8 takeaways from the IFFO Annual Conference 2019 in Shanghai, China – day 1

 

Opening session delved into the industry’s contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, new B2C distribution channels, the shrimp market in Asia, IFFO RS’ scheme and blockchain.

1. China – world’s biggest fish meal market

IFFO's President Eduardo Goycoolea opened this year’s IFFO Conference by welcoming the 403 delegates attending from 41 countries. Goycoolea updated the audience on the most recent figures regarding the fishmeal and fish oil sector in China: biggest fishmeal market, with 1.8 million tons usage last year and second biggest fishmeal producer country in the world with 520 000 tons last year. China also positions itself as the largest aquaculture as well as total feed and aqua-feed producer in the world. The future will involve a substantial growth of by-product usage for fishmeal production and an increasing rate of seafood produced by aquaculture, from 50% today to 62% by 2030 (FAO).

2. Collaboration and communication on the true value of marine ingredients are key to drive positive change

IFFO's Director General, Petter M. Johannessen, highlighted the industry’s contribution to feeding the world’s population, which will reach 8.1 billion by 2025. The frame conditions surrounding IFFO and the marine ingredients market are changing rapidly. This calls not only for an increased focus on perception but also for a shared responsibility to communicate the true value of marine ingredients throughout the food production value chains. While contributing to feeding a growing population with protein, the industry addresses the need for more collaboration: IFFO will bring its members into dialogue with the whole food supply chain and will provide educational background on the industry’s work and initiatives.

3. China's rise has transformed Asia and supply chains worldwide

Jamil Anderlini, Asia editor at The Financial Times, delivered an in-depth analysis of China’s spectacular economic rise, funded by huge waves of investment and technology transfers from advanced economies, and especially the United States. While China has the second largest share of military spending after the United States, its signature foreign policy “The Belt and road initiative”, announced in 2013, has a strategic element. But Anderlini said that “China as an economy is far more reliant on exports than the United States. The tradewar between China and the United States is happening at an awkward time for China”, whose economy has been funded by debts, which has been accumulated much faster than both Japan and Korea’s.

4. The industry's contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, and especially to SDG14 (Life below water)

H.E. Peter Thomson, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean, demonstrated SDG14's special relevance to the industry's core interests: conserving and sustainably using the Ocean's resources. He said that "fishmeal and fish oil provide a direct connection between fisheries and terrestrial food production. They are currently essential ingredients in feed for the pig and poultry industries, as well as for aquaculture, providing nutritional benefits that are not yet available from other ingredients. As such the sector has a positive role to play in meeting other vital Sustainable Development Goals pertaining to eradication of hunger and poverty.”He called for a fisheries production system whereby wastage is eliminated and congratulated IFFO for creating the Global Standard for Responsible Supply (IFFO RS) ten years ago, contributing to a vision for a world in which all marine ingredients are from responsibly sourced fisheries and produced in a safe manner.

5. Internet has brought a revolution into the distribution channels of fresh seafood

Charles Wu, Managing director at Mowi Asia, explained how online shopping had become easy and convenient to access fresh seafood products. China is the largest e-commerce market in the world and is also the birthplace for new retailers, like HEMA, owned by Alibaba, combining all experiences: e-commerce suppliers, fresh supermarkets, restaurants and convenient stores. They have changed the way traditional brick and mortar are doing business.

6. Persisting low shrimp price

An outlook of persisting low shrimp price was provided by Jennifer Kuo from Grobest Group Ltd. This is due to shrimp production recovery surpass the growth of shrimp consumption following disease outbreaks, which remain the main concern in Asia. "The average price is lower in Asia than in South America” she said.

 

7. Blockchain can increase trust and transparency towards all stakeholders throughout the value chain

Magnus Jones, Tax technologist at EY, started his presentation saying that “blockchain is not a magic tool. It is an infrastructure which can enhance time and cost savings”. Based on his experience of creating the world’s first blockchain verified wine, he explained that the platform is now available for the fish industry as well and enables the stakeholders to track the fish along its supply chain.

8. IFFO RS will change its name in 2020

Back in the 2000s, when IFFO RS was created by IFFO, there was a need for reassurance on sustainability and traceability. IFFO RS became a separate entity to IFFO in 2014. Bringing more clarity to the way the industry interacts with certification holders has become a necessity. It is the purpose of IFFO RS’ rebranding campaign. In 2020, the new name will convey the value that IFFO RS, as a certification holder, brings to its stakeholders: trust in marine ingredients from a production facility.

 

The sponsors for this event include Coland, Intertek, Haarslev, Dupps, SGS, Sifang, Blueline Foods, and Teampower.