Producing food requires huge resources but an estimated one seventh of the resulting products are lost before they are consumed, and in the case of fish and seafood as much as one third! Whether spoiled, destroyed or carelessly thrown away – losses on the way from origin to plate are high. New strategies are now being developed to reduce or, better still, to avoid food waste and losses altogether.
This article was featured in EUROFISH Magazine 5 /2020.
During the catching and processing of fish and seafood considerable amounts of waste occur. Some of it, roughly estimated at around 17%, is “disposed of” at sea immediately after the catch. About twice as much is lost during processing on land. And then there are also losses that occur during transport, at individual stages of trade, in the catering trade, or in consumers’ homes. A definition of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is often used to distinguish between “food losses” and “food waste”.
Seamark supplies frozen fish and seafood sourced from different countries around the world to customers in continental Europe and the UK.
Seamark started life as a grocery store selling meat, vegetables, and fish to consumers in the UK in the mid-70s. Today it is a multinational company with operations in the UK, USA and Bangladesh, suppliers across Asia, and well-known product brands. Frozen warm water shrimp of various kinds – freshwater, black tiger, and vannamei – are the company’s speciality, but it also distributes squid, scallops, seafood mixes, pangasius, tilapia and seabass, to wholesalers, retailers, industry, as well as the food service sector.
Riba Drazin, an expanding processing company, was founded in 2013 in the small fishing town Kastela Kambelovac in Dalmatia, Croatia, by award-winning innovator and entrepreneur, Zivko Drazin.
For generations, people in the town of Kastela have been involved in fishing and fish processing, and especially in the traditional hand salting and marinating of anchovies and sardines. Among the oldest inhabitants of the town is the Drazin family, one of the few remaining that still nurtures the traditional manual way of production.
Packaging, labelling and trouble shooting are services that co-packer Best Harvest offers to the food industry and trade. The company’s four lines can pack fish fingers just as easily as fillets in tubular bags or cartons (top or end load). Best Harvest also develops special machines for solving individual problems.
Asia is one of the most important regions for buying and processing fish and seafood. Heiko Lenk recognized this fact early on and set up his own service company in Thailand to offer support during procurement of seafood. His company now holds ISO 9001:2008 certification and has started producing convenience products for the European market.
Jens Møller from Denmark holds a patent for the production of caviar imitation from seaweed. His company of the same name is based in Lemvig and can produce about six tonnes of the product per day. It is traded internationally mainly under the brand name Cavi-Art.
The share of processed fish products on the market is growing constantly. Jobs that used to be carried out by hand are today performed more and more often by machines. In the meantime there are not only machines for the more basic work such as removing scales and slime but also for highly sensitive processes like filleting, fillet trimming or exact portioning. These systems are particularly worthwhile if they can be combined to form complete processing lines.
More than 90 million tonnes of fish and seafood are available every year from the fisheries sector, plus a further 50 million tonnes from aquaculture. Only about half of these huge quantities is used directly for human consumption, however. The other half – waste from gutting, trimmings and spoiled fish – finishes up in fishmeal or is disposed of otherwise. But this is misuse because even what is considered to be “waste” has a high potential.
We have known for a century that extremely high pressure has a sterilising effect. But only today is technology so advanced that this effect can be put into practice. High pressure processing (HPP) not only extends the shelf-life of foods but also enables the meat of raw shellfish and crustaceans to be removed from the shell completely and still intact. The result: higher yield.
The usability and economic value of a lot of products – including foods – depend heavily on whether certain temperatures are maintained during their transport and storage. Deviations not only shorten a product’s shelf life but can also lead to its premature spoilage. But what possibilities are there for controlling continuous adherence to the required temperature?