Where Alaska Seafood Processors Can Meet the 2021 Consumer Demand
In a previous blog post, we summarized what the food industry can expect regarding 2021 consumer trends and those that made the list were transparency throughout the supply chain, sustainability, a focus on health with emphasis placed on immunity-boosting foods, as well as a rise in plant-based diets. Reiterating these expected trends, Food Insight reported that the pandemic has caused many Americans to seek foods for their health benefits with a specific emphasis on those to strengthen their immune system while additionally reporting that the expected 2020 trends of sustainability and plant-based eating took a backseat to COVID-19 but are predicted to reemerge in 2021. Business Wire echoed that transparency will be key in 2021, stating, “Consumers now expect food labels to provide greater transparency around the entire product life cycle. This is helping drive the demand for locally sourced products as consumers seek greater clarity on where the ingredients in food and beverages come from.” With these consumer priorities in mind, where can you meet the demand as an Alaska Seafood Processor? Keep reading to learn more.
When it comes to Alaska Seafood, sustainability is key. In fact, according to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI), sustainability isn’t just one thing – in fact, there are five pillars to Alaska Seafood sustainability: families and communities, fisheries management, resource utilization, social responsibility, and certification. As such, meeting consumer demand for sustainability is as easy as following the law for Alaska Seafood Processors, literally, as ASMI describes, “Sustainable fishing has been the law since 1959 when Alaska became the only state with sustainability written into its constitution.” Additionally, “fisheries in Alaska operate under a broad suite of federal and state laws and regulations ensuring workplace safety [and] compliance is ensured through rigorous inspections and enforcement.” As such, by following rules and regulations already set in place for processors, you are contributing to sustainable practices. However, to go beyond the expectations, you can focus on resource utilization and certification. In regard to resource utilization, this means using the remaining materials after primary processing to create products such as fishmeal and fish oil to use as much of the seafood as possible, thus creating as little waste as possible. Regarding certification, earning the “independent, third party sustainable seafood certifications – Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM) and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)” is the surest way to communicate to consumers that your product came from sustainable practices. Finally, other sustainable practices we’ve previously reported on that are always helpful include: sustainable food packaging, packaging for a longer lifespan, not creating waste in the first place, donating the waste, recycling, and investing in Alaska Seafood Processing ERP software, such as NorthScope, that allows you to accurately track lots to adhere to expirations, product levels to avoid overstocking, production trends to improve planning, and more. By having an accurate, real-time view into your inventory, you can more easily avoid waste caused by overstocking, expiring, and non-selling products.
Just like sustainability, health is built right into Alaska Seafood. As a key source of marine omega-3 fatty acids and naturally high in many essential vitamins and minerals including vitamins E, A, D and B-12, Alaska Seafood helps promote heart health, suppress inflammatory responses, fight infection and strengthen the immune system, improve blood flow and participate in brain function while providing “a complete, high-quality protein keeping muscles and bones strong and healthy.” As such, capitalizing on this consumer demand writes itself!
Potentially counter-intuitive, Alaska Seafood complements a plant-based diet seamlessly. In fact, it ties in directly to supporting health concerns as “plant-based diets…that consist of plant foods, fish, seafood, healthy fats and limited consumption of red meat, are scientifically proven to be one of the best dietary approaches for the prevention of chronic disease and to promote overall health through nutrition.” According to ASMI, this is partially due to the fact that “combining plants and seafood together as part of a regular diet creates a nutrient synergy that fills in nutrient gaps, such as EPA, DHA, Vitamin D, and B12, that can be missing in exclusively plant-based diets and improves absorption of essential nutrients that the body needs.” Therefore, don’t count seafood out when considering how to meet the consumer demand for plant-based diets.
We may be sounding like a broken record at this point, but transparency is built into the Alaska Seafood industry, again by law. In fact, “Alaska seafood suppliers must conform to applicable national and international laws and regulations governing food producers. In addition, Alaska suppliers must conform to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) Traceability Standard, which guarantees they have traceability of the products they produce.” While the laws require traceability, today’s seafood consumer also wants to know where the fish they’re buying came from, how it was raised, whether it’s safe to eat and the details of how it was transported. In order to provide that information, you need to track it and be confident in it. That’s where NorthScope can help. Each stage of seafood processing, from buying fish from fishermen to sales and distribution, NorthScope can help you keep track of the exact quantity, quality and all other necessary details of your inventory. With this level of traceability, NorthScope can help you make sure you’re selling the right product, at the right time, to the right customer, guaranteeing you only sell product you’re proud of. Simultaneously, waste can be reduced and you can more easily adhere to food quality guidelines. With an ERP system built specifically for Alaska Seafood Processors, you can be confident in your product and in knowing where it is at each stage in your supply chain. Additionally, consumers have high expectations for where their fish come from and meeting their demands won’t convert into sales unless you show consumers your compliance. Enter: transparency. In order to be transparent, your product must be traceable. With NorthScope, you can track your product, record quality test results, apply lot certifications, and more – all of which can be reported on – allowing you to partake in full transparency for your customers.