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. 

Experts Weigh in on the International Restaurant Trends

Restaurants across the world are being impacted by similar consumer trends, but also experience unique challenges specific to their markets. With that in mind, we sat down with Shanna Munro, president and CEO at Restaurants Canada and Simone Galante, founder and CEO of Galunion Consulting Company in Brazil to discuss the topic of International Restaurant Trends and to see what they are seeing develop in their local industries.

As Munro points out 2018 was a record year for the foodservice industry in Canada. Sales hit 89 billion, which is a 5 percent increase compared to last year. 

However, she says this growth hasn't necessarily been driven by a surge in traffic. She attributes this to higher labor costs, food costs, utility rates, and operating expenses for operators who have had increase pricing for customers to cover some of these additional costs. 

But there has been some significant growth due to demographic & social changes.  

"The industry has actually doubled in size since 2000 in Canada. Canadians love to get out of their homes and connect with their family and friends. What better place to do so than at a restaurant? So the millennials and generation z has been leading that change, but at the same time, the stay-at-home economy is driving some of this change and driving delivery sales through the roof," says Munro.

In Brazil, the industry was optimistic for this year due to the new social climate. The recent presidential election was supposed to inspire some economic reforms. However, with the slow movement of the reforms, there's a lack of disposable income impacting the growth in the restaurant industry in Brazil. 

"We're going to have around 3 percent or 2.5 percent growth this year. Last year was just 1 percent. We are facing a lot of challenges in the foodservice market. We have a 12 percent unemployment rate and this rate hurts the foodservice opportunities," says Galante.

In Brazil, about 80 percent of restaurants are independents. Chains from other countries that have tried to penetrate the market have struggled. But Galante does point out that there's quite a bit of fast casual growth in the country. 

Watch the clip above to get more insights into these markets. Want the full video? It's available exclusively now for On-Demand members. Learn more about Foodable On-Demand now. 

Restaurant Industry Forecast with CEO of Firehouse Subs

It was a big week for restaurant industry professionals in Chicago. As usual, Foodable Network was on the ground floor talking to the greatest innovators in the foodservice sector. 

On Monday, we held the IO ChangeMakers live stream during the 2019 NRA show where we interviewed operators, chefs, and brand leaders "The Change Makers" to discuss the challenges and opportunities that are setting our industry up for success.

To kick off the event, we spoke with Don Fox, CEO of Firehouse Subs about what the future holds for the restaurant industry. 

Although there are countless headlines claiming that the restaurant industry is doomed, the industry's revenue has been on a steady incline over the last 10 years. The revenue in the past decade has increased from $379 billion to an estimated overall $863 billion in 2019 and this growth is being driven by millennials.

"They are just more inclined to add variety in their meal occasions. But I have seen reporting on an absence in brand loyalty in years past. The biggest brands are vulnerable to that. They are looking for a set of attributions and experiences that the largest brands can't provide. So that just pecks away at those large brands occasions," says Fox. 

Watch the video above to get a taste of this informative interview. 

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

How Seafood Can Improve Mental Wellness

In the U.S., one in five Americans suffer from mental health issues each day, which is over 40 million Americans. Almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Unfortunately, the mental health crisis has been on a steady incline.

Your diet not only makes an impact on your physical health but also on your mental health.

With that in mind, at the last Foodable.io event in Seattle, there was a panel solely focused on mental health and the role a healthy diet plays.

We gathered three nutrition experts including Linda Cornish, president of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership, Dr. Tom Brenna, director at Seafood Nutrition Partnership, and Lionel Uddippa, chef de cuisine at Salt in Alaska to see how a rich seafood diet, in particular, has been proven to help improve mental health.

Seafood has been shown to reduce symptoms of schizophrenia, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other mental disorders. Specifically, people who regularly eat fish are 20 percent less likely than their peers to experience depression. The American Psychiatric Association has even endorsed the fatty acids in fish as an effective part of depression treatment.

"The brain is fundamentally an omega-3 organ, it's richer in omega-3 than any other organ in the body...the effects of omega-3 EPA in depression specifically have been very consistent where those diagnosed with major depression using omega-3 rich oils have seen a consistent alleviation of symptoms," says Dr. Brenna.

Listen to the full podcast episode above to learn more about how seafood can make a positive impact on mental health and how the chef community can support itself and its customers through the food it serves.

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.