The EU experienced a decline in caviar exports and imports in 2020. The largest drop in trade was recorded in March and April 2020, partly due to logistical problems and due to a noticeable drop in demand . The peak Christmas season saw trading volumes approach pre-pandemic levels. During the first half of 2021, the caviar trade appeared to exceed all previous records.
In Spain, the largest producer of farmed turbot in the EU, the production phase has not been affected by the crisis, with the growth cycles of farmed turbot following a strict calendar, programmed to meet peaks in demand. (summer and Christmas), while the worst of the crisis occurred in the spring. However, Spanish production decreased slightly by 13% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Before the pandemic, turbot and caviar were mainly sold to the HoReCa (hospitality) segment and other “premium” and “luxury” markets. With these traditional segments closed during lockdowns or experiencing logistical issues, retail has become an important point of sale for producers.
Many turbot and caviar producers have innovated during the pandemic period, finding new ways to market and sell their products. Turbot producers partially shifted from fresh/live turbot to frozen and prepackaged turbot, while caviar producers encouraged domestic consumers to purchase domestically produced caviar and focused more on online sales.