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Trend barometer for the fish industry. Fish international: Huge interest in the first in-person trade fair in two years.

MESSE BREMEN is set once again to be the meeting place for the German and European fish industry when it presents the ‘fish international’ in early 2022. From Sunday 13 to Tuesday 15 February 2022, trending topics such as aquaculture and sustainability will be on the agenda along with innovations from producers, retailers and the catering and hospitality industry. Parallel to the only German fish and seafood trade fair, MESSE BREMEN will also hold GASTROIVENT, which represents the north-German restaurant and hospitality sector. It provides a forum for the latest developments in hospitality, catering, canteen catering and the hotel sector.

Climate protection increasingly important

Every two years, the fish international reflects the current hot topics in the international fish industry. Right now, the focus is on various aspects of sustainability. Climate protection is rapidly growing in importance. “This is an issue important along the entire chain from raw produce sourcing through production and retail and up to the consumer”, emphasises Sabine Wedell. Many companies have already developed practical approaches to reduce their carbon footprint. “Anybody in the industry who has questions in this area will definitely find information and potential partners to help them go forward”, says the project manager at MESSE BREMEN responsible for the fish international.

Another major topic is the use of recirculating systems in aquaculture. This is why one focus at the fish international is land-based production and the technology required for it. Recirculating systems are an important way of achieving sustainable raw production, but they require a well-planned concept and a greater acceptance by government and the approval authorities. MESSE BREMEN has integrated a forum with discussion rounds and presentations in the exhibition hall. “This will ensure short paths for participants, but also underline the importance of the issues for a sustainable future”, says Sabine Wedell. Another challenge in the industry highlighted by the project manager is the development of vegan alternatives to fish products using plant-based proteins. “Even though fish and seafood remain our core competency, we must actively look at the development of additional, plant-based products.”

Opportunity for face-to-face contact

Since the fish international 2020, most members of the industry, in which personal contacts play a big role, have only been able to see each other virtually. That has fired interest in the first in-person meet-up for two years. Five months before the start of the trade fair, more than 70 percent of the exhibition space is already booked. “We’ve noticed a clear sense of optimism in the industry, and the exhibitors can’t wait to finally talk to customers and business partners in person”, says Sabine Wedell. The significance of the fish international as a meeting point for the fish industry has built up over 30 years. The 2022 trade fair has already attracted more interest than ever. The most important comparable show in Europe, the Seafood Expo Global, will permanently relocate from Brussels to Barcelona next year. According to the project manager, “The fish industry, especially in the Scandinavian countries and eastern Europe, is now even more focused on Bremen”.

New exhibitors on board

The increased importance of the fish international is reflected in a number of new exhibitors. One of the largest is Pickenpack Seafoods. The expert for private-label frozen products is a major partner for food retailers and the restaurant and catering sector as well as a broad range of large-volume consumers. Other new participants range from wholesalers such as Zeelandia van Belzen to importers such as H&F Handelskontor and the Asian specialist E.W.A. Wessendorf, right up to young companies like 68° Noord King Crabs, which imports king crabs and other products from Norway. The list of exhibitors also provides an overview of the future-oriented topics at the fish international. Companies such as FRESH Völklingen from Saarland, Kingfish Zeeland from the Netherlands and HanseGarnelen based in Glückstadt/Schleswig-Holstein will showcase their high-end seafood products farmed on land and report on their experiences with sustainable aquaculture.

Once again, the trade fair in Bremen is also attracting growing interest abroad. Among the new exhibitors are salmon producers Empreseas Aqua Chile and Seaborn as well as, on a joint stand, several companies from the Canadian province of New Brunswick which specialise in particular in lobster, oysters, snow crabs, shrimps and salmon. The organisers of the fish international have also gained new exhibitors from Turkey. They include farming and processing companies such as Abalioglu Su Ulunleri Gida Tarim (gilthead, sea bass, trout and meagre), as well as manufacturers of components for aquaculture systems. For example, Vasg Composites and Fatih Polyester located near Izmir produce tanks and containers made of fibre-glass-reinforced plastic. Arde Makine from Bursa develops and manufactures sorting solutions for fish and frozen products.

The perfect place for a complete market overview

As always, many companies will represent their home regions on joint stands. Traditionally, they include companies and organisations from Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven. The fish international will also feature national pavilions representing fishing countries such as Denmark and the Netherlands. “All this makes our trade fair the perfect place to gain an overview of the market, meet new people and intensify personal relations”, says Sabine Wedell.

Parallel to the fish international, MESSE BREMEN will hold the GASTRO IVENT, north-west Germany’s trade fair for catering and hospitality as well as large consumers. The connections between the two areas have made this joint presentation a great success. The popularity of seafood in restaurants, at events and in canteens has been increasing for years. Thanks to a carefully designed hygiene concept, the two trade fairs will feel hardly any different from the pre-pandemic shows. The concept was developed in close cooperation with the health authorities in Bremen and will be constantly updated according to the current pandemic situation. “Exhibitors and visitors can be confident that we ­will take the very best precautions to protect their health in our exhibition halls”, says Claudia Nötzelmann, the Unit Director responsible for MESSE BREMEN’s trade fairs.

More information at: www.fishinternational.com

Photo source: M3B/[author]