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July 2022 Editorial

Why is it that people don’t make the most of the foods which oceans offer?

 Eating seafood is an ancient practice and keeps developing and expanding thanks to increased production, reduced wastage, improved distribution, rising incomes and consumer demand. 

 While Europe, Japan and the US accounted for 47% of total fish consumption for food in 1961, the share is now around 20% (FAO). It is positive news to see blue food reaching other countries, with Asia taking the lead. 

 However, it was one of the many merits of the Blue food innovation summit held mid-June 2022 in London to highlight the amazing potential which lies ahead of us. Oceans make up 70% of our planet and yet fish accounts for 17% of animal proteins. With an audience made up of start-ups, it is even more promising to explore future options taking into account the potentialities related to technologies (traceability, precision feeding, recycling …), additional ingredients, investments and partnerships.

 Manuel Barange (FAO) highlighted quite rightly that the seafood sector must grow considerably to keep step with global population growth; he noted that currently, only 68 of the 165 national public health nutrition policies actually identify fish and shellfish consumption as key objective. 

 Shakuntala Thilsted (Worldfish) made it clear that blue food, a “super food”, should be considered in all its diversity, ie from all aquatic systems. 

 A series of papers focusing on Blue foods were published recently (Blue Food Assessment) and found blue foods ranking more highly than terrestrial animal-source foods in terms of their nutritional benefits and potential for sustainability gains.

“So the first objective of blue transformation is to achieve 30-45% growth in global aquaculture by 2030,” Barange told attendees. “This might look like a big number, but actually in the last decade aquaculture has grown by 50% — so it is achievable.”

 No doubt this progression will rely on all the sectors which can help make this happen. Aquaculture can count on marine ingredients to support this growth as they combine an unmatched nutritional profile, significant and stable volumes and low carbon footprint credentials.