Norway lays out sustainable seafood fare at Asian food, beverage trade show
The Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) is providing Thai consumers with “sustainable salmon and trout products” at this year's Thaifex Anuga Asia 2023, Asia's largest food and beverage trade show.
The move is part of the company's strategy to increase Thai awareness of Norwegian seafood as a sustainable alternative source of high-quality protein.
Asbjorn Warvik Rortveit, NSC Southeast Asia regional director, said at a press conference earlier this week that in addition to ensuring Thai consumers could enjoy the taste of fresh seafood that was environmentally friendly, the NSC would also showcase technologies and innovations used in the aquaculture and fisheries industries.
This would encourage the country to take steps to strengthen its own food security, he said.
NSC welcomed over 20 Norwegian exporters to the “Seafood from Norway Pavilion”, presenting enormous trade growth and opportunities for small-scale through large-scale businesses throughout Southeast Asia.
He noted that Norwegian seafood, such as salmon, fjord trout and Norwegian saba, are products of sustainable farming and fisheries that have been enjoyed by most Thais for the past 10 years.
According to NSC records, the Norwegian seafood industry provides 40 million daily meals of seafood, totalling 2.9 million tonnes, worth 510 billion baht to 150 countries worldwide each year.
Thailand one of the largest importers
Rortveit noted that Thailand is one of Norway's largest importers of salmon, trout, and Norwegian saba, with 10 years of consecutive growth since 2013. Norway exported 42,636 tonnes worth 9.37 billion baht to Thailand in 2022, up 46% in value and 9% in volume from the previous year.
"Thai consumers value quality products that have a food safety standard from a trusted country of origin. This makes Norwegian seafood a bridge that connects Norway to Thailand,” Rortveit said, adding that he expected the trend to continue this year.
To ensure growth, he said the NSC would continue its marketing strategy, which would include advertising via both television commercials and social media, as well as partnering Thailand's leading retailers to promote Norwegian seafood at the point of sale.
He revealed that a new television commercial featuring a well-known Thai artist would be released in August.
Targeting Thai cuisine
The NSC also intends to promote the use of salmon and trout in Thai cuisine by collaborating with a number of chefs, including Jimmy Chok, a “Seafood from Norway” ambassador chef best known for developing innovative recipes that combine Asian ingredients with western-style cooking.
Norway's Deputy Foreign Minister, Erling Rimestad, emphasised the uniqueness of Norwegian seafood by highlighting the country's stringent regulations and standards for sustainable ocean management for companies to follow.
He said that responsible management of marine resources is at the heart of the Norwegian seafood industry, and has been for more than a century.
Norway has transitioned from free fishing to strict regulations by learning from the past, he said.
“The goal for Norwegian aquaculture is to make healthy food more affordable for all, while reducing the impact of food production on the environment," he said. "Thanks to our ecosystem-based approach, we can provide access to quality seafood around the world, and the seas are healthier as a result."
Focus on food security
Rimestad's remarks came as countries around the world, including Thailand, are looking into the best ways to improve food security and ensure that people have access to enough safe, affordable, and nutritious food to meet their needs.
According to a recent Food and Agriculture Organisation report, 2.3 billion people, or nearly 30% of the global population, experienced food insecurity in 2021, with between 702 and 828 million people suffering from hunger. Nearly 670 million people are expected to be undernourished by 2030.
"Together with other food producers, we believe that Norwegian seafood can contribute to food security through providing high-quality and sustainable source of protein and that we will leave no one behind,” Rimestad said.