The soft shell shrimp is currently produced in the company’s plant in Rayong province, for sale to Japan, with a small volume also going to the US, an executive with the company told Undercurrent News.
For producing soft shell shrimp, super fresh raw material is required. The reason CP Foods is producing this in the plant in Rayong is the proximity to the farms, meaning the shrimp can be in the plant soon after harvest, the executive said.
The product is eaten head-on, in the same sort of style as soft shell crab. In Japan, it is popular in ramen noodle soups, using big size shrimp, he toldUndercurrent.
With Thailand losing its preferential tariffs under the European Union’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the company plans to produce the product for Europe in Vietnam, where CP Foods now has two plants and plans to double production in 2015.
The company’s plant in Hue, opened at the start of last year, is also close to its farms, meaning the same type of production model can be used as CP Foods employs in Rayong, he said.
Vietnam still has the preferential GSP duty levels for sale to Europe and CP Foods is planning to as much as double production there in 2015.
It will take a while to transfer the expertise from Thailand to Vietnam for producing the soft shell shrimp product, he said. So, the company expects to start producing for Europe next year in the plant.
The UK, where the company has a sales operation, is likely to be where the European sales will start, he said.
A next step for the company will be to produce soft shell crab, he said. "But, first we have to find a reliable supplier that can meet our quality and volumes."
Doubling up in Vietnam.
CP Foods now has two plants in Thailand producing shrimp products, having scaled down production amidst the early mortality syndrome (EMS) crisis, which saw Thai production hit 200,000t last year. Production was as high as 640,000t in the past and looks likely to recover in 2015.
As a result, CP Foods is focusing on expanding in Vietnam, where it operates farms and two plants under its CP Pokphand (CPP) subsidiary. The company produced around 6,000t of finished products from its two plants in Vietnam last year. In 2015, the target is to produce 10,000t-12,000t an executive with the company, who did not wanted to be quoted by name, told Undercurrent in May.
CP Foods set up the second factory in Vietnam in early 2014, in Hue, CPP subsidiary.
The other shrimp plant the company has in Vietnam is in Dong Nai, with the company’s pangasius factory based in Ben Tre.
The plants enable the company to sell shrimp to Europe at preferential rates under GSP, which Thailand has now totally lost.
At the start of 2015, Thailand lost the GSP tariff of 4% on raw product, which has now gone to 7%. When the second CP Foods plant was set up at the start of 2014, Thailand had just lost the 7% preferential tariff on cooked and processed shrimp – excluding cooked, shell-on – which is now at 20%.
Although selling to the European market was part of the reason for the plants in Vietnam, demand is much stronger from Asia, he told Undercurrent, during the recent Seafood Expo Global trade show in Brussels, Belgium. “We are selling more to China and South Korea, as Europe is dead.”
Shrimp prices have been dropping at source this year, but European buyers have been unable to really take advantage, as the Dollar has been so strong against the Euro.
Source: Undercurrent News, 22/05/2015