BIM's Seafood Development Centre Invests in New Technology to Add Value to Irish Seafood

The Deighton Line

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the development agency for the Irish Seafood Sector, is leading the way in assisting Irish Seafood companies to develop innovative added value seafood products. BIM’s custom built Seafood Development Centre (SDC) based in Clonakilty, Co. Cork has recently invested in reformed and breading technologies as the abundance of pelagic, whitefish, and other fish and shellfish species on our doorstep, presents a considerable opportunity to produce convenient, market-ready concepts for industry.

Pictured is the new Deighton Commercial Forming and Breading line in BIM’s Seafood Development Centre.

15 July 2014

Sampling breaded seafood

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the development agency for the Irish Seafood Sector, is leading the way in assisting Irish Seafood companies to develop innovative added value seafood products. BIM’s custom built Seafood Development Centre (SDC) based in Clonakilty, Co. Cork has recently invested in reformed and breading technologies as the abundance of pelagic, whitefish, and other fish and shellfish species on our doorstep, presents a considerable opportunity to produce convenient, market-ready concepts for industry.

Sampling breaded seafood: Pictured is John Fagan, BIM’s Senior Technologist leading a product sampling showcase at a recent workshop in the SDC.

The Irish Seafood Sector is worth €810 million and Irish seafood is in great demand on our key International markets. To meet continued consumer demands and to remain competitive, the Irish Seafood sector must constantly stay up to date in relation to new technologies. The SDC provides up to €1 million worth of technology and access to a team of experts to assist companies to develop new innovative seafood product before committing to any capital expenditure

The Irish Seafood Sector is worth €810 million and Irish seafood is in great demand on our key International markets. To meet continued consumer demands and to remain competitive, the Irish Seafood sector must constantly stay up to date in relation to new technologies. The SDC provides up to €1 million worth of technology and access to a team of experts to assist companies to develop new innovative seafood product before committing to any capital expenditure

BIM are currently involved in industry-trials using a newly-acquired Deighton forming and breading line and are testing multi-matrix combinations of fish, binders, breading and coating systems. Market data is being used to reverse-engineer successful product concepts and to develop bespoke product offerings for target consumer groups and multiples. The innovation centre engage closely with Irish ingredients and international ingredients suppliers including Healy Ingredients, Dutch Protein Services (NL) and Kerry Ingredients (IRL) to ensure product concepts can be developed for small to medium production systems and larger-scale production lines. An experienced Seafood Technologist is on-hand to advise companies on processing and ingredients selection and in-factory trials are ongoing.

John Fagan, Senior Technologist, BIM explains “We have received a large amount of queries to date regarding forming and breading technologies for whitefish and shellfish species. In response to industry requests, we have secured a commercial forming, breading and flash-frying line from Deighton, UK and this is backed-up by a Baader 600 meat separator so we can look at both whole-fillet and recovered meat products across a wide variety of species. We found that by using a Baader 600 meat separator, up to 4kg or previously unused and unavailable seafood flesh can be recovered from 10kg of previously discarded material e.g. fish frames. This meat is of high quality and can be used as raw material to develop value-added reformed products”.

The SDC is involved in commercial trials combining such meats with binders, flavours and toppings to develop reformed fish cakes, nuggets and other convenience products. An important dimension of the project is to test new concepts using commercial-grade equipment and develop market-relevant, scalable new concepts for industry.

The centre is heavily involved in optimising processing and formulation protocols for individual and combinations of ingredients. Previously underutilised fish species including Blue whiting and Boarfish are being explored as an abundant source of raw material in combination with more mainstream fish species. “The challenge is to combine highly nutritional fish species in a way as to deliver maximum flavour, texture and quality for target markets and to use the abundant fish species we have access to in combination with highly nutritional and healthy clean label ingredients”, added Mr. Fagan.

Blue whiting recovered meat present considerable potential as cost-effective raw material which can be used as stand-alone or in combination with more expensive fish species (e.g. Cod) to develop high-end, high fish content products. Industry feed-back to date is highly positive and a recent workshop held at the SDC attracted 10 large-players from the Irish seafood sector to discuss best approach in terms of markets, equipment and cutting-edge ingredients technologies. Working prototype products were tasted and discussed with equipment and ingredients suppliers and a series of in-factory trials are due to commence in coming months with interested parties whereby market-data will be used to reverse-engineer concepts for targeted market groups and price-points.

BIM is constantly scanning the horizon for viable, near-market technologies to ensure industry is up-to-speed with international developments and to allow quick uptake of new technologies on the factory floor. All trials are conducted with industry-partners to ensure commercial practicability and contacts are constantly being sought with equipment and solutions providers to further explore relevant technologies for the Irish seafood sector via the Seafood Development Centre.