Imprint developed the method, which uses multi-isotope fingerprints to authenticate products. The Austrian group brings its ‘technical expertise in the field of the application’ to the collaboration, while ORIVO offers its ‘deep seafood market knowledge’ and ‘experience in authenticity issues’, FoodNavigator was told. In addition to partnering in R&D, Imprint will provide a ‘professional high-throughput laboratory’ for ORIVO’s running operations.
The companies are targeting the organic salmon sector and fish oil dietary supplement market, where the method has already been tested and validated. They plan to offer the testing service to manufacturers, retailers and seafood distributors as well as companies focused on ESG financing.
‘Increasing demand’ for seafood traceability
The tie-up comes in response to increasing demand for ‘reliable traceability documentation’ in consumer products. The companies believe documenting the origin of seafood is becoming ‘more and more critical’ as consumers demand evidence for product claims.
“We see that this increasing demand is especially expressed for seafood products where the origin is of extra importance for consumers,” Svein Frik Haugmo, ORICO CEO, observed. “These are products where it is very challenging to determine if the claims made on the product label are correct or not. One example is organic salmon products, where many consumers are worried that the products they are buying are, in fact, not organic. We can now provide them with the ultimate evidence; a laboratory test performed by an independent third party.”
Haugmo said that omega-3 concentrates are another area that will benefit from increased transparency and authentication. “Omega-3 concentrates make up a big part of the omega-3 products on the market today. Until now, it has been impossible to determine the origin of these products through a direct laboratory analysis. With this new tool and a strong database of reference samples from the most common fish oil sources, we can now expand our current authentication services from natural omega-3 products to the entire market.”
Dr David Psomiadis, Chief Business Officer at Imprint, told FoodNavigator that the technical solution developed by the Austrian authenticity group is more advanced than other solutions currently on the market. “Until today, there is no published or validated method that can deliver a robust assessment of the geographical origin of omega-3 supplements and fish oils. Additionally, regarding the verification of organic salmon and provenance of salmon, this is the largest database currently available and has the potential to continue expanding with more countries. The power behind is the large multi-isotope fingerprint we use, based on the latest state-of-the-art analytical equipment,” he explained.
Dr Psomiadis is confident that the proposition will resonate with customers thanks to consumer drivers and a boost to ESG issues, with increased focus on ‘sustainability targets’ and ‘responsible sourcing’.
“It is becoming harder to attract the attention of the consumer through product claims due to rising distrust. So, what could be more effective than providing authenticity verification evidence? In this context, the execution of an authentication programme could be used for brand protection in more than one sense, enabling companies to maintain, strengthen, or even regain consumer trust in their products.
“Our common principles and vision with ORIVO in providing complete testing, verification and certification services to the seafood industry secures reliable and trustworthy evidence-based traceability tools. These tools are now available to help food operators safeguard responsible sourcing, sustainability protocols and ESG strategic corporate policies.”
The first commercial assignments based on this ‘new and revolutionary’ testing have already been successfully delivered to a ‘handful’ of pilot customers, the companies revealed. The service will now be offered to the entire market.