Consumer needs and demands are in focus in a new ambitious research project, SEAFOODplus.
On 22 of January, the largest research project in seafood ever sponsored by the EU was launched in Brussels. Largest, not only with respect to the budget of 26 million Euro of which the EU contributes 14.4 million Euro from the food research programme - but also with respect to partnerships (more than 70 partners from 17 countries), research collaboration between various sciences and with respect to ambition.
"One of the aims of SEAFOODplus is to contribute to changing consumers' attitude toward seafood in order to increase consumption of seafood to the benefit of health and well being. Ways to do so are improving quality and safety, developing new products, safeguarding traceability and trustworthiness, and to do all of this in strict accordance with consumers needs and demands. And yes, it's ambitious. So, we've gathered groups of the very best researchers in the fields of nutrition, food safety, fish farming, food processing and consumer behavior", says SEAFOODplus coordinator, Torger Børresen, Danish Institute for Fisheries research.
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Integrating natural sciences and social sciences with respect to consumer perception and attitude is an almost revolutionary aspect of the project, which guarantees that the needs of the consumer are at the core of every part of the project.
"Most consumers already know that seafood is healthy, so to communicate this will not affect their future choices very much. In order to stimulate the consumption of seafood we need to understand more about consumer perception and behavior. And this will make us able to develop and communicate more seafood products targeted toward consumer needs", says Associate Professor Karen Brunsø, coordinator of the SEAFOODplus projects regarding consumer behavior and well-being.
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The EU contributes to SEAFOODplus through the 6th Research Framework Programme. Director Christian Patermann, Directorate E, Biotechnology Agriculture and Food Research, highlighted that SEAFOODplus is an excellent example of the new Integrated Project concept, which is being implemented through the 6th Framework Programme.
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SEAFOODplus also takes account of the limited fisheries resources by focusing on better utilization of seafood resources. An aspect stressed by The Commission at the launching. John Farnell, Director for conservation policy, Directorate-General for Fisheries, European Commission said for one thing that:
"We hope that SEAFOODplus will be instrumental in creating new knowledge and novel products enabling the seafood industry to maximise the proper and economic utilisation of scarce fisheries resources. There may also be opportunities to utilise untapped potential without increasing fishing pressure, by research into functional components for food from marine life. The SEAFOODplus project contains such initiatives within its plans, which could identify outputs of economic importance for the seafood industry and provide a further incentive to all stakeholders for more carefully managed resource exploitation".
For more extensive information about SEAFOODplus click here.
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