Image: WaSeaBi

Better utilization of the seafood industry’s side-streams

Food, fish and agriculture Food production Food technology

A European research project headed by the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, aims to develop technological solutions that can turn the seafood industry’s side-streams into a source of income. The project will e.g. investigate what is preventing fish processing companies from using their own side-streams to create new ingredients.

When Royal Greenland has finished filleting cod, the company currently throws out most of the off-cuts. The brine that Seafood Supply uses to make salted cod also ends up as waste. Both companies end up paying to dispose of these side-streams.

In a new four-year European research project called WASEABI, the National Food Institute will help develop methods and technological solutions that can turn side-streams into a source of income for companies such as Royal Greenland and Seafood Supply, as the side-streams contain e.g. protein and minerals that can be extracted and used as an ingredient in other foods.

And the potential is great: In total, the European fishing industry processes 5.1 million tonnes of fish annually, of which almost a third ends up as side-streams that are often either used as animal feed or become waste.

Possible barriers facing industry and consumers

In WASEABI, the National Food Institute’s experts will find out what barriers are preventing fish processing companies from using their own side-streams to create new ingredients. They will also investigate how consumers feel about eating foods that contain ingredients made from side-streams that companies have traditionally thrown out.

The institute will investigate how the side-streams must be stored and preserved before they are processed into ingredients in order to ensure a high level of food safety and quality. The institute will also develop processing technologies that can be used to extract protein and minerals, and to produce different food flavourings. Selected technologies will be scaled up to allow participating companies to use them in pilot plant scale and in some cases in full industrial scale.

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WASEABI is described in more detail in a press release from the project: €4 million EU project aims to ensure better utilization of the aquatic resources.

In the project, the National Food Institute is working with Royal Greenland, Seafood Supply, Højmarklaboratoriet and the Knowledge Center for Food Innovation, VIFU.

The National Food Institute's work on developing sustainable technological solutions in the project helps to support the UN's sustainable development goal of ensuring sustainable production patterns.


  • The EU’s fish processing industry has a combined annual turnover of nearly 28 billion Euro and employs more than 122,000 people.
  • In total, 13 partners from Belgium, Denmark, France, Spain and Sweden are participating in WASEABI.
  • The project has a budget of more than 4.1 million Euro and will receive almost 3.2 million Euro from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.