Germany's fish fair 25 - 27 February 2024


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Growing interest in certified fish in commercial kitchens

Growing interest in certified fish in commercial kitchens

Survey by fish international indicates opportunities for the fish industry
Increasingly, chefs in commercial kitchens are turning to raw products from certified fisheries and sustainable production. This is revealed in statements by leading representatives of community catering in a survey conducted by the fish international. To make fish even more appealing to their guests in company and student canteens, residential homes and event catering, providers such as the market leader Deutsche See are adding convenience products to their already estalished sustainable offerings. Among the factors that hold back the consumption of more fish in canteens is not only cost pressure in many commercial kitchens. Additionally, chefs continue to be wary of the work involved in preparing fish products and presenting them appetisingly on self-service counters. All these issues will be tackled at the fish international trade fair from 4 to 6 September 2022 in Bremen, Germany.

Broad range from one fish dish per week to one per day
Due to its recognition as a healthy food, fish is featured increasingly on the menus of canteens, event caterers and other large-volume consumers. In the survey by fish international, especially large providers of community catering expressed a willingness to use more fish in their kitchens. For example, the Lufthansa subsidiary LZ Catering stated that it regularly tries to offer at least one fish dish per day in the canteens it serves. In the Fraport canteens in Frankfurt, the airport catering service provides fish twice per week, with Friday always a fish day. Similarly, Deutsche Bahn Gastronomie, a certified provider of meals according to the JOB&FIT initiative, serves fish once or twice a week.

It's an open secret that many caterers in the large-volume consumer sector operate under extreme cost pressure. Naturally, managers of canteens in large companies also need to keep an eye on costs. However, because the quality of the midday meal is an important component of corporate motivation strategies, more and more companies are prepared to pay good prices for good food. Fish can benefit from this, because many company bosses have recognised that quality and price are closely connected.

Growing sense of responsibility for origin
In parallel to the growing interest in sustainability among the public, large-volume caterers are increasingly aware of their responsibility for the origin of the produce they sell. For example, the large-volume caterer Aramark states that it only uses ASC or MSC-certified raw ingredients. Because sustainability is also about aspects such as the carbon footprint in the entire supply chain, Aramark is also keen to buy more ingredients regionally. The central purchasing department of Bayer AG holds a similar view and increasingly considers supply distances in its overall calculations. If distances to producers in the Netherlands or Belgium are shorter, some companies buy there rather than from German suppliers. Many large customers would like to buy from local suppliers, but sometimes a regional fish supply is not available.

Commercial kitchens need guidance on buying the right raw produce
Due to the framework conditions in many commercial kitchens, the idea of sustainability is still relatively new. The answers from the survey indicate that large-volume consumers need guidance to help them select appropriate products. Today, certifications such as the ASC and MSC are well established. If they want to buy non-certified products, many of the respondents stated that they follow the purchasing guidelines issued by environmental protection organisations such as the WWF or Greenpeace.

When it comes to fish and sustainability, many large-volume customers rely on the competence of major suppliers in Germany. Deutsche See draws on a long history of focusing on sustainability. As early as in 2010, the company received the German Sustainability Award for its activities in this area. The fish processor is also committed to developing new products suitable for commercial kitchens. The company in Bremerhaven not only develops new taste creations, but also deals with practical aspects of fish preparation. According to their analysis, one reason why fish is still underrepresented in commercial kitchens is that fish dishes often require more complex preparation.

Convenience products reduce workloads on kitchen staff
As a rule, community caterers have to provide large quantities of meals in a short time. However, cost pressure on many canteen operators means that staffing is tight. In company canteens, finished meals sometimes stay on the counter for a long time. But guests expect especially fish to look fresh and just-cooked. To ensure consumers find appetising fish products in canteens, Deutsche See also relies on convenience products which are fast and easy to prepare, such as frozen fillet on a bed of vegetables. This gives even small kitchen teams the freedom they need to concentrate on side dishes such as rice and potatoes.

New product developments also reflect consumer trends such as the growing interest in healthy eating. Despite this, battered saithe with potato salad remains one of the most popular classics in canteens. However, even when it comes to tradition, changes are afoot: Friday remains the standard fish day in Germany, but Deutsche See has established that "Tuesday is the new Friday".

Covid pandemic drives new distribution channels and more service
The effects of the Covid pandemic have also illustrated how the communal catering industry is ready to embrace new developments. The move towards working from home left many canteens empty. It took a while, but then canteen operators responded to the new situation. Lots of company canteens set up their own collection or delivery services and supplied employees at home with meals they could heat up themselves. Now many in the sector expect demand for services like this to continue even after the end of the pandemic. This is why companies in the fish industry would do well to develop products in this area to secure their own future.

Growing interest in certified fish in commercial kitchens

fish international…

  • gives traders a platform where they can gain information on what's new in the German market and get a good overview of the fish industry.
  • offers a varied and individual assortment of fish to give traders ideas for achieving better market positioning.
  • presents a concentrated display of machines and technical aids and appliances for SMEs.
  • shows a broad spectrum of counter concepts for fishmongers and mobile fishmongers that is only to be found in Bremen.
  • gives you time to talk to other fish industry members so you can discuss ways to perfect your everyday work.

fish international – that is over 10,000 sqm of exhibition space for more than 320 exhibitors from 27 nations. Experts from the fish industry, wholesale, retail and gastronomy visit the fish fair to find suppliers, inform themselves and to exchange ideas.

gastro iventGASTRO IVENT, which usually takes place in parallel, will now be organised in January 28-30, 2023 as a Special Edition separately from fish international. In 2024, we plan to return together again.