Upping market share in seafood

Related tags European union

This month sees the launch of the biggest research project that the
EU has ever funded in the seafood sector. Spanning the entire
chain, millions of euros poured into the programme will track the
consumer-driven fish to fork concept, identifiying opportunites for
seafood in the food market.

Despite ongoing supply problems and rising prices, the consumption of fish and seafood is forecast to increase in all the major European markets.

This is attributed to a number of factors, including the consumer's move towards healthy eating and lifestyles, the recent scares over meat safety, and the increased added-value opportunities for fish and fish products due to demographic and societal changes.

The EU backed SEAFOODplus​ project with a budget of €26m, of which the Commission has thrown €14.4m into the pot, will investigate the different stages in the fish to fork chain. With a particular focus on consumers' demands for healthy, safe products that have been produced 'using sustainable, environment-friendly methods and processed using state-of-the-art techniques'.

Angles to be covered include how does feed composition influence fish quality, which ingredients are lost during processing, what is the attitude of consumers about (farmed) seafood, and what health benefits do fish products have to offer apart from Omega 3 fatty acids?

The researchers - representing over 80 EU project partners - have a deadline of 4.5 years to investigate these issues: on fish farms, in laboratories, with consumers, at processing facilities and in hospitals.

In 2001 the EU 15 aquaculture hit 1.3 million tonnes, compared to 7.5 million tonnes for fish production.

France continues to be the main European market with sales close to €100 million, a nine per cent increase on 2001. The other main European markets include the UK - largely from Scotland - at €66 million, Spain at €50 million, Germany at €41 million and Italy at €27 million.

Professor Torger Børresen, a Danish fisheries researcher, is to head up the EU-backed project, supported by a council consisting of 12 experts who together cover all the project areas.

Brussels will officially launch SEAFOODplus at an event on 22 January where researchers and Commission representatives will present the goals of the initiative.

Related topics Market Trends

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