The Spanish interprofessional fishing company celebrated the 1st edition of its “Fish, a source of healthy food” forum in Vigo, highlighting the importance of seafood in a healthy diet.
The Mediterranean and Atlantic diets are based on fish.
As a dietitian-nutritionist, Mª del Mar Silva explained the new “transient food” trend: speed, products ready to be consumed at any time, and less time in the kitchen. Nevertheless, she discovered that the more fish consumed, the better the dietary profile. Silva pointed out the great importance of using public policies because “people have to learn to eat and cook and need to be reminded to eat fish. ” That is why it is very important to share this message among the catering community (school canteens, business canteens, universities, etc.).
Guillermo Aldama, an interventional cardiologist at the University Hospital Complex of A Coruña, sent a clear message about fish being the source of a heart-healthy diet. He explained that by 2030 Spain is expected to be the country in the world with the longest life expectancy (85.8 years) and also a very high quality of life (92%): “We Spaniards live longer and better,” he said, and one of the secrets is the Mediterranean diet, which has fish as one of its pillars. “People on this diet have a 35% lower chance of dying from heart disease. The amount of fish consumed does matter and supplements do not replace fish. The more fish you eat, the lower the risk of suffering coronary heart disease”.
On her side, Rosaura Leis, president of the Spanish Federation of Nutrition (FEN) and expert nutritionist in pediatrics at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC), mentioned the concept of chronutrition: it is increasingly important when and how we prepare food and enjoy it. “Fish is a very important source of nutrients, energy, high biological value proteins, quality fats, vitamins, and minerals.” Leis also stressed that its consumption improves a woman’s fertility and sperm quality, as well as reduces the risk of premature birth. In terms of sustainability, the speaker explained how fish has one of the lowest carbon footprints (13%) and has no footprint.
Consumption: Uncertainty is the new normal
These were the words with which Marta Munné, head of ShopperView at AECOC, began her presentation. She specified that the consumer is more cautious: the current escalation of prices is unusual and the price is an increasingly important factor in purchasing decisions because the household economy has worsened. This causes priorities to be rethought ordered. “The concentration of purchases, speed, and proximity are re-valued more, and there is a greater tendency towards the packaging line”, where you don’t queue or see the amount you will pay directly on the label. He also explained that online shopping has become more established and more and more loyal.
Munné commented that “there is a revolution in the world of proteins. 36% of consumers have replaced part of the consumption of meat with fish. To encourage the consumption of seafood, the speaker broke down three levers to work on: sustainability, marketing (making the product accessible to the end consumer), and communication campaigns to the end consumer, so that they know the product and know easy and affordable recipes to prepare -ho.
José Luis Vaamonde, an expert in the economics and sociology of food consumption, pointed out that the decline in consumption “is a problem for everyone that must be solved by all. The fishing industry needs to wake up, it has lived in a comfort zone “. He also explained and assured how, since the disappearance of the Fund for the Regulation and Organization of the Market for Fishery Products and Marine Crops (FROM) during the economic crisis, consumption has decreased ”. The expert explained that companies compete with each other, but that they also compete collectively. Food is constrained by what we can eat biologically and, with these corsets, it grows in a zero-sum market by substitution. Vaamonde described the fish consumption situation in Spain as “dramatic”. He pointed out how the highest social classes have increased consumption while the lower ones have reduced it. The expert also emphasized the importance of children’s consumption and tried to deny that they do not like fish. He indicated that in 2007 they went to school canteens and discovered that fish preparations were not gastronomically attractive: “there was an attitude of rejection towards fish, to the point that the strategy of promoting consumption without solving quality problems seemed to be counterproductive” the speaker summed up.