Fisk. Foto:

The waste from seafood to become the sustainable foods of the future

Thursday 12 Dec 19


Charlotte Jacobsen
Professor, Head of Research Group
National Food Institute
+45 23 27 90 75
In order to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we should utilize the ocean’s resources and create nutritional foods from the seafood industry’s side-streams, e.g. cod livers or off-cuts from fish fillets. The National Food Institute is looking beneath the ocean surface and is creating the foundation of the foods of the future.

The seafood industry’s side streams contain a great potential as a source for developing nutritional and sustainable foods or feed for animals. The side streams are those parts of the catch or the fish that are not utilized today, but are simply thrown overboard and end up as waste or are used in low-value products such as mink feed.

"The ambition is that the National Food Institute makes a contribution that – over the next ten years – will enable the industry to start, in earnest, to utilize the overlooked resources of the sea such as seaweed, microalgae, and residual products from fish so that we, in Denmark, can start producing new sustainable and nutrient-rich foods."
Professor and Head of Research Group Charlotte Jacobsen

The National Food Institute works closely with the fishing industry on finding solutions as to how the sustainable and nutritional foods of the future can be produced on a large scale and reach the consumers. 

The researchers are e.g. working to change the logistics in the production so that e.g. cod livers are not discarded but instead used for food.

Another example is to utilize residual products from the filleting of fish in order to extract omega-3 fish oils and use them as ingredients in health-promoting foods. Microalgae and mussels that are too small to be sold as food are also of interest when it comes to creating sustainable feed for domestic animals.

Read more 

Read more about the National Food Institute’s research into utilizing side-streams in the development of new foods in an article from the National Food Institute’s 60th anniversary publication: The waste from seafood to become the sustainable foods of the future.

The National Food Institute is celebrating its 60th birthday this year, as it was decided on June 5, 1959 to establish a national food institute in Denmark.

You can also read the articles: At the forefront of healthy, safe and sustainable foods.

The National Food Institute creates sustainable technological solutions

Studies suggest that the food consumption accounts for approximately 25% of the total climate impact per person. Reducing the climate and environmental impact of our diet requires new and gentler production methods that emit less CO2. In addition, the consumers must change the composition of their diet.

The vision of the National Food Institute is to make a difference by creating sustainable technological solutions – e.g. to ensure that raw materials are better utilized in order to avoid production waste and to utilize the production processes more efficiently, and to make it easier for consumers to choose sustainable, high-quality foods.

For example, the work of the Institute focuses on how food companies can recycle water safely, optimize food production and save on energy and CO2, and better utilize residual products from the production of food and feed in order to develop high-value products. Furthermore, mathematical calculations of the climate impact of foods is a new focus area within the Institute’s nutritional research.


Image: National Food Institute