Since early times, seafood has been recognized as a healthy food choice for humans. Fish or other seafood is an extremely perishable food that requires correct processing and conservation to extend its shelf life and preserve a nutritional value and desired condition. Seafood by-products also carry a vital part in daily life. With growing demands for high nutritional value foods, the focus has been raised to manufacture new seafood by-products from marine resources.
According to the research reports by MRFR, the Seafood Processing Industry is likely to cross a market size of over USD 3.15 Billion by 2027 while registering a robust CAGR of approximately 5.97% during the assessment timeframe from 2020 and 2027.
What Is Seafood Processing?
Seafood processing refers to preparing seafood for delivery to customers post-harvesting, including canning, freezing, eviscerating, and packaging the product. It deals with all the aquatic organisms captured for commercial uses, whether harvested from fish farming or aquaculture or caught directly from wild fisheries. Bigger seafood processing firms usually run their own farming operations or fishing fleets. The seafood products are mostly sold to intermediaries or grocery chains. Seafood processing acts as a link to get the natural resources directly in the market and add extra value.
Seafood processing can be further divided into the primary processing of raw seafood, fish handling, and the production of seafood products. The primary processing of raw seafood includes freezing and filleting fish for further distribution to the catering outlets and fresh fish retail. And the second stage, the production of seafood products, includes the manufacture of canned, frozen, and chilled products to be distributed to the catering trades and the retail markets. The seafood processing is carried out by skilled fishermen, fish processing vessels or onboard fishing, and seafood processing plants.
Type Of Processing:
The core concern in seafood processing is to prevent the deterioration of fish. The most common method used in seafood preservation is to keep the fish alive till it's ready to be eaten or cooked. For a very long time, the Chinese market was the only one to achieve this using the aquaculture of carp. The list of some other seafood preservation methods includes:
- Ikejime method to kill fish and maintain its quality
- Withdrawal of oxygen
- Use of ionizing irradiation or microwave heating to control microbial loads physically
- Temperature controlling with freezing, refrigeration, or ice
- The addition of acids to control the microbial loads
- The use of water activity by freeze-drying, salting, smoking, or drying
In seafood processing, mostly more than one of the above methods are used. When frozen or chilled seafood products are transported by different mediums, including air, sea, or road, the low temperature should be maintained throughout. The transport of processed seafood requires insulated transport vehicles or containers equipped to maintain adequate refrigeration. Nowadays, containers with a perfect blend of controlled atmosphere and refrigeration are available for such operations.
Apart from this, seafood processing also adds extra value to the products and correct waste management. Waste products generated during seafood processing can be of two types such as liquid and solid.
- Solid waste: This type includes carcasses, fish heads, viscera, and skin. Solid waste can be treated as municipal waste or recycled in fish meal plants.
- Liquid waste includes brine and blood water from water discharges from cleaning and washing and drained storage tanks. The processing of this waste depends on the contents of the waste.
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Current Market Trends:
As the COVID-19 pandemic has spread, the demand for ready-to-eat food has skyrocketed. People are becoming more and more concerned regarding the hygiene and safety of the food products they buy. This has boosted the demand for packaged food products across the globe. With rising demand and growing competition worldwide, the market players are actively trying to stand out in the global market. For instance, Gulf Island Shrimp and Seafood, a Louisiana, U.S.A.-based company, in January 2022, announced the acquisition of DoRan Seafood, a seafood processor selling to the retail industries and food services.
Not only are the developed economies experiencing a growth of the seafood market, but in developing economies, there has also been an upsurge in demand for seafood products. The players in these regions are making massive investments to meet the growing demand on a regional and global level. For example, in December 2021, Pakistan disclosed a massive investment of over PKR 6 billion, i.e., approximately USD 33.6 million, to develop climate-resilient shrimp farming across the nation. Imdadullah Salar, Pakistan Fisheries Development Board Director, said that the money would be made available by the National Agriculture Emergency Program. The initiative will allow the participation of several stakeholders in the industry, including the feed mills, shrimp processing plants, shrimp farms, research centers, and shrimp hatcheries.
Apart from this, numerous players in the market use technological innovations to stand out in the global market and grow their consumer base. For example, a Canadian startup has started using QR-tags to work on seafood traceability. It enables tracking of the product's journey back to its starting point and state who handled it and how with the help of special QR-tags. Another innovative method used by a US-based seafood processing firm includes packing the seafood and pre-packed sauces, enabling lower preparation time. All of these trends in the global market are likely to cause a surge in the market over the coming years.
The seafood processing industry plays a vital role in attaining self-reliance on fish. Seafood processing helps to prevent any wastage and extends the self-life of extremely perishable fish. The industry acts as strong support to the nation's economy. The seafood processing industry behaves as a bridge between the fishermen and the retail customers, offering the latter an income source for living. As a result, entire port town economies rely on the seafood processing industry for their financial survival. With the growing demands and rapid technological advancements in the sector, the industry will likely emerge as one of the fastest-growing markets globally.
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