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EU Surimi Forum: Russia's surimi plans are rattling the market

IntraFish's Demi Korban is reporting live from Madrid, where the EU Surimi Forum 2019 is taking place.

Day Three - Surimi drives strength


Thursday, Sept. 26, 9.33 am CET

Flounder surimi is the way to get stronger

The latest studies of protein content in surimi shows that it has a strong relation to muscle growth and could be used as both a functional and medicinal ingredient, South Korean Juju National University researcher Youjin Jeon said during the last day of the EU Surimi Forum in Madrid.

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Day Two - Is it time to replace the fish in surimi with beans and peas?


Wednesday, Sept. 25, 15.38 pm CET

New flavor ideas that mimic the taste

Swiss manufacturer of flavors, Givaudan, invested more than CHF 2 billion (€1.8 billion / $2 billion) in new acquisitions to find natural solutions to mimic the taste of flavors.

The companies acquired include Spicetec, Activ, Vika, Naturex and Centroflora.

"Innovation means that you need to create something new, but that doesn't have to be created from scratch but through re-thinking about your product," Givaudan top-role Sylvain Jouet said in the EU Surimi Forum in Madrid.

The three pillars the company is focusing on include the survey of global trends, flavor creativity and chef's inspiration.

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Wednesday, Sept. 25, 15.00 pm CET

Amino-acids to replace phosphates in surimi?

Japan has been using phosphate as a key element in surimi-making since the beginning, however, markets such as France and the United States criticize its usage, Surimi School Founder Jae Park said.

"Globally, our surimi industry doesn't have a standard identity forcing to use particular amounts of sugar or particular amounts of phosphate," Park said.

The element is used to keep pH levels neutral and to inhibit enzymes that could toughen the texture of the product.

As a result, one element increasing in popularity is arginine, an amino-acid which is more consumer-friendly.

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Wednesday, Sept. 25, 12.38 pm CET

Surimi learns from Japan's glorification for tomatoes

Using lycopene extracted from tomatoes to color surimi products can increase the chiller cabinet shelf life exponentially, Tammi Higgins, head of the Color Global Business Unit for US-based Lyroced, said during the EU Surimi Forum in Madrid.

Previously, the industry resorted to carmine extracted from insects and paprika for coloring.

The company learned from Japan the many benefits of using lycopene.

"They use a lot of tomatoes for the color of surimi because it has a lot of recognition in the Japanese market," Higgins said. "They take advantage of it and also use it on the packaging because consumers really get it."

Currently, there is a growing opportunity to apply the health value of tomato based coloration in Europe, where consumers' key purchasing is driven by limiting meat consumption to encourage environmental sustainability and for their overall health as well.

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Wednesday, Sept. 25, 11.45 am CET

Will pulses make it to surimi?

Just recently, IntraFish Executive Editor John Fiorillo discussed the repercussions of an explosion of plant-based "seafood" items blazing retail stores, and today Institute of Food Science, Technology and Nutrition's (ICTAN) Javier Borderias talked about the possibilities of using pea/bean flour or pea/bean protein isolate in creating surimi products.

As the food industry moves towards promoting products with more anti-oxidants and fibers, pea seems like the source to go to with, however, Borderais brought up two main problems with including the ingredient in surimi: color and flavor.

The color could sway to yellow when adding pea protein isolate or pea flour, a color that is not ideal for making surimi products, Borderais said.

However, another pulse, beans, is under the microscope as a possible ingredient to make surimi a more sustainable alternative to animal protein.

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Wednesday, Sept. 25, 9:42 am CET

The newest technologies for better quality control

Surimi School Founder Jae Park discussed the processes of creating better surimi gel in each of the essential steps, be it salting, smashing, stuffing, heating and cooling.

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Day One - Market updates and the trend for promoting surimi as healthier


Tuesday, Sept. 24, 17:30 pm CET

Nissui's work on reducing salt has both pros and cons

Japanese seafood giant Nippon Suisan Kaisha (Nissui) has introduced technology to reduce salt in fishery products by 30 to 50 percent to get closer to the World Health Organization's salt recommendations.

The company uses umami (a Japanese word for a savory flavor), salt substitutes and salt-boosters, Nissui's Shohei Kaneuchi said during his presentation at the EU Surimi Forum in Madrid.

However, adding a salt substitute such as potassium chloride increases bitterness, which is why Nissui blends it with a component in parsley that could mask the bitter taste.

Reducing salt has some negatives though such as losing flavor, but it also increases gel strength as well as shelf life.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 17:15 pm CET

The industry needs sensory experts

Humans judge products based on sensory information. And consumers can be taught what to like through sensory analysis, AgriTech's Jean-Marc Sieffermann told attendees at the EU Surimi Forum on Tuesday in Madrid.

"You are not mentioning chemical properties within the products, instead you have to interact with the human body," he said. "I can make people like anything from a sensory point of view because pleasure is built in the brain."

Sensory analysis is very important for everyone in the industry whether in research and development, marketing or quality control, he said, but it's also important to correlate the subjective (consumer preferences) with proper measurable tools and analysis.

However, measurements need to be strong enough to be interpreted and comparable.

The industry needs to formulate and describe the product by using individual experts such as perfumers, flavorists, and chefs to help push for consumer preference, Sieffermann said.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 16:30 pm CET

Surimi is healthier than the media makes it to be

When produced properly, surimi seafood contains health benefits that could steer away diabetes by controlling insulin release, drive down blood pressure, suppress the growth of cancer cells, and improve memory, said Jae Park, the founder of the Surimi School.

Pollock surimi is also shown to be low in fat and significantly high in omega-3 EPA and DHA, give processors the ability to develop health-conscious products.

These products include BCAA-enriched crab sticks and collagen-enhancing surimi to improve the skin and more.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 15:30 pm CET

Surimi is not just fish, but forex, energy and sugar

Primary commodities dominating what has been happening with surimi prices are sugar, corn, tapioca, lumber, and oil.

All these commodities play a big role in the production of surimi products.

If you look at all the movements of commodities over the past few years, they all follow the movement of the dollar, Pacific Blends Vice President Cam Wells said.

Some interesting patterns include the volatility of sugar due to huge campaigns pushing for reduced sugar consumption, which is keeping demand at bay. Corn is undergoing upward pressure on prices not only due to weather issues but also the depressed trade war between the United States and China, which rippled in Europe. Tapioca is no longer profitable for farmers with the price of the raw material going up.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 15:00 pm CET

China brings more surimi to the dining table; away from crabsticks

Chinese processor Anjoy is working on adding value to surimi by combining it with either an animal protein or a vegetable protein to create products such as fish balls, dumplings, fish noodles and other varieties.

The company has a current annual capacity to produce about 430,000 metric tons of frozen foods worth CNY 4.3 billion ($605 million).

However, China is also faced with several problems, Anjoy Technical Manager Ye Weijian said. These problems include reduced fish stocks, increased costs, low utilization of raw materials and by products, and the difficulty of treating wastewater.

The company remains optimistic because chilled products are starting to pick up especially with demand increasing from the catering service, which will soon materialize in consumption figures.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 14:45 pm CET

Surimi tariff quotas take a shock from Brexit

In the next two years, surimi tariff quotas will be around 60,000 metric tons per year at zero duty for product entering the EU, but just for the frozen forms used for processing and human consumption, said ADISUR Delegate General Pierre Commere.

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Also, the Common Market Organisation (CMO) for fisheries and aquaculture products may experience some changes in 2022.

Due to a more stringent approach, the Food Information Regulation will require products are labeled with catch origin by April 2020.

The EU-Fisheries Control Regulation will also focus on traceability and forbid the blending of different fish species together.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 14:15 pm CET

Russia dominates EU surimi Q&A session

Pacific Seafood Surimi Category Manager Brendan McKenna posed a question that was on the minds of lots of folks at a Q&A session: "What's new in Russia?"

"The change is volume," Future Seafood Founder Pascal Guenneugues said. "Investment in production in Russia has no precedent because not many vessels actually had processors on board...[and] not much incentive to produce."

The new vessels are an attempt to replicate what has been done in the United States, where the ability to shift production and follow market trends has been a huge advantage.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 13:15 pm CET

Alaskan pollock prices at a standstill

The prices for Alaskan pollock saw little change between A season and B season this year, for the first time in three years. Processors increased prices of pinbone-out (PBO) blocks by $150 ($€136 per metric ton to arrive at average prices of around $3,600 (€3,270) per metric ton.

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"US processors could not increase prices further anymore this year, which means it has reached its peak," Future Seafood Founder Pascal Guenneugues said.

This comes after tension in the market at the end of 2018 due to lower inventories combined with a short supply of surimi in the high season.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 12:30 pm CET

Tropical fish surimi market rides the supply and demand wave

Tropical fish surimi production is expected to remain stable this year, increasing from 480,000 metric tons to about 500,000 metric tons in 2019.

Adjustments in the surimi market depend on tropical fish surimi production. If surimi prices go up, the processing factories in Southeast Asia increase their demand for fish, calling for more intense harvesting until production can surpass general demand in the market and inventories build up, Future Seafood Founder Pascal Guenneugues said.

Once the processors stock up, prices begin to go down again and fishing effort and landings naturally dwindle.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 11:30 am CET

World surimi production stable

Global surimi production is expected to flatline in 2019 at about 820,000 metric tons, however, there are several shifts as you drill down into the individual fisheries.

US-produced Alaska pollock surimi production may go down this year to around 200,000 metric tons, from 207,000 metric tons last year, because of a weaker catches, despite the quota being at its highest level at around 1.55 million metric tons.

What is also driving it down is the increased demand to produce fillets and blocks, Future Seafood Founder Pascal Guenneugues said.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 11:15 am CET

Russian surimi production to make a comeback in 2023

The Russian government is endorsing the surimi market by giving companies willing to invest in processing value-added products very strong incentives, Future Seafood Founder Pascal Guenneugues said during his presentation.

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The comeback will surface starting 2023 because between 15 and 20 new vessels are under construction in Russia and the quota is at its highest level.

“This will certainly affect the pollock surimi prices and impact the market in the coming years,” Guenneugues said.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 10:45 am CET

Spain stabilizes, surimi not so much

Even though the country has stabilized economically over the last four years, the decreasing population is driving down surimi seafood consumption in Spain, Angulas Aguinaga Director of Marketing and Innovation Mikel Grande said.

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“Producers should pick up on the trend and continue migration from frozen products to refrigerated because it is perceived as healthier," the executive said.

The reputation for crab sticks as being the “sausage of the sea” is pushing household penetration and prices down.

“This is not good context given that we need to produce good quality products and promote the healthier image,” Grande said.

Surimi producers must keep three trends in mind when approaching the Spanish market, Grande said:

1. Consumers have a willingness to buy products that are more gourmet

2. The popularity of ready-made meals is growing due to busy lifestyles

3. Healthy labels such as decreased fat and gluten free are becoming more important.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 9:45 am CET

Indian surimi producers struggling

Several challenges are in the way of surimi production in India, including the ongoing taxation crisis between the fishmeal industry and government, Ulka Seafoods' Jalindar Rohakale said.

Heavier rains and skyrocketing prices for other value-added products such as shrimp are encouraging fishermen to catch the popular species over surimi.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 9:37 am CET

Thailand sees upturn

Thai surimi production rose for the first time in many years and is expected to reach about 60,000 metric tons compared to 55,000 metric tons last year, said Jae Park, who was on stage representing Andaman Surimi Managing Director Anucha Techanitisawad, who was unable to attend.

Thai exports are expected to increase 10 percent despite a slowdown of intake from the two larger importers, Korea and Russia.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 9:17am CET

Alaska pollock fishery experiences slowdown

The last Alaska pollock season was slower than usual, said Jae Park, one of the organizers of the EU Surimi School.

The United States has produced 172,259 metric tons of surimi as of Sept. 7, down from more than 200,000 metric tons at the same time last year.

However, total allowable catch of Alaska pollock -- the most commonly used species for surimi -- rose 2.4 percent in 2019 to 1.4 million metric tons.

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Tuesday, Sept. 24, 9:00am CET

All about surimi

Welcome to the EU Surimi Forum, taking place over the next three days in Madrid, where industry leaders talk surimi production and commodity updates.

The event is sponsored by Viciunai, Pacific Surimi, Multivac, JP Klausen and more.

Keep checking back here to get all the updates from the event.

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