Ugurlu Balik moves into ready meals
The processing facility produced five tonnes of fish per hour
Despite the Turkish preference for fresh whole fish, Ugurlu Balik is enjoying success with its new range of ready meals.
Didim’s family run Ugurlu Balik, is both a farmer and a processor of seabass, seabream meagre and smelt.
It established its first fish farm back in 1998 in Kazikli Bay nearby. It now owns four fish farms (just half an hour away from the processing plant) and opened its processing facility in 2008 to concentrate on the export market – which is its main business.
The company processes 4,000 tonnes of fish per year and it also sources fish from other companies for processing, around another 3,500 tonnes – mainly rainbow trout.
Its frozen fillet markets include the UK, Italy, France, Holland, Russia and Libya. According to the company, Russia and the domestic market prefer fresh whole fish which it also caters for.
It has just started to move into other species and has started to farm sharp snout seabream which it aims to test on the domestic market.
In the near term future the company hopes to make use of the additional three licenses it holds to produce a further 6,000 tonnes.
The processing facility produces five tonnes per hour of seabass, seabream and trout, according to general manager, Mr Yılmaz Akin. The factory is certified to British Retail Consortium (BRC), International Food Standards (IFS) and to GLOBALG.A.P standard.
At the beginning of 2012, Ugurlu took the plunge into the world of frozen seabass ready meals which it sells to domestic supermarkets under their brand Plenty Sea – customers include the major supermarkets Metro and Ikea.
The meals include seabass and mushrooms, seabass skewers, or seabass and vegetables. In the future, it aims to do the same with seabream.
As Mrs Ismet Özkan, said to World Fishing & Aquaculture: “Bringing these ready meals to the commercial market is a slow process though because it is so new, it just started two months ago.” This is quite a feat in itself because the Turkish preference is for fresh whole fish, but maybe attitudes are slowly changing, because so far the products seem to have been pretty well received by consumers.
The reason for taking this step is because the company believes it needs to explore other markets because the competition for frozen seabass and seabream fillets is becoming more and more brutal. To this end, the company also has its own feed factory which supplies its own farms and is also sold out.
The other major side to Ugurlu Balik’s business is in producing fry fish which it supplies to other farms. It has so far produced 30 million – in 2013, the plan is too up this to 50 million. The fry fish supplies nearly half of Ugurlu’s production – the other half is sold to other producers.
Ugurlu wants to continue increasing exports. As Mr Koray Apaydin, export representative, told World Fishing & Aquaculture. The target is for €12m in export sales this year, but there is a plan in place to increase this to €15m in 2013. The company’s export figures have more than quadrupled since 2009.
All exports are regulated by Kopuzmar A.S – part of the same group.
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