Reports

Branding Sea Urchin for the NPA (Northern Periphery and Arctic) Regions

Published:

01/04/2018

Authors:

Holly T. Kristinsson, Guðmundur Stefánsson

Supported by:

Northern Periphery and Arctic Program

contact

Guðmundur Stefánsson

Head Research Group Leader

gudmundur.stefansson@matis.is

Branding Sea Urchin for the NPA (Northern Periphery and Arctic) Regions

This report is part of the URCHIN project funded by the NPA Fund. The report describes the brand ideology and introduces ideas to have one common brand for sea urchins from the NPA (Northern Periphery and Arctic) countries. The report takes examples of others' good experience of using brands on expensive seafood, including sea urchins. Using a brand can be a good way to market sea urchins both in local markets (eg domestic) and in international markets. A company that acquires brands that gain favor with buyers and consumers can create a unique position and demand for branded products. In order for a brand to gain popularity, research is needed on potential customers to understand their needs and why they want sea urchins and what they expect from the products and the retailer, for example in terms of service. Without a brand, it is difficult to separate the product and the company from the competitors and their products. Today, buyers and distributors of sea urchins have no way of associating increased quality with sea urchins from the NPA areas where brands are lacking. Manufacturers within the NPAs should consider branding policies when marketing sea urchins; a brand that is either based on the image of the company or the product. In order to be successful in brand building, you need to consider consumer research, IP licensing, marketing and the return on investment.

To supplement the NPA Report, Markets for Sea Urchins: A Review of Global Supply and Markets, this branding report sets out to explain the concept and elements of branding. Examples of successful branding of sea urchin and other high value seafood products are highlighted. Considerations and steps to building a brand are also discussed and can serve as a basis for brand strategy. Branding can be a way of promoting NPA sea urchin both locally and in international markets. It could be a solution to reduce the generic, anonymous sale and distribution of NPA sea urchins to Europe and other global markets. Establishing and maintaining a brand can create demand and differentiate a company and / or its products from competitors. Currently, branding of sea urchin is untapped and thus, there is significant branding potential. A brand is the over-all customer experience. It is how consumers feel or perceive your company and what you should offer in terms of services or products. Understanding who the consumers are and who would buy sea urchin and why, will be key in building and launching a sea urchin brand. To establish a brand acknowledged and known by customers, there must be sufficient research and a clear understanding of the target audience. Without a brand, it is difficult to differentiate a product or company from a competitor. Today, distributors, food service companies, restaurants, and other customers do not have a significant way to attach added value to NPA sea urchin. A unified vision and branding platform are needed to add value to the sea urchin. A key starting point for the NPA partners will be to consider a corporate and / or product branding strategy. Consumer research, a brand strategy, IP investigation, social and media marketing, and assessing return on investment (ROI) are fundamental to building a successful brand. With these building blocks and aspects in mind, the NPA can decide whether branding is a right fit and a sensible approach to creating increased value for the NPA regions, sea urchin fisheries, and small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

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Reports

Markets for Sea Urchins: A Review of Global Supply and Markets: Seafood Market and Market Overview

Published:

31/10/2017

Authors:

Guðmundur Stefánsson (Matís) Holly Kristinsson (Matís), Nikoline Ziemer (Royal Greenland), Colin Hannon (GMIT) and Philip James (NOFIMA)

Supported by:

Northern Periphery and Arctic Program 2014-2020

contact

Guðmundur Stefánsson

Head Research Group Leader

gudmundur.stefansson@matis.is

Markets for Sea Urchins: A Review of Global Supply and Markets: Seafood Market and Market Overview

Global supply of sea urchins has decreased in recent years due to declining catches, or from about 120 thousand tons in 1995 to the current average annual catch of about 75 thousand tons. Catches from major fishing nations such as Japan, Chile, the United States and partly Canada have declined. Russia and Peru are fishing more than they did in 1995, but no new major player has entered the market. The market for sea urchins is very traditional as Japan consumes about 80-90% of the total world catch. Some countries that fish for sea urchins, especially in Chile, New Zealand and the Philippines, have a domestic tradition of consumption. In Europe, the use of sea urchins is also traditional, especially in the Mediterranean countries Italy, France and Spain. Due to growing migration within Europe, for example, there are groups of people who know sea urchins in many countries, so there may be small local markets in various countries, but sea urchins are also considered both unusual and exciting. There is probably a need in the Japanese market for good sea urchins at the right price, especially given that there is less supply in the market. There may therefore be opportunities for new entrants to the market, for example from the NPA (Northern Periphery and Arctic areas), provided that they find an efficient transport route to Japan and manage to ensure a stable supply of sea urchins of the right quality. However, it must be borne in mind that the return price will not be as high as in the European market (France), where transport costs to Japan are high, prices are lower for imported products compared to domestic ones and processing costs for sea urchins must be assumed for sale. For countries such as Iceland, Greenland, Ireland and Norway, the most obvious option is to look at the French market. French fishing is now small compared to landings in the period 1970-1980 and the supply of sea urchins from other countries, such as Spain, is small. In recent years, Iceland has successfully exported sea urchins to France and is now the largest supplier on the market. The market in France, on the other hand, is small or estimated at 350-450 tonnes of sea urchins on an annual basis. There may be a need for more quantities of sea urchins on the market at the right price as the market was larger in previous years or about 1,000 tonnes. Italy can also be an option, but care must be taken as a large proportion of sea urchins on the Italian market are from illegal or unauthorized fishing. There may also be opportunities for the sale of sea urchins to the local high-quality restaurant market in Europe, for example in Scandinavia, Germany and England. Although the market pays well, it is equally difficult when it comes to constant demand while the sea urchins are of the right quality during the season.

Worldwide the supply of sea urchins has diminished in the last few years, from the peak landings of about 120 thousand tonnes in 1995 to the current levels of about 75 thousand tonnes. The traditional harvesters such as Japan, Chile, US and to a lesser level, Canada, have all experienced reduced catches. Russia and Peru are supplying larger quantities to the global market than they did in 1995, but no new major entrants have emerged in the last few years. The market for sea urchins is very traditional with Japan consuming about 80- 90% of the total current global supply. There is a domestic market in many sea urchins harvesting countries, especially in Chile, New Zealand and the Philippines. In Europe, the market is also traditional and is mainly in the Mediterranean countries, Italy, France and Spain. Sea urchins seem to be novel and trendy and due to growing ethnic populations, small niche markets may exist in various countries, including those in Europe. There is likely an unmet demand on the Japanese market for good quality sea urchin products at the appropriate price, particularly with less current supply to the market. This may indicate options for a new entrant eg from the Northern Periphery and Arctic areas, if a logistic route from harvest to market can be economically established and high consistent quality product supplied. However, the value of this product will never be as high as in the European (French) market. This is due to the logistics of getting the product to Japan, the lower value placed on any imported product in this market and the need to add processing costs to product prior to selling in the market. For the NPA countries Iceland, Greenland, Ireland and Norway, supplying to markets such as France is the obvious choice; the production in France is low compared to the relatively high landings in the 1970s and 1980s and supply from other countries eg Spain appears small. Iceland has in the past years successfully exported green sea urchins to the French market and is currently the main supplier to the market. The overall French market appears however to be small, or estimated as 350-450 tonnes of whole sea urchins based on harvest and import figures. There may be an unmet demand on the market, assuming an appropriate selling price, as there are indications that the supply to the market has been about 1,000 tonnes in the recent past. There may be options to supply to Italy as well but care must be taken in export as a large part of the current supply in Italy may be from illegal or unlicensed fisheries. There may also be options to supply the apparent emerging high end restaurant niche market in various European countries such as in Scandinavia, Germany and England. Although this market may be lucrative, it is at the same time quite unpredictable when it comes to regular supply during harvest.

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Reports

The keeping quality of chilled sea urchin roe and whole urchins

Published:

20/09/2017

Authors:

Guðmundur Stefánsson, Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir

Supported by:

Northern Periphery and Arctic Program 2014-2020

contact

Guðmundur Stefánsson

Head Research Group Leader

gudmundur.stefansson@matis.is

The keeping quality of chilled sea urchin roe and whole urchins

Sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) are common off the coast of Iceland and are caught in small quantities and exported mainly as whole pots. Landings in 2015 were 280 tonnes. There are markets in Europe and Asia for sea urchin roe fresh, frozen or otherwise processed. In this study, the shelf life of fresh and pasteurized eggs stored at 0-2 ° C was assessed. The effects of freezing, both slow freezing (blow freezing at -24 ° C) and rapid freezing (nitrogen freezing) were studied as well as dextrin and alum treatment. It was also estimated how long the pots kept alive at 3-4 ° C were kept alive. The sea urchins were caught in Breiðafjörður with a plow and landed at Þórishólmur in Stykkishólmur where they were processed. Some of the sea urchins were opened, the eggs removed, cleaned and used in the experiments. Whole sea urchins were packed in plastic boxes in a similar way as when exported. The freshness characteristics of fresh sea urchin roe are the smell and taste of the sea, the smell of egg yolk and the taste and sweetness of the sea. The taste of pasteurized eggs was similar to that of fresh eggs but milder. In general, over time, the sweet, sea and egg yolk taste faded, but the metallic, kelp and chemical characteristics increased. The shelf life of fresh sea urchin eggs is limited by changes in texture - eggs dissolve and become unpalatable - and a shelf life of 0-2 ° C can be expected for one to four days. Sterilized eggs kept their freshness characteristics for at least 14 days and had a shelf life of 22 days or more at 0-2 ° C without any changes in texture. The freezing of fresh sea urchin eggs resulted in them becoming mushy during translation and there did not appear to be a difference between slow-freezing or rapid-freezing. After three months of storage at -24 ° C, thawed eggs developed a strong odor which rendered them unfit for consumption. Freezing pasteurized eggs had little or no effect on their texture or taste; however, after six months of cold storage, evidence of maladaptation was found. Aluminum treatment resulted in a strong odor that rendered the eggs unfit for consumption. The preservatives sorbate and benzoate resulted in a strong taste in the eggs and a metallic aftertaste, but treatment with dextrin did not appear to have much effect on sensory properties. All whole sea urchins were alive after 5 days from fishing but on day 9 one of the 18 vessels was dead but no damage was found. It can be assumed that a whole sea urchin stays alive at 3-4 ° C between five and nine days after fishing.

The green sea urchin (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis) is commonly found in Iceland and is currently fished and exported mainly as whole urchins. The catch in 2015 was 280 tons. There are markets both in Europe and Asia for urchin roe, fresh, frozen or processed. In this study the shelf-life of fresh and pasteurized sea urchin roe, stored at 0-2 ° C was evaluated. The effect of freezing (blast freezing and freezing in liquid nitrogen), treatment with dextrin and alum was evaluated on both fresh and pasteurized roe. Further, the keeping quality of whole (live) sea urchins at 3-4 ° C was evaluated. The sea urchins were caught in the Breidafjordur area using a modified dredge, landed at Thorisholmi in Stykkishólmur, cleaned and the whole live sea urchin were packed in the same manner as that for export. Part of the sea urchins was opened up and the roe removed, cleaned and used for the experimental trial. The freshness characteristics of fresh sea urchin roe were found to be sea odor & flavor, egg yolk odor & flavor and sweet flavor. The flavor was similar but milder in pasteurized beet. In general, with time the sweet, egg yolk and sea flavors seemed to decrease but metallic, seaweed and chemical flavors increased. The shelf-life of fresh roe is limited by changes in texture - the roe liquefies - as indicated by sensory evaluation and can be expected to be between one and four days at 0-2 ° C. Pasteurised roe had a freshness period of at least 14 days and a shelf life of 22 days or more at 0-2 ° C, with no detectable changes in appearance or texture during that time. Freezing of fresh roe resulted in a porridge like texture at thawing and no difference was seen between freezing methods, blast freezing and liquid nitrogen freezing. After three months storage at -24 ° C frozen roe had developed a strong off-flavor and were considered unfit for consumption by the panelists. Freezing of pasteurized roe did not change the texture or flavor of the roe; however, after 6 months of freezer storage, the roe had a trace of an off-flavor. Treatment with alum gave all samples a strong off-flavor which made them unfit for consumption. Preservatives (a mix of sorbate and benzoate) gave a strong flavor and a metallic aftertaste but treatments with dextrin did not have a considerable effect on sensory characteristics. All whole sea urchins were alive after 5 days from catch, but on day 9 from catch, one urchin out of 18 had an open mouth but no spoilage odor was detected. It is estimated that the shelf life of live sea urchins is between five and nine days from catch at 3-4 ° C.

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Reports

Experiments with the processing of sea urchin eggs

Published:

01/06/2013

Authors:

Jón Trausti Kárason, Ragnheiður Sveinþórsdóttir, Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir, Guðmundur Stefánsson, Sæmundur Elíasson, Stefán Freyr Björnsson, Aðalheiður Ólafsdóttir, Irek Klonowski, Ragnar Jóhannsson

Supported by:

West Iceland Growth Agreement

contact

Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir

Project Manager

kolbrun.sveinsdottir@matis.is

Experiments with the processing of sea urchin eggs

In this project, three experiments were performed with different goals. The aim of the first experiment was to examine the quality of sea urchin eggs and to test the rapid freezing of eggs with exports in mind. In the second experiment, branched dextrin sugars (Glico) and alginate were used to strengthen the outer layer of the eggs, the purpose was to find a substance that could replace alum to keep the eggs better from processing to the buyer. In the third experiment, the aim was to investigate whether it was possible to process sea urchin roe by heat treatment as a bulk product and also whether it was possible to separate the processing in time, ie. whether the pots could be opened and the roe packed in larger units so that they could be handled elsewhere than where the pots were opened.

In this project three experiments were undertaken. The goal in the first one was to explore the quality of gonads (sea urchin roes) and try to instant-freeze it for export. In the second experiment clusterdextrin and alginate was used to make the surface of the roes stronger. The purpose of that experiment was to find a substitute for alum for the gonads to keep their shape during the time from processing to buyer. In the third experiment the goal was to explore if it was possible to process gonads with heating in a large quantity and if it was possible to separate the stages of processing so tha the gonads could be collected and packed in one location, then further processed in another.

Report closed until 01.07.2016

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