Finless Foods attended The 10th anniversary of The National Fisheries Institute’s Global Seafood Marketing Conference (GSMC) last month in Orlando, Florida. GSMC’s conference is a place where various sectors within the seafood industry can come together to hear market forecasts, gain insights on factors affecting the industry, and hear how to plan proactively for successful outcomes given market uncertainty. Equally as important, this conference was a time to meet with industry to discuss business priorities and have dynamic discussions with experts in the seafood space.
Let’s dive in to learn more by chatting with our new Policy & Impact Manager, Lauren Latchford, who attended the conference on behalf of Finless.
- What sessions that you attended stood out and why?
While at the conference, we attended both the Opening and Keynote Plenaries which proved to be extremely valuable. In the Opening Plenary, a panel of seafood experts explored consumer behaviors, supply chain innovations/difficulties, and how restaurants have had to pivot during the pandemic. The panel also dove into how younger generations are driving the consumer trend to eat more sustainably sourced seafood, and how food retailers should expand their seafood programs to provide information to feed into the consumer awareness and demand. In particular, colleges and universities have seen an uptick in students seeking more sustainable food options in their dining halls — and we are here for that!
The Keynote Plenary provided the Top 2022 trends for the seafood industry, which included a consumer push for more sustainable packaging, and a focus on zero waste processes. It also touched on the major reasons why consumers order seafood at restaurants: Above all, taste was the number one reason why people choose seafood, and we couldn’t agree more. Though, the top consumer consideration when choosing seafood at a restaurant is its expense. These trends were extremely helpful to hear as Finless continues to develop its products.
- Why is GSMC helpful for the alternative seafood industry?
The GSMC conference is important to the alternative seafood industry because it features a wide range of topics on trends and preferences in consumption, as well as data on dining. These trends and data points help attendees understand what appeals to consumers and how to meet their needs. Finless Foods was able to walk away with a more keen understanding of the industry and how it is shifting in 2022. Additionally, the conference gave us a chance to educate distributors, processors, and restaurant groups on the rapidly developing cell-cultured seafood industry, as well as Finless Foods’ cell-cultured bluefin product and the upcoming launch of our plant-based tuna product.
- What value add did GSMC provide for Finless this year?
Attending the conference was invaluable for Finless in being able to start the conversation with NFI members on the developing cell-cultured seafood seafood industry, and that our alternative seafood products are another way that the seafood industry can diversify supply and consumer choice. We were able to build relationships within the industry, and discuss how alternative seafood companies can be a partner in providing an additive product to meet the increasing demand for sustainable seafood.
- What provides you the most hope for the future of the industry or ocean, etc.?
Trends indicate that consumers want to know where their food comes from and they want to know that what they’re eating is sustainable. Finless Foods finds it great that trends are pointing to consumers caring about seafood sustainability and that sustainable seafood will continue to be a consumer trend well into the future.
- What challenges has Covid presented?
There were many discussions around how consumers are purchasing seafood. Because of the pandemic, consumers initially purchased more seafood from grocery stores and prepared it at home, however, that trend is shifting back to dining, as more people go back to restaurants. Keeping this in mind, operators need to focus on the top trends of consumers, such as providing more sustainable seafood options, and being sure to highlight this information on packaging and menus. In addition, giving consumers a variety of seafood choices will lure them to choose seafood or seafood alternatives while dining out. As supply chain issues continue to cause headaches for seafood imports, it is also important for companies to focus on providing local, sustainable seafood to consumers.
- What are you looking forward to most for NFI 2023?
The NFI conference is the seafood conference that provides a snapshot of industry trends and consumer values for the entire year. It is also the conference where the seafood industry comes together to share ideas and learn from others. Finless Foods had a great time building relationships at GSMC 2021 and we look forward to continuing to educate ourselves (and others) on the alternative seafood industry. We want to continue to have a place in the landscape to build awareness and make sure alternative seafood is supporting the industry in market challenges. Finless Foods looks forward to strengthening our relationships and attending NFI’s 2023 conference in Palm Springs, CA. See you there!
We will also be in attendance at the Seafood Expo North America in Boston from March 13-15. If you’d like to meet with one of our team members, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us through LinkedIn or through our website.