Quick and easy recipes are fast becoming the norm in Italy – and seafood dishes are no exception. At least, to judge from the selection on display at Europe's largest food fair in Milan.

Oven ready, ready-to-eat, easy-to-prepare, fast, simple, healthy and sustainable. This is the main impression you´ll get as you stroll through the vast exhibition areas at Tutto Food in Milan.

The fair, which started earlier in May, is considered to be Europe's largest food fair where innovation and new consumer trends are highlighted. Here you get a glimpse into the future, into foodie trends and innovations that are on their way to the market. In Milan, manufacturers, wholesalers and the food industry present their products to visitors from all over the world. Buyers and sellers’ close business deals and hatch plans to market their products to trade and retail customers.

"Naturally, Norwegian seafood needs to have a visible presence here”, says Gunvar L. Wie, representing the Norwegian Seafood Council in Italy.

Innovation Norway organized a joint stand together with the Norwegian Seafood Council and the Norwegian Embassy in Italy. Norwegian exporters were also represented here.

“This fair has become an important international arena where seafood is gaining real prominence”, continues Wie.


Norwegian seafood exporters at the exhibition stand at Tutto Food in Milan.

More exports via other countries

Italy is Norway's fourth largest export market for salmon. Annually, the Italians consume around 135,000 tonnes of Norwegian salmon. Of this, 70,000 tonnes are exported directly.

The rest are exported from Norway to Italy via so-called further processing countries. Here, Norwegian salmon is processed into, ready-made meals, fillets, sushi packs, for example, or may have marinades and spices added to make it quick and easy to prepare. According to Wie, the proportion of salmon that is exported from Norway to Italy via other countries has increased from just over 30% to around 40-45% within a few years.

”This means that our export figures confirm the trend we see at the fair: Now Italians are also interested in finding new ways to make food easier and quicker to prepare. Processed products are also increasing significantly, he says.


Norwegian seafood was highly visible at Tutto Food. Large advertising boards and videos were displayed in the entrance areas to the exhibition.


What the customers want

At a food fair in Italy, there is of course plenty of delicious Parmesan cheese, locally produced olive oil, pizza, tomato sauces, pasta in all shapes and sizes, and sticky cakes that often look far better than they taste.

But you don't have to have taken many steps on the exhibition floor before you come across a number of examples of what the exhibitors say customers want: healthy, sustainable food that can be quickly turned into a meal. Whether that meal is pasta, meat, vegetable, fish or shellfish based.

Angelo Nichetti in Copromar shows off some of the ready meals they offer Italian consumers.

The seafood producer Copromar specializes in a range of flavored products from species such as salmon, cod and swordfish - dishes that you can put straight in the oven and make yourself.

"That's what the customers want", says Angelo Nichetti in Copromar.

The producer also imports whole dried fish from Norway, rehydrates them, and removes all bone materials.

"This is how the customers want it", repeats Nichetti.

Massimo Monti at bacalao producer Monti says the same.

"Customers do not want to spend a lot of time on preparation. That's why we hardly sell whole fish anymore", says Massimo, the fourth generation of the Monti family to work in the company.

Instead, clip fish and salted fish are delivered to customers fully rehydrated and packaged into serving portions – ready for the pot!

At Mowi's trade fair stand, Marco Cardarelli presents a number of ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat varieties of Norwegian salmon for the Italian market, processed in Poland. It could be fillets on cedarwood grill planks that can be placed directly on a hot grill, marinated fillets with cooking bags to preserve flavor and juiciness, and salmon fillets with modern spice blends and flavors from distant regions.

"Our best seller is the salmon fillet with red curry", says Cardarelli.


Marco Cardarelli from Mowi presents a wide selection of salmon products: Flavoured salmon in many varieties, in addition to the classic smoked salmon and various sushi and sashimi varieties.

More to choose from

If you take a trip to a large Italian supermarket, it's almost as if the food speaks to you, abundant, tempting, fresh and delicious. The selection is large and the varieties many - because all Italian regions have their own local recipes for the same dish.

In a short time, customers have also had more to choose from when it comes to seafood.

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Gunvar L. Wie at the fish counter in an Italian supermarket where they advertise: "Try our seafood products - ideal for quick and easy meals".

"What used to be mainly fresh or frozen seafood in its natural form has become ready meals: frozen mixes that can be heated with the pasta sauce, or marinated fish dishes that can be put straight in the oven - as we have seen at the fair", says Gunvar L. Wie.

And Wie believes the trends at the fair show that what we see in stores today is just the beginning.