New think­ing needed on seafood prod­ucts

Fish Farmer - - Markets & Retail -

THE time has come for some fresh think­ing and ideas about how to present fish to the pub­lic, the Hum­ber Seafood Sum­mit was told last month.

Claire Nut­tall, CEO and in­no­va­tion strate­gist with the Brand In­cu­ba­tor, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that helps busi­nesses in­no­vate and grow, de­liv­ered a pas­sion­ate talk urg­ing the seafood in­dus­try to take another look at its prod­uct strat­egy.

She said: ‘One of the big chal­lenges to­day is how to jus­tify pre­mi­ums and you have to in­clude fish in that. Ask­ing them to eat seafood more than once a week is tough.’

Nut­tall said 10 years ago life was all about money, but in the last five years trends had started to change, with healthy eat­ing be­com­ing fash­ion­able.

As a re­sult, peo­ple pur­su­ing healthy life­styles were pre­pared to pay more for their meals. She de­scribed this move­ment as ‘health he­do­nism’.

‘Health is trendy, fash­ion­able and cool. Peo­ple want to stay young and look good, they want to stay in the work­place and they want to keep do­ing things into their seven­ties.’

This meant they were now look­ing more closely at the type of nu­tri­ents in their di­ets and hith­erto un­usual foods, such as sea­weed and al­gae, were be­com­ing fash­ion­able.

‘Fish is so much bet­ter to help us stay young and I be­lieve ev­ery­one can af­ford to eat healthily. Fish is not only de­li­cious, but it has long term pre­ven­ta­tive ben­e­fits,’ she added. ‘And it is one of the purest foods you can eat.

‘Mal­nu­tri­tion is not just about the Third World – it is here in the UK be­cause peo­ple are not eat­ing the right nu­tri­ents.

‘Obe­sity is cost­ing the na­tion a for­tune be­cause a lot of food is over-pro­cessed. But fish is a per­for­mance food and we should en­cour­age peo­ple to eat more of it.’

Saucy Fish, Nut­tall said, had changed a lot of ideas about seafood and the com­pany should be proud of it­self – ‘brand­ing is ev­ery­thing and Saucy Fish fits that per­fectly’.

But it was also time for the in­dus­try to look out­side the box at fur­ther in­no­va­tion. One idea, she sug­gested, was to de­velop prod­ucts around fish flakes which could then be added to pasta or rice with var­i­ous sauces to make a healthy, but sat­is­fy­ing meal.

Ear­lier, Jack MacIn­tyre, lead an­a­lyst at Global Data, spoke about the grow­ing po­ten­tial of the seafood sec­tor.

More than a quar­ter of the pop­u­la­tion now eat out at least once a week, cre­at­ing a UK sec­tor de­liv­er­ing 75 mil­lion ki­los of seafood a year and this would grow by 2.7 per cent a year over the next four years. De­mand for seafood in food ser­vice would more or less in­crease in line with that fig­ure.

Seafood, he added, could of­fer both healthy and in­dul- gent eat­ing at the same time.

Jonathan Banks, head of Jonathan Banks As­so­ciates, which tracks and pre­dicts con­sumer trends, said meat con­sump­tion was in de­cline while fish sales, es­pe­cially in the chilled sec­tor, were on the in­crease.

The in­dus­try, he said, now needed to look at in­creas­ing the num­ber of fish con­sumers with new ideas such as seafood snacks.

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