The growing global demand for environmentally sustainable, natural, healthy food offers great opportunities for the New Zealand seafood industry, Seafood New Zealand Chairman George Clement says.

Speaking at the New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference in Wellington today, Mr Clement referred to the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) prediction that global food production will need to increase by 40 per cent by 2030 and seventy per cent by 2050.

Growth in global seafood production (3.2 per cent annually) continues to outpace population growth (1.6 per cent annually), he said.

“Nutritionally, seafood is part of the solution, not the problem.”

In addition, there is a growing middle class globally, especially within Asia.

“Customers in these high end markets increasingly want to know where their food comes from, whether it’s safe to eat and natural, how it was harvested and whether it comes from a sustainable source.

“These discerning and affluent customers are the most politically active, influential and the most likely to research what they are buying.”

That places New Zealand in a very good position, he said.

The challenge for the New Zealand seafood industry is rising to those opportunities by establishing a validation scheme under a New Zealand brand with four key assurances:

  • Natural – establish and extol the natural qualities
  • Safe – assured food safety standards so consumers can buy and eat with confidence
  • Healthy – establish and extol seafood’s health benefits
  • Sustainable – establish and extol our very low environmental impact.

 

The New Zealand seafood industry has experienced steady growth in exports since 2001 – 85 per cent of New Zealand seafood is exported.

“It’s not just about selling our seafood, it’s about promoting it and telling our story - our commitment to quality, sustainability, the environment and the exclusivity of our products,” he said.

Around 270 people are attending the New Zealand Seafood Industry Conference which has as its theme, New Zealand Sustainable Seafood – Adding Value.