Can people’s perceptions about seafood and sustainable diets be changed over the course of three weeks? That is the theory behind the unique campaign being launched by the Norwegian Seafood Council in the UK this June.
A Sea Change is coming –to Letchworth
The 11th of June marks the start of the three-week long campaign, Sea Change, which aims to do just that – encourage a sea change for seafood’s role in sustainable diets.
“This is a pilot project quite unlike any other activity we have undertaken as the Norwegian Seafood Council. While sustainability is an important pillar of our communications, we have never before invested strategically in a campaign where sustainable seafood is the main focus,” says Anette Grøttland Zimowski, Head of International PR at the Norwegian Seafood Council.
The location is Letchworth Garden City, the first garden city in England, about 45 miles from London with approximately 20,000 inhabitants. The choice of this small inland town may seem an odd one for a seafood campaign, but Zimowski believes it is the perfect base to create waves for seafood in the future of food debate.
“Letchworth is a typical English town with a strong community spirit and green heritage. We wouldn’t be able to pull off this project on a major scale, but we can make a big splash in a small pond. We know that Brits generally only eat about half of the recommended amount of seafood, and Letchworth will be no exception. The town is also twinned with Kristiansand in Norway, which adds that extra connection to Norway,” Zimowski says.
Seafood is invisible in the sustainable debate
“Throughout the campaign we will run a wide array of activities in this area. By sharing knowledge, enthusiasm and inspiration, we will spread the word about sustainable seafood being not only good for your health, but also for the planet,” says Zimowski.
Although the campaign’s main activities are in Letchworth, Zimowski hopes that the Sea Change messaging will spread far beyond the borders of Hertfordshire.
“The local activities are only part of the campaign. We would like to use Sea Change in Letchworth as a springboard for making seafood more visible in the wider, currently very polarized, debate about sustainable diets. The future of food isn’t just a battle between meat and veg, there is definitely room for blue in a green diet,” she says.
Norway’s responsibility as a major seafood nation
The world population is increasing, and the effects of climate change are impacting how much food we can produce. According to the United Nations (UN), we need to produce 70% more food to meet dietary needs by 2050. Land-based agriculture cannot meet these requirements alone, so we need to look to alternatives.
The oceans can provide the solution: leading scientists claim our oceans could potentially produce six times more food than they do today.
Unfortunately, seafood makes up a very small part of most diets, and in many western countries, seafood consumption is experiencing a decline.
“Seafood fits perfectly with several consumer mega trends we see at the moment, such as sustainability and health, yet is more often than not forgotten when people talk about the foods we should be eating.
“As a major seafood nation, Norway has a responsibility to do what it can to lift sustainable seafood into the wider food debate. The world needs to eat more sustainable foods from the oceans, and we are testing out new ways of getting this message across with this campaign,” Zimowski says.
Children and families are key to change
Over the course of the three-week campaign, a range of activities will happen in the Letchworth area, touching the whole community in pubs, chippies, chef’s school, the local media and local primary schools. The campaign will also draw on ambassadors such as Michelin starred chef Simon Hulstone and celebrity chef Lisa Faulkner, as well as leading nutritionists to drive the messaging.
“Getting kids to enjoy fish is a key goal, and it is actually not as hard as many think. Involving families and children, and inspiring them to learn more about cooking fish and why it is good for you, is key to this project,” says Zimowski.
Inspired by the successes of the national seafood educational programme in Norway, Fiskesprell, Sea Change is working with school meals expert Kate Snow to deliver seafood themed educational cookery lessons in local schools in Letchworth.
“In addition, we have a whole street of families in Letchworth taking part in a challenge to increase their seafood consumption and knowledge over the course of the campaign period. We are super excited to see how they get on, and to learn from their experiences along the way,” Zimowski says.
For more information about the campaign and specific activities, please see: www.seafoodfromnorway.co.uk/se...
•High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy: U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization - https://www.reuters.com/articl...