The effect of future salmon farming
In the first guest speaker presentation, Rabobank’s Gorjan Nikolik highlighted key dynamics of the salmon industry, from a gradual rise in raw material prices in recent years, to the potential impact of unpredictable events such as the coronavirus.
Nikolik spoke about the impact a potential rise in salmon farming – both offshore and land-based – might have on the industry, while emphasizing how difficult it is to predict whether the business case for this alternative supply will prove viable. “If there’s a positive scenario there in the next five years – if! – then this will have a huge impact on the salmon industry,” he said.
The continuing rise of robotics
In a double presentation on robotics, Kurt Nielsen, Director for Robot Technology at DTI, spoke about the range of robotics in processing – from simple ‘cobots’ that people can easily interact with, to highly intelligent robots that can make sequences of decisions and complex movements. Innovation Program Manager at Marel, Adalsteinn Viglundsson, then talked about the work Marel is doing to further develop robotics for food processing.
Robots installed in the food industry per year now number in the thousands, driven by their ability to accommodate the need for flexibility, and help meet challenges such as labor availability, ergonomics, food safety and higher yield and efficiency.
“But we’re not talking about 100% automation, about removing the people altogether,” Nielsen explained. “Robots are not a replacement of humans, but a tool to improve the productivity of people. It’s about collaborative technologies.”
Both Nielsen and Viglundsson discussed the importance of joint development of robotics technology, and stressed that the conversations need to be happening in board rooms too, not just on the factory floor. Staying ahead of the competition is as much about having a solid robotics strategy as it is about having the latest toys available.
The third and final guest speaker, Gonzalo Campos, from Sealed Air Food Care, provided insights into salmon retail trends and tactics. Campos said that only 5% of fresh salmon being produced today is retail packed, “And that leaves a very big opportunity!”
He said there are more options than ever before to increase the proportion of salmon retail products in the consumer’s basket. “And it’s no longer just about ‘convenient products’ – it’s about being healthy, having premium presentation, easy cooking – such as microwavable – and meeting consumer demand for fish making up a higher percentage of the protein intake.”
A continuing transformation
As the 2020 Salmon ShowHow drew to a close, the high volume of energetic conversation in the foyer at Progress Point was testament to the success of the event. Guests and Marel experts discussed the new concepts, emerging technologies, future directions, and when they could meet to take the next steps.
The exchange of conversation and business cards continued well into the evening, with most attendees coming together for a dinner celebration in the evening. Sigurdur Olason, EVP Marel Fish, addressed those attending: “It has been an excellent day, and the progress will continue thanks to the ongoing conversations taking place right here with you, our customers. Together, we really are transforming the way salmon is processed.”