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Friday, April 19, 2024

Ensuring sustainable seafood

SEAFOODTOMORROW is creating nutritious, safe and sustainable seafood for consumers of tomorrow

Food systems around the world are currently facing many challenges, most notably the need to feed a growing global population that’s set to double by 2050. Eco-innovative and sustainable solutions are essential to meet these demands and transform the food system into a sustainable one.
The EU-funded project SEAFOODTOMORROW is working to develop and validate such solutions, strengthening the seafood industry across Europe. This three-year project led by the Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) brings together 35 partners and 12 third parties from 19 European countries. Launched in October 2017 with a €7M budget, the project will contribute to food security, safety and quality across Europe. Encompassing the full supply chain, the project will also support capacity building within the seafood sector, provide information and develop new products for consumers, offering better choices and allowing them to make informed decisions about the seafood they eat. Developing strategies to improve both seafood production and processing techniques, researchers and industry experts are working on optimising current aquaculture systems (Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture, IMTA) for sustainable integrated co-production of fish and macroalgae for seafood. The team have also refined innovative “know-how”, developing protocols for several technologies used during seafood processing to reduce energy and water consumption. Seafood is one of the most important sources of high-quality animal protein and is also naturally rich in nutrients, such as vitamin D, omega-3, selenium, vitamin B12 and iodine. However, the majority of European consumers do not eat the dietary recommendations of two portions of fish per week.
Addressing this challenge, one of the many SEAFOODTOMORROW activities involves developing new seafood recipes that cater for the distinct needs and nutritional requirements of children, pregnant women and older people. Project researchers and culinary schools across Europe developed attractive, functional, affordable, sustainable and nutritionally adapted seafood-based whole dish recipes. Teams from six European countries (Belgium, France, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden) took part in a series of contests between December 2018 and July 2019. Promoting the use of overlooked and sustainable seafood species, the teams created dishes specifically catering for these sensitive population groups. A jury of representatives from the food and catering industry, as well as scientists and nutritionists and chefs, evaluated the dishes based on a number of criteria including sustainability, scaling feasibility, how well the needs of the target consumers were met, and taste. Led by SEAFOODTOMORROW project partner IDmer, a technical centre dedicated to research and innovation in food and biotechnology based in Lorient, France, the winning recipes are now being produced at semi-industrial scale. With a 2700m² production plant, IDmer develops and industrialises new food products thanks to its sanitary agreement, and in line with HACCP standards. Its structure is ideally adapted for the production of small to medium scale production. The team at IDmer are now adapting most of the winning recipes to achieve semi-industrial quantities while ensuring the nutritional quality and taste are maintained. The final products will be taste-tested by consumer panels that include members of the public from across Europe later next year. The team will then work with food companies and industrial stakeholders across Europe to bring these products to market.
Seafood is affordable, healthy and environmentally sustainable when chosen with the right tools and it is hoped that innovative solutions, from SEAFOODTOMORROW, will support the transformation of our global
food systems.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773400 (SEAFOODTOMORROW)

For more information, visit: www.seafoodtomorrow.eu

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