Fish exports to Europe: years-old history of a Zaporizhian fish and seafood producer

Consumption of fish in the world is growing every year. Last year, fish exports have increased by almost 26%, reaching 10.6 thousand tons ($34.3 million). As before, the key trade partners of Ukrainian companies in the EU are the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Italy, Germany and France.

Thanks to active work of fish companies with foreign counterparties, they were able to open up new markets and sales outlets. The demand in foreign markets for fish produced and/or processed by Ukrainian companies is growing.

In 2017, Ukrainian companies exported 9.4 thousand tons of fish versus 6.7 thousand tons in 2016.

In monetary equivalent, fish exports in 2017 amounted to $27.7 million versus $16.3 million in 2016. Thanks to active work of fish companies with foreign counterparties, they were able to open up new markets and sales outlets.

Key destinations of Ukraine’s fish exports:

  1. Moldova (1424 tons)
  2. Germany (1036 tons)
  3. Belarus (852 tons)
  4. Denmark (825 tons)

There is a company in Zaporizhia that for 13 years has been producing fish and seafood and exporting it to European countries.

Klion Group Director for Development Larysa Leonova told Inform ZP about the company’s many years of history, prospects and advantages of doing business in the European market, food quality requirements in Europe and plans for developing its business in the EU.

Believing in your idea is the best motivation

The history of Klion Group started on 7 December 2005, when the company was founded in Zaporizhia by a small group of like-minded persons.

The company is now the largest importer of fish and seafood in Ukraine, since 2013 consistently being ranked first in Ukraine in terms of production and sales of quality fish and seafood products.

Broad geography of fish and seafood imports for diverse product range

Our suppliers are some of the largest companies from more than 40 countries of the world. Such a broad geography of import stems, first of all, from the desire to offer the best seafood to Ukrainian consumers and surprise them with novelties.

Among the company’s strategic partner countries are Norway, Scotland (United Kingdom), Spain, Iceland, United States, Canada, Estonia.

Speaking about the product range, the company offers over 200 product items today, including:

  • frozen fish of various cuts and seafood;
  • preserves from herring, mackerel, salmon and other fish varieties;
  • seafood preserves in oil or brine;
  • screened caviar, salmon caviar;
  • caviar sauces, shrimp and caviar pastes;
  • minced fish, fish burgers and other semi-finished products;
  • broad range of cured fish.

When entering the European market, the task was to win the trust of potential clientele in our products

In 2016, when we started to work with European customers, there were difficulties related to not quite praising references about Ukraine and the absence of trust in Ukrainian products and their quality. But today, the image of Ukraine and Ukrainian companies is growing, and the quality of Ukrainian products is no longer questioned.

We participated in international trade fairs, held tastings of our products, received our partners at our production plant and showed them our production process.

Specifics of doing business with European partners

The company works mostly with Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, United States, Canada, Israel, Georgia and Moldova. At the start of the business partnership with the Europeans, there were no language or cultural barriers, because personnel of export departments are fluent in English, and moreover, Ukraine is becoming closer and closer to Europe today.

Every European country has its own mentality and character, own sociocultural specifics. They have higher standards of living and quality of life, they choose food differently, and so on. Even the European Union itself is not homogeneous in terms of consumption culture. There is Western, Eastern and Central Europe. A good example is the culture of eating herring. Ukrainians prefer herring in oil, while Europeans eat this fish in brine.

40685476_699802887063298_1434991815324336128_nDevelopment of export as one of the company’s priority objectives

The company’s products enjoy demand in the European market, and regular shipments and the growing demand prove that. The key competitors are European companies offering similar products.

For the company, the European market is very important and quite attractive from the standpoint of purchasing potential. Therefore, development of export to this market is one of the company’s priority objectives today.

Director for Development Larysa Leonova gives universal recommendations to Zaporizhian companies thinking about doing business with European customers

You have to clearly realize that entering foreign markets is always a laborious process requiring special attention. First of all, you have to decide for yourself how prepared your company is to export to Europe directly; perhaps it could be better in your particular case to engage an outside organization to oversee your company’s entry into a foreign market.

And also, be prepared for a thorough research of the market you’re interested in and of all its aspects; perhaps your product would need to be adapted to a particular market.

The most important thing is to make decision; as I said earlier, the existence of an idea and belief in it is the best motivation and the foundation of your future success.

By Daria Serhiienko

The article was originally published on Inform.zp