Iceland revels in Portugal’s return from the crisis

Iceland (the country) is counting its blessings that Portugal has finally turned the page on austerity. The result has spelled a massive increase in the business of salt-cod (‘bacalhau’). In fact, for the first time in a difficult decade it looks like Portugal’s imports of salt-cod will reach a new record.

Last year, the country imported 11.025 tons – a 20.09% increase on business in 2015.

In financial terms, this sees Icelandic producers pocketing 52.4 million euros – around five million euros more than during the previous year.

If 2017 continues the way things are going, “we could exceed the 11,300 tons registered in 2007 – the best year in the last decade”, Iceland Stofa’s director of food Gudný Káradóttir has told negocios online.

For foreigners who see so many salt-cod dishes on Portuguese menus, it is always a surprise to learn that the ‘star ingredient’ is imported.

Portugal is Iceland’s fourth-best client in terms of volume (5th in terms of value), with almost all salt-cod bought in going to the “food transformation industry”.

The only other country that buys more salt-cod than Portugal is Spain (23.9% of Iceland’s quota), while the UK leads the field for purchases of unsalted cod (24% of the quota).

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