Seafood demand expected to increase by 14 percent by 2030

Posted: 2 October 2023 | | No comments yet

A report has predicted that the global demand for seafood will surge by 14 percent by 2030 despite 85 percent of the world’s fisheries being “pushed to or beyond their limits”.


The global demand for seafood is expected to increase by 14 percent by 2030 in spite of a “looming seafood shortage”, according to McKinsey & Company research.

The management consultant company has found that, while there is likely to be an increase in seafood demand in the coming years, more than 85 percent of the world’s fisheries are “currently pushed to or beyond their limits” and “restrictions on fish farming mean that traditional seafood supplies cannot keep up with demand”.

This data has been published in a report titled ‘The next wave: Alternative-seafood solutions,’ and used analysis to pinpoint five popular species as “prime candidates for substitution by alternative seafoods”. These include: shrimp, tilapia, tunas, salmonids and lobster.

The report notes that tuna is the third biggest seafood market and is 99 percent wild-caught, due to being the most difficult to farm, something that makes it “highly attractive for alternative production”. However, McKinsey & Company have pointed out that alternative seafoods also have a lower carbon footprint as they can be produced locally, with the report finding that tuna alone has a carbon footprint at the retail level of 0.8 to 0.9 kilograms of CO₂ per kilogram.

Looking at how to meet demand while not overworking fisheries, McKinsey highlighted that cultivated, fermentation-based, and plant-based products as being three primary production options that “offer promising alternatives to seafoods due to their similarities, high historic investment and market readiness”.

In fact, the report went on to note that plant-based alternative seafoods “face the least regulations and lowest barriers to market entry”, having already achieved a price of just $12-20 per pound in the US.

Episode 28 – Sustainable seafood

“Alternative proteins have previously focused on chicken, pork, and beef yet seafood has a competitive advantage over meat as it often sells at a higher price. Premium or super premium cuts of bluefin tuna range from $40 to $200 a pound which is a much easier price for alternatives to hit than $4.99 a pound for ground beef,” Anders Milde Gjendemsjø, Associate Partner at McKinsey.

“Alternative seafoods are also greener to produce, can include the benefits of omega-3s without the high mercury levels in fish and aren’t restricted by fishing quotas or farming licenses,” continued Gjendemsjø.

Also commenting on the report, Tom Brennan, Partner at McKinsey explained that the findings indicate how alternative seafoods “could help sustainably scale the industry and reduce pressure on fisheries while expanding access to proteins.

“Yet they face significant challenges in lowering production costs to levels comparable with fish and mirroring the wide variety of taste and texture. Innovating to improve taste, nutrition and cost is fundamental to achieving wider distribution and reducing pressure on sea and freshwater ecosystems,” concluded Brennan.

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