Seafood Trends & Sustainable Salmon Farming Practices

According to Foodable Labs data, seafood consumption is up 49.2 percent in consumer mentions year over year. 

But nowadays, consumers want to know where their seafood is coming from. But that isn't always easy for an operator to learn. That's why they depend on finding suppliers who are making sure to keep accurate records of where they are catching their supply of fish. 

On the recent IO Change Makers live stream Foodable Network held in Chicago, we sat down with Moises Del Rio, the general manager of Verlasso’s U.S. operations. 

Verlasso is a leader in the fishing industry due to the company's sustainable salmon farming practices. Del Rio and his team take a hands-on approach and are out in the field meeting with chefs, distributors, and restaurant teams regularly to drive awareness about the quality of the salmon from Verlasso and where it is sourced. 

"Our farms are located in these remote areas where there's literally no population, there's nobody, you have to go to the middle of nowhere to see these farms. So the salmon grows in an area where there's no interference... this allows the salmon to swim with a lot of freedom and develop in the right way," says Del Rio.

Watch the clip above to get more insights on how the company is sourcing its salmon responsibly and then how Verlasso shares this information with their customers. 

Want the full video? It's available exclusively now for On-Demand members. Learn more about Foodable On-Demand now. 

Sustainability-Focused Brands Share Best Practices

Thanks to today's technology and data analytics, we are well aware of the impact we have on our environment. But knowledge is power.

Brands across the country now have teams dedicated to improving sustainable practices, all committed to a larger mission to reduce their carbon footprint.

At the Foodable.io Seattle event, we sat down with three sustainability experts– Jessica Myer, environmental specialist for Ste Michelle Wine Estates, Julia Person, sustainability and manager for Kona Brewing, and Nelly Hand, founder & and fisherman to learn about each of their roles and how their brands are providing eco-friendly solutions.

But to make sure that sustainable practices are being universally used within a business isn't always easy.

"As we grow as a company and our sustainable practices are actually coming into fruition, our biggest challenge is that our locations in eastern Washington and Oregon are very rural, so we don't have access to the recycling seen in Seattle or Portland. The city of Walla Walla (in Washington) doesn't have any glass recycling, which seems insane. But we have to find innovative ways to get our products recycled," says Myer. "Another thing is the plastic challenge. We are having to sometimes paid to recycle our plastic now, which is not necessarily sustainable for a business but we want to make sure we're doing the right thing."

This movement encompasses much more than recycling. There's water conservation, alternative power sources, fishing techniques, and harvesting practices– that all make an impact on our planet and its resources.

Listen to the full episode above to learn more about how these brands are looking for new ways to be more eco-friendly, while also closing the loop on consumers demands around full sustainability and responsibility from all sides.

What is the Real Cost of Protein?

With headlines published in the media like "Two-Thirds of the World's Seafood is Over-fished" and "Science Study Predicts the Collapse of All Seafood Fisheries by 2050," what is really the state of the ecosystems in the Earth's oceans?

Will we deplete the ocean's resources in the near future? or do we have time to make adaptions to ensure the vitality of fisheries?

At the Foodable.io event in Seattle, Foodable Host Yareli Quintana sat down with Dr. Ray Hilborn, professor of Fishery Sciences at the University of Washington who has been researching the topic of conservation and quantitative population dynamics of seafood for the last eight years.

Hilborn starts out by pointing out that there a two environmental challenges when it comes to seafood supply.

First, it's the substantial fuel used to catch the fish, which generates carbon foot and then, the impact on biodiversity. As specific fish populations continue to be caught, this is changing the ecosystem of the ocean.

The seafood conservation expert also clears up a common misconception that our ocean is being depleted.

"Within the last 20 years the abundance of stock has really turned around in many places, there are certainly exceptions where that's not true though," says Hilborn.

But that doesn't mean that chefs shouldn't be concerned about what fish product that they are serving.

Each type of seafood makes a different impact on the environment. For example, Maine lobster generates a lot of energy to catch, while sardines, oysters, and mussels, on the other hand, make a really low impact.

Oyster and mussels feed themselves and most of the environmental cost comes from feed production.

Then there's the problem of food waste, which is a challenge for restaurants, but more so, for consumers eating at home.

"One of the big issues of fish and food, in general, is waste. Globally, about 30 percent of food is wasted. In rich countries like the U.S., that's mostly at home...So it's important to be more careful about making sure you buy what you need and use it," says Hilborn.

Watch the Seafood Talk Session above to learn more about the sustainability, research and management practices that are being worked on and adjusted every day in order to do right by nature and to feed the masses.

Land Locked Chefs Explore Alaska Seafood

Sustainable seafood has become a hot topic in the restaurant industry and beyond. But what exactly is sustainable seafood and why does it matter?

We are excited to announce the second season of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen & Bar, in partnership with Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, to bring you the most comprehensive conversation ever around seafood at the center of the plate!

In this episode of the Seafood Season, we feature Kevin Hermann, chef de parte at Cure in Pittsburgh, Pensylvania. Chef Hermann has a passion for farm fresh and sustainable ways of cooking and is hoping to return to the Culinary Institute of America as an instructor to continue to pass on the craft and knowledge of sustainable cooking.

Chef Hermann creates a crispy Wild Alaska Pollock Roll as well as his take on a rillette using Alaska Pink Salmon. You can catch the full episode on Foodable On-Demand and Coming Soon to Amazon Prime.

Ensuring the Vitality of our Fish Supply for Years to Come is a Group Effort

It has become more important for restaurants to be socially responsible when it comes to serving seafood.

To ensure the vitality of our fish supply, we need to evolve our relationship with the ocean’s resources.

But how can suppliers and operators work together to achieve this common goal?

At our recent Foodable.io event in Seattle which was focused on the topic of seafood sustainability, we sat down with Jennifer Bushman, director of sustainability at Pacific Catch, Kami Couch, a filmmaker/fisherman from Alaska, and David Nichols, executive chef at Rider to discuss how each in different roles of the seafood supply process are making a sustainable impact.

Nowadays, consumers want to know where their protein is coming from. But to deliver this information, it is a group effort between supplier, distributor, and operator.

"For us, it's about making sure we know what's coming, holding our suppliers' accountable, watching it every day, training our staff because staff training is so exceptionally important, and then what the James Beard Foundation and others are calling 'storied fish,' which is when we close the loop with the marketing and engagement we have with the consumer so that we can tell those stories on the ground," says Bushman.

Then it's up to the operator to collect as much accurate information about the fish as possible and to pass it on to the team.

"This is still a very new movement, it's been making huge strides in the last few years and it's only going to continue to get better. On my end, it's about training my staff," says Nichols above.

By operators and chefs making an effort to better educate their customers and partners, this will only continue to give life to the sustainable movement.

Watch the full episode above to learn more about how we can improve our relationship with this vital ocean resource and some of the helpful apps out there revealing seafood sourcing information for chefs and consumers.