In the past few years, the seafood industry has seen a rising demand among consumers around the world, representing today 7% of the total protein consumed globally1. Taking into consideration that a fish’s carbon footprint is considerably lower than other animal food products, its potential in sustainably feeding an increasing world population is significant.
Changing consumer demands, increased climate regulatory measures and the Covid-19 pandemic are bringing new realities to the food industry. Understanding consumers’ expectations and preferences and delivering on them will be key to remain relevant and generate future growth. We have identified four key consumers trends impacting the seafood industry.
Prior to the pandemic, sustainable products were growing 5,6 times faster than conventionally marketed products and this trend has been further accentuated after march 20202. In addition to climate concerns, animal welfare, preserving the ocean and sustainable production methods, consumers are now more conscious about their communities. Consumers expect sustainably produced products that have a minimum impact on the environment.
Food safety and nutrition
When it comes to farmed fish, an increased percentage of vegetable ingredients in feed has in recent years led to questions about the nutritional value and omega-3 components. It has been reported that the concentration of some types of omega-3 in farmed fish has decreased up to 50% during the last 15 years3. This could pose a challenge on how players in the future will obtain the right mix of ingredients while delivering on their sustainability commitments.
Influenced by large global e-commerce players, the consumer today is evermore expecting food to be one click away from their doors. Physical distancing and lockdown measures imposed by governments during Covid-19 has marked an inflection point for established food producers to engage in direct-to-consumer models.
Although there are some companies partnering with local food delivery businesses, we do not see a considerable activity around these models for more established Norwegian companies. This will be a necessary step to get access to consumer data to improve and personalize product experiences.
The era of “one size fits all” is over. Consumers look for products and services that cater for their specific individual, environmental and ethical preferences, and physical needs. While innovators and start-ups are driving these new business models, more established companies have joined the race in the last years and have set high growth expectations on this market. It is projected that just the personalized nutrition market will double by 20254.
Delivering on consumer expectations requires that seafood producers have a more holistic view to technology and data. While the Norwegian seafood industry is taking initial, but firm steps to apply new technologies in the harvesting, production and distribution process, its full potential and use is yet to be fully leveraged.
Preparing for the future requires a full understanding and adoption of these technologies to further optimize operations and provide consumers with product transparency. This will also contribute to delivering a more personalized experience, especially those engaged in value added processing.
5 recommendations for the seafood industry’s future