Proud ocean nations unite at the Norway-UK Seafood Summit with a shared agenda to increase sustainable seafood consumption.
27th February 2023, Fishmonger’s Hall, London
Following a two-year break as a result of the pandemic, the annual Norway-UK Seafood Summit made a welcome return on 27th February 2023 at Fishmonger’s Hall, London. The event, which is firmly cementing itself as an important date in industry calendars, led with bilateral updates from the Norwegian Minister for Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran, and the UK Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries, Rt Hon Mark Spencer, on how the two countries are working together, with joint efforts to further strengthen and develop seafood trade and relations – particularly with sustainability in mind.
Organised by the Norwegian Seafood Council, the Summit attracted almost 200 stakeholders from the seafood sector and related industries. From fishing fleets, seafood producers and exporters, to importers, suppliers, retail, food service and trade media, key decision makers were brought together for market updates, industry sharing and networking.
Norway is currently the largest supplier of seafood to the UK by far. The two countries have a long-standing seafood partnership, with the close relations clearly evident and celebrated at this Summit. Last year, Norway exported around 146,000 tons of seafood for around 625 million British pounds to the UK; mostly salmon, cod, haddock, and cold-water prawns. Indeed 13% of cod, 55% of haddock and 6% of salmon exports coming out of Norway are consumed in the UK.
Bi-lateral discussions highlight Norway and UK’s commitment to a more sustainable future
The Summit took a deep dive into a number of pertinent topics relevant to the seafood industry, with the general consensus being that despite rising costs, more needs to be done as a category to promote the importance of seafood as a nutritious, versatile protein. Encouragingly, leaders across the industry agreed that there is a clear path to take to ensure seafood gets the visibility and excitement it deserves.
Norwegian minister, Mr Skjæran, provided the Norwegian perspective:
“Monday’s gathering was about honouring and celebrating the close relationship between Norway and the UK, and joint future opportunities.
“The North Sea has, for centuries, laid a solid foundation for trade, cultural exchange, and shared values between our two countries.
“Seafood has an important role to play in future food systems and is a vital part of a healthy and sustainable diet. Increasing seafood consumption, both in the context of sustainability and health benefits, is a shared agenda for Norway and the UK.”
Whilst British minister, Rt Hon Mr Spencer added:
“The United Kingdom & Norway have a historic and strong relationship, one of friendship, cooperation, and respect.
“I look forward to continuing to work together closely over the coming years, and promoting our shared commitments to supporting an economically viable fishing industry while safeguarding our marine environment for future generations.”
Norwegian Seafood Council CEO, Christian Chramer, said:
“The job our two nations do together is more important than ever. To cooperate, to share insight and to help businesses manoeuvre in uncertain times and rough seas is key to the future of the industry.
“Norway and the UK have a shared agenda when it comes to seafood. Both countries are proud ocean and seafood nations, and we share the need to work together to make sure that our seafood is farmed and caught sustainably so that it is delivered to the market in the best possible way, meeting the consumers demands and needs.
“As this demand evolves, it’s essential we stay innovative, knowledgeable and insight driven – working together to put seafood on the people’s plates that we’re proud of.”
Insight-led discussions provided a positive outlook for the sector.
Senior economist, from Economist Intelligence, Kate Parker, provided an in-depth update on the state-of-play for the UK economy, offering commentary on the impact of the war in Ukraine, and its effect on commodity prices, inflation and UK market growth in the seafood space. Prospect scenarios were probed and scrutinised, with some key predications drawn for the year ahead relevant to the industry.
Dr Angus Garrett, head of horizon scanning and long-term issues at Seafish explored the role climate change is likely to play in the immediate and longer-term future. He also made projections around evolving consumer sentiment, choice paradigms and a consideration for health and price too.
Insights from Kantar Worldpanel studied post-pandemic consumption, dissecting big data to draw out themes around fluctuating habits concerning the OOH and retail markets. It was suggested that whilst a consideration for health does continue to play a strong part in consumer purchasing decisions, perhaps it’s not as heavily weighted as some may have predicted, when looked at against value, convenience and satisfaction.
- Kantar also highlighted how eating in the home is 6% bigger than pre-pandemic, which presents a billion more occasions every 12 weeks – an incredible opportunity for the seafood category.
- 27% of shoppers are struggling financially, with consumers looking to frozen formats over fresh (+7.1% change in shopping habits in frozen) – highlighting the increased place for cheaper formats and easy, part assembled seafood meals.
Nutritionist and registered dietician, Juliette Kellow questioned the ‘at least two portions a week’ guidance, querying whether the messaging is really landing and gaining cut through with consumers. She called for a review as to how, as a nation, we might promote fish as a budget friendly, quick and easy meal option for the whole family and suggested that the term ‘pescetarian’ is renamed to one that is more relatable. Juliette also reminded delegates how seafood is a protein with many added benefits, not just low in saturated fats and high in Omega-3, but also a rich source of vitamin D and iodine too; both of which are difficult to source across the food groups.
Uniting the insights was a crucial call for clear-cut marketing and education around how quick and easy fish can be to prepare to create a delicious and nutritious protein-rich meal. It is clear families should be engaged with simple, innovative formats, and seafood should be introduced to younger audiences to ingrain the protein into mainstream diets.It is a strategy such as this that will ensure seafood not only survives but thrives on our plates in the future.
Norwegian Seafood Council UK director, Victoria Braathen concluded:
“As highlighted by Kristin Langeland, Norwegian Seafood Federation, we need 70% more food by 2050 to feed our growing population. 98% of all food is currently produced on land, yet with two thirds of our planet covered by oceans, this is a clear opportunity for more. It’s been so encouraging to hear so many different perspectives surrounding seafood and the future of this nutritious, sustainable protein today.
“From the enthusiasm and passion evident in this room today, the future really is bright for seafood category. We recognise the opportunity we have for Norwegian seafood in the UK, and we are excited for the coming years where we look to increase the visibility, awareness and value of Norwegian cod and haddock in the UK.
“In the coming year we look forward to continuing our marketing and communications efforts across the three key sectors we are proud to be working with – fish and chips, by focussing on the value of sustainable seafood for the UK’s favourite dish; the HoReCa industry by engaging and educating future generations of chefs; and the retail sector by increasing visibility and awareness of Seafood from Norway using our new ‘Explore’ branded concept. Each of these initiatives will have the same ultimate category goal – to build a case for seafood and showcase how Seafood from Norway perfectly meets modern consumer trends as a wholesome protein choice.”
The Summit hosted an expert set of spokespeople including:
Kate Parker, senior economist, Economist Intelligence
Eivind H. Brækkan, seafood analyst, Norwegian Seafood Council
Dr. Angus Garrett, head of horizon scanning and long-term issues, Seafish
Nathan Ward, business unit director, Usage Foods, Worldpanel Division, UK
Kristin Langeland, director of communications and business policy, Norwegian Seafood Federation
Juliette Kellow, nutritionist, member of the British Dietetic Association
Lisa Cowell, head of brands, New England Seafood International
Morten Hyldborg Jensen, CCO Whitefish, Insula and CEO, Nordic Group
Presentations from the speaker set are now available and can be found in the below links.
Senior Economist – Economist Intelligence Unit
Seafood Analyst – Norwegian Seafood Council
Dr Angus Garrett
Head of Horizon & Scanning & Long Term Issues – Seafish
Business Unit Director – Usage Foods Worldpanel Division UK
Director of Communications & Business Policy – Norwegian Seafood Federation
Morten Hyldborg Jensen
CCO Whitefish Insula & CEO Nordic Group
Head of Brands – New England Seafood International
Nutritionist – Member of the British Dietetic Association
Director UK – Norwegian Seafood Council