Reports from Norway suggest that Mowi may have cooled on plans to open hundreds of salmon restaurants across mainland China.
The company has so far declined to comment on the reports, but the respected business newspaper and web outlet Dagens Naeringsliv says that it has been told the project had stalled and that Mowi will be left with just the five experimental restaurants they have already opened in Taiwan.
Mowi, when it was Marine Harvest, had talked at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum in 2018 of opening up to 2,000 salmon related fast food outlets.
The announcement was made before the pandemic and at a time when both the Asian economy and the salmon industry were in a very different place.
Coronavirus has had a dampening effect on restaurant growth, especially in China which has experienced several lockdowns in many of its major cities. Consumers everywhere seem to be turning to cooking seafood at home rather than going out.
Mowi had planned to brand the chain “Supreme Salmon”, offering menus developed by leading chefs. The franchise concept would also have included Hong Kong.
If the project had gone ahead as planned Mowi would have expected to sell 40,000 tonnes of fish and generated a turnover of at least £1.5bn by 2025.
The world’s largest salmon producer had also developed a fast food restaurant in Japan called “Mowi Salmon Store”.
A number of other smaller ventures announced plans to open fast food salmon outlets across Asia at the time, but they too have failed to materialise to any degree.