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Nutritious, safe and sustainable seafood for consumers of tomorrow

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SEAFOODTOMORROW (Nutritious, safe and sustainable seafood for consumers of tomorrow)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2021-04-30

By 2050, population and economic growth is expected to result in a doubling of global demand for food. One of the main associated challenges will be ensuring that food production and consumption are socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.
Seafood is one of the most important food commodities consumed in Europe as it is an important source of high-quality protein and is naturally rich in valuable nutrients for a healthy diet. Therefore, it is vital to develop new, eco-innovative and transparent seafood production and processing methods that will support European seafood security and quality in line with market demands.
In 2017, the European Commission launched its “Blue Growth” initiative under the Horizon 2020 programme, calling for ideas and plans from research consortia to develop innovative sustainable solutions to improve the safety and dietary properties of seafood.
The SEAFOODTOMORROW project was created to respond to these needs.
The overarching objective of SEAFOODTOMORROW was to strengthen the seafood production and processing industry in Europe. Key features included providing validated, market-driven and consumer-responsive eco-innovative sustainable solutions that contribute to food security and safety, mitigate production hazards, contribute to employment and increase consumer awareness of seafood quality and safety.
Launched in 2017, SEAFOODTOMORROW strengthen the seafood production and processing industry in Europe. Over the project’s three and a half years, SEAFOODTOMORROW has generated new knowledge, created new tools and solutions to tackle some of the biggest issues facing the seafood industry: sustainability, ensuring safety, quality and transparency and availability of products that meet consumer needs. The following eco-innovative solutions and key exploitable results were:
a) Seafood sustainability, where partners have formulated novel feeds for aquaculture, replacing traditional fish feeds sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fishmeal and fish oil, with sustainable eco-friendly natural ingredients; they have optimised protocols to support improved seafood production using Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture systems and demonstrated technologies that can be used to reduce energy and water consumption during seafood processing; research has also advanced models for eco-friendly management strategies against contamination risks at production sites.
b) Seafood safety, where partners have tested and validated methods to remove or reduce contaminants in seafood produce and ready-to-eat products; they have also demonstrated and validated new technologies to detect contaminants in seafood that can be used by producers to control the risk of contaminants and reduce loss of their products.
c) Seafood quality and transparency, where partners have developed a concept for an accredited certification scheme, based on a benchmark tool and utilising a quality label; linked to a new seafood traceability tool, these outputs allow for easy and comprehensive access to product information for users all along the value chain; they have also demonstrated a fast, low-cost and easy-to-use DNA technique and established a new DNA database that supports the reliable identification of seafood species, even in highly processed products.
d) Healthy products and informative tools, where partners have created delicious recipes for new, ready-to-eat seafood dishes that meet consumer dietary needs; the recipes include adaptations to reduce the amount of sodium in processed seafood products; a selection of recipes for at home cooking have been published in a free e-recipe book; the team has also launched a new version of FishChoice - a free, web-based tool and smartphone app that provide detailed information on the benefits (nutrients) and risks (potential pollutants), as well as sustainability of seafood, to guide consumers in their daily choices; at last a new web-based training course, addressing education gaps in the seafood sector, has also been developed for managers in this sector.
To ensure that all results are used by the key stakeholders in the seafood sector, SEAFOODTOMORROW has carried out customised transfer activities for each target audience. Three demonstration workshops were held to bring these outputs directly to industry. A policy meeting was held to support transfer of recommendations made by the consortium, and to support uptake of solutions by industry that first require legislative change. The project’s final event was a celebration of these achievements, as well as an opportunity to further reach stakeholders. This effort will translate into new collaboration agreements and further funding to continue developing some of the outputs presented within this document. Some of the outputs are now in the exploitation process, with the submition of two patents.
SEAFOODTOMORROW has contributed to five major impacts:
a) ensuring sustainable production and processing of seafood, improving consumer perception of the industry, and securing growth in the seafood sector;
b) ensuring safe seafood for all, improving consumer trust and increasing profitability of the seafood sector;
c) improving transparency in seafood authentication, ensuring that seafood quality and production and processing best practices are met;
d) improving access to reliable information to support seafood consumers in making informed decisions and eating healthy seafood, thereby improving consumer health in Europe;
e) influencing behaviours of seafood stakeholders, emphasising the importance of seafood as a healthy food product and contributing to socio-economic growth of the sector.
The SEAFOODTOMORROW team is confident that market implementation of their solutions and outputs will lead to an increase in sustainability and competitiveness of the European seafood industry, and ensure more nutritious, safe and sustainable seafood for all consumers in the future.
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