into the Indian market,” Alzawahra concluded.
Emirates SkyCargo has been operating flights to Oslo since 2014. In addition to passenger flights, the air cargo carrier also operates freighter flights to the Norwegian capital since October 2016, offering around 100 tonnes of cargo capacity per flight. Between 2016 and 2018, Emirates SkyCargo exported over 35,000 tonnes of Norwegian salmon to a number of export markets in the Middle East and Asia. Over the last three decades, Emirates SkyCargo has transported over 225,000 tonnes of seafood across the globe.