Our partner Carlos Bald from AZTI presented SEA2LAND at the 51st Western European Fish Technologists Association (WEFTA) Conference, which took place in Copenhagen from 16th to 20th October 2023. The theme for this year was Sustainable utilization of aquatic resources: changing the way we seafood. AZTI presented a session that was called “Consumer awareness and perceptions of the use of fish processing by-products in bio-fertilisers production.”
Finding out the knowledge and current attitudes of people towards the use of fertilizers made from organic wastes and determining the main factors that may affect their acceptability in relation to organic production is critical to ensure the market uptake of plant products treated with biobased fertilisers produced with fish processing by-products. With this aim, an online consumer survey was done in the European countries represented in the H2020 SEA2LAND project: Spain, Italy, France, Estonia and Norway (n= 300 x 5). Southern countries appear as more prone to consume products treated with organic fertilizers obtained from fishery waste while northern ones seem less aware of and interested in organic production. the statement with which more people agree is that organic fertilizers are better for your health than artificial or synthetic fertilizers. The motivations towards the use of organic fertilisers appearing among the top four in all countries are common: the products are healthier for your health; they have lower environmental impact and are of better quality. However, the responses indicated that the ranking of the motivations differs between countries. On the other side, total consensus was found related to the barriers, where the main topics to cover to surpass them should be transparent communication, correct labelling, demonstrating that they do not affect product safety and taste and producing them at a competitive cost that does not increase the price of the products. As an overall conclusion, slightly different strategies should be considered when promoting BBF in different countries due to their different perceptions and expectations.
About the conference
WEFTA is the central platform in Europe for institutions engaged in fish processing, applied food science, aquaculture, seafood technology, health effects of seafood consumption and consumer studies. WEFTA aims at improving the safety and quality of seafood in and from the European and other markets through research within this area. Research activities of the WEFTA institutes are coordinated to the benefit of research institutes, the fishery industry, consumers, stakeholders and governments. The annual WEFTA conference is a valuable occasion for scientists, students and the seafood industry to meet and present recent research achievements and to share experiences. Besides, the conference constitutes an outstanding forum for discussions and networking.