Where Wild Seafood Processors Can Meet the 2021 Food 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, and a focus on health with emphasis placed on immunity-boosting foods. 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 trend of sustainability took a backseat to COVID-19 but is 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 a Wild Seafood Processor? Keep reading to learn more.
Fortunately, the United States is recognized as a global leader in sustainable seafood thanks to robust, science-based fishery management that legally requires U.S. seafood to be caught according to plans that consider social and economic outcomes for fishing communities, prevent overfishing, rebuilt depleted stocks, minimize bycatch and interactions with protected species, as well as identify and conserve essential fish habitat. In addition to all these requirements, all seafood sold in the U.S. is required to have country of origin labeling on the packaging. As such, by simply following the requirements enforced by NOAA and other agencies, you can help consumers rest assured that your product came from a sustainable source. It is estimated that more than 80% of the seafood we eat in the United States is imported, so sustainable practices can be the difference that helps you beat out the competition when the consumer is making their choice.
Similarly fortunate for wild seafood processors is the fact that seafood provides natural health benefits for consumers. In fact, because “fish is packed with protein, vitamins, and nutrients that can lower blood pressure and help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke,” the American Heart Association actually recommends eating fish at least two times a week as part of a healthy diet. Additionally, for consumers concerned about immunity-boosting foods, fish is a good source of minerals, including zinc, which is needed for cell growth and immune system health. Additionally health benefits of fish also include but are not limited to: omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fatty acids that cannot be produced by the human body and must be obtained through food, B-complex vitamins, vitamin D, vitamin A, and more. As a wild seafood processor, your product naturally supports a healthy diet, you just need to make sure consumers know it!
When it comes to food, consumers are demanding transparency now more than ever, wanting to know where it came from, the ingredients involved in its production, and whether it was produced using ethical practices. That’s why transparency and traceability are key tools for wild seafood processors when appealing to today’s consumer and meeting demand – especially as some are saying sustainability and traceability are of equal importance as quality to consumers today. And according to Supermarket Today, seafood processors are already taking note of the importance of traceability and transparency, as they shared:
“Casey Marion, director of sustainability initiatives and quality management systems for Jacksonville, Florida-based Beaver Street Fisheries, says the concept of traceability is related to food safety and quality and having the ability to trace back an issue to a plant, farm, or boat based on a particular lot or shipment number. Transparency, on the other hand, is more about what he calls the “key data elements” that are associated with a particular supply chain. Transparency often involves supply chain mapping and truly understanding everything that goes into a particular retail product. Both, he says, are essential in today’s seafood industry. “They’re crucial to doing business with any major retailer and especially in private labels,” he says. “There must be full traceability and transparency all the way through the supply chain.”
Supermarket Today also shared the perspective of David Pilat, vice president of business development for Blue Circle Foods, stating:
“The first step in developing a first-rate traceability and transparency program is to know exactly where your fish is coming from, says David Pilat, vice president of business development for Washington, D.C.-based Blue Circle Foods. Being close isn’t good enough. ‘If you’re saying it’s Maldivian tuna caught in this manner from this area, it doesn’t mean anything if it’s not true,” he says. “You have to actually get to know your fishermen. It’s why we work with a lot of independent and family fishermen. We go there to make sure we’re getting the fish we’re supposed to be getting. You know the catch method is correct, you know the area is correct.’ After establishing that close personal bond with your fishermen, the next step in creating a good sustainability program is to choose a trace register system that can ensure traceability from sea to plate.”
In order to provide the information consumers are looking for, 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 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.