Processors urged to diversify into white fish to remain commercially successful in unpredictable climate

Tough market conditions require action, say experts at dedicated Sealed Air event
Thursday, June 1, 2017

Fish processors from across Europe have been advised by industry leaders that healthy margins will be harder to secure, as they assembled at an event in Paris.

Sealed Air hosted ‘Accelerate White Fish’ at its Packforum® facility to offer guidance to fish processors on how to overcome the difficult trading environment they currently face. 

Morten Sivertsvik, research director of processing technology at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima), gave his views on the cod value chain and what influences quality. Torbjorn Trondsen, a professor in fisheries marketing and innovation at University of Tromsø, and director of the super chilling and defrosting technology company Coolnova®, offered insights into extending the fresh product life of fish.

Specialists from industry leading companies such as Marel, Givaudan and Faerch also presented their solutions for the fish sector, ensuring delegates received a broad range of expertise and information at the event.

According to the latest figures from the European Commission, EU consumers spend €54 billion annually on seafood, and per capita consumption is on an upwards trend, rising to 25.5 kg.

“The European fish market is strong, and processors have been performing well in recent years. However, raw material prices of well-established products such as salmon have increased significantly, and it is affecting customers’ purchasing decisions,” said Gonzalo Campos, Fish Marketing Manager Europe at Sealed Air Food Care.

Salmon prices leapt to record highs in 2016. In turn, Norwegian cod prices rose by almost 30 percent year on year, to €2 per kilogramme, as consumers looked for more affordable substitutes. Fish processors are now facing an unpredictable market in a state of flux.

“If processors wish to remain profitable they need to diversify their portfolio – being able to keep pace with changing consumer habits by switching to alternative raw materials is commercially crucial. Processors should be looking to diversify their range of fish cuts, and optimise the yield from their operations.” added Gonzalo Campos.  

According to Datamonitor’s Global Survey, consumers are highly influenced by packaging functions such as preserving freshness (72 percent) and ease of transportability (47 percent). Convenience food that saves time and that is easy to open and cook is also paramount. At the recent Packforum event, Sealed Air showcased seafood packaging applications that enable processors to improve their white fish production and enhance its presence on the shelves.

These included skin packaging, such as Cryovac® Darfresh® on Tray. This application significantly improves processors point-of-sale competitiveness and finds efficiencies to drive profitability in production. This will be the key to ensuring white fish products remain competitive and appealing in a turbulent market.

Cryovac® Oven Ease® provides ready-for-the-oven convenience, operational efficiency that benefits the entire supply chain and positive branding effects encouraging consumers to purchase. Cryovac® Simple Steps® is thermoforming vacuum skin packaging that is more space efficient for retailers due to a smaller footprint.

A video of the event is available to view here.