Norway-UK Seafood Summit returns to London with focus on sustainability

Following a two-year break as a result of the pandemic, the annual Norway-UK Seafood Summit returned to the Fishmonger’s Hall, London. The annual event , highlighted 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 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.

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.

“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”, said Norwegian Minister for Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran.

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.

Victoria Braathen from the Norwegian Seafood Council. Photo: Gabriel Bush.

“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.”, concluded Victoria Braathen, Norwegian Seafood Council UK director.

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