Blue food in focus at Nordic Food Industry
Businesses and operators large and small are retooling to drive more sustainable production. The climate issue is the defining issue of our time and has become a major topic of social debate in recent years. And there is a lot going on, in the shadow of climate change. Among other things, there is a growing interest in blue food.
Nordic Food Industry brings together the entire food industry to highlight progress and challenges facing the sector and to collaborate on finding solutions.
And one of those taking the stage is Lillemor Lindberg. She works at Innovatum Science Park, where she is responsible for the organisation’s work in the blue bioeconomy, but also has a significant role in the Blue Food – Centre for Future Seafood project. The centre is a collaboration between some 70 different parties, from academia, public stakeholders and a variety of food companies. Together they are working towards the same goal, namely, greater consumption of Swedish seafood.
– The benefits of blue food, or seafood, are many. However, the more general advantages of seafood are that they are very energy-efficient and need less water to cultivate. And nutritious. A new report shows that many types of seafood contain more nutrients, at a lower cost, than land-based animal protein sources.
Accustoming consumers to new behaviour
Right now, there is an incredible amount of research into foods that are more sustainably produced than those we eat today. And that’s exactly what Lillemor will be highlighting when she takes the stage at Nordic Food Industry.
– I will talk about how research can produce results that feed into industry. I will also talk about how we get consumers to choose more Swedish-produced seafood. We’ve done studies in which we’ve served seafood made from lesser-known ingredients to see the reaction. It’s interesting for the industry to realise that blue food is a growing market. Today it is not big, but it is very promising.
Research into blue food explores a variety of possibilities. To achieve maximum sustainability, many tests and studies are being done, including some on fish in recirculating land-based aquaculture systems.
– In one project, we are studying how we can tell when fish are fully fed by analysing their behaviour. This knowledge can be used to reduce feed waste at feeding time. We are also using AI to monitor and regulate the environment in which the fish live, with a focus on maintaining the optimal water quality for the fish.
Sweden at the cutting edge
The Blue Food Centre has set a series of measurable and clear objectives. One goal is that all Swedes should be able to eat Swedish-produced seafood between two and three times a week. Another is that we should increase Swedish aquaculture production and we should become better at using the fish we land for food.
– Today, only 17% of wild-caught small pelagic fish ends up on the plate. We want to increase that figure to 50%, so that we really use the fish we catch. We also want to increase the number of species we farm at least tenfold, as well as increasing tenfold the volumes of farmed fish and other aquaculture organisms such as algae, mussels and ascidians. In ten years’ time, we want at least 60% of the seafood consumed to be produced in Sweden. A figure that currently stands at around 15 %. The Blue Food Centre wants to make Sweden a prominent producer of attractive and sustainable seafood.
When she takes the stage, Lillemor hopes to inspire the audience to take note of the broad research that is now being done to put Sweden on the seafood map.
– I hope listeners will take away the idea that Sweden needs to expand in a sustainable way in this area. We should look at seafood and understand that we need scaling up, technology and processing. Those who work in the engineering industry today, for example, should understand that they are helping to ensure that Sweden becomes a successful nation in the marine sector. I hope that people will see the potential in collaborating with research, so that Sweden increases its competitiveness and so that we can stick our necks out and export more seafood in the future, Lillemor concludes.
Nordic Food Industry is the meeting place where we showcase new technologies, innovative solutions and products for sustainable food production. The entire food industry comes together under one roof to build the industry of tomorrow. Nordic Food Industry takes place at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre on 18-20 October.