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In the framework of FishFermPlus, an EU-funded project, a natural fermentation process for safe and sustainable fish products has been developedwhich should be launched on the market in 2016. The objective was to upgrade high-value yet commercially unusable fish cuts for markets with or without a cold chain.

 

Bremerhaven, May 2015. To date, certain fish cuts cannot be used - due to standardized sizes - in a way which complies with their quality. As a result of the interaction of regulations and lack of technical know-how, above all small and medium-sized enterprises loose a valuable source of income. A solution could now be found through innovations developed in the FishFermPlus project co-funded by the EU. Thanks to a new fermentation process and downstream processing steps, there are now additional areas where this valuable raw material can be used.

 

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With the help of food technologists at ttz Bremerhaven in cooperation with all project partners, the value chain of the enterprises involved in the project was significantly extended: “Amongst others, we developed a salmon mousse which can be used for pasta fillings, pizza toppings or as the basis for sandwich spreads. This makes it possible for manufacturers to raise the economic efficiency of fish processing”, says Annika Gering, Project Manager at ttz. At the same time, using all the raw material meets the requirements of a sustainable process. This is extremely important in view of limited marine resources and the goal of a sufficient and balanced protein supply at global level.

 

New fermentation process has potential for markets without a continuous cold chain.

 

At the heart of the development is a new fermentation process which allows for innovative new products. It is based on the utilization of what are known as starter cultures, which are also used in the production of yoghurt. For fish as a raw material, uncontrolled natural fermentation is to date mostly known, such as is used in Asia. The advantage of the process developed within the FishFermPlus project is the controlled creation of specific sensory characteristics which give the product a special and unique taste. Tasting trials have confirmed this and shown a high level of consumer acceptance. In addition, natural substances are formed through this type of fermentation which guarantee product safety and extend shelf life without artificial additives. Results indicate that even storage at room temperature could be possible which makes the product interesting for markets without a continuous cold chain.

The industrial project partners are currently preparing these novel products for market introduction, which is expected in 2016.

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