Week 11 of school has ended and it feels surreal to me that we are almost done with semester 1 of year 1. Wow.
In one of my first few posts, a classmate commented and asked if anything was done to unsold seafood – whether they are turned into other forms of food or just thrown away. This led me to research a little about upcycling seafood and hence, today’s focus (though it’s not entirely related to my blog’s theme, I thought that I would share some interesting things that I found).
Firstly, we all know that food is a finite and precious resource, and we should definitely not waste food. According to a news article on Today, an average Singaporean household discards an equivalent of 52 plates of nasi lemak per annum. The amount of food waste in Singapore increased by 30% over the past 10 years and 76300 tonnes, equivalent to 54000 double-deck buses of food waste, were generated in 2018 (source). That is A LOT.
Moving over to supermarkets, which is where most of us get our seafood, food waste in the form of unsold food is a huge problem (source). Supermarkets face pressures from both sides. They need to maintain an image of abundance to customers through fully stocked shelves which can aid in boosting profits. Thus, overstocking is usually the de facto method despite the issue of food wastage.
‘It makes more economic sense for a store to overstock and then throw away unsold food than miss a sale while also taking a hit to their image.’
It is hard to say what a supermarket does with unsold seafood. Most of the time, prices of unsold seafood will be reduced in hopes of attracting customers to buy them. However, if they are still not sold by then, I suppose the inevitable has to happen.
Recently, there has been increasing research in terms of upcycling seafood. For instance, the company Tidal Distance launched products such as belts and wallets made from salmon skin. They claim to use an ‘all-natural, proprietary tanning formula from vegetable oils and other eco-friendly ingredients.” (source). Tidal Distance also came up with a textile made from a polymer obtained from crab and shrimp shells known as chitin.
While reading, I started to think about other parts of a fish that could be converted into something useful. Perhaps, fish bones? I mean, we do throw fish bones away and it is such a waste especially when it is actually really nutritious. In a study, researchers concluded that bones from the Atlantic salmon and Atlantic cod are high in calcium and are suitable as a natural source of calcium for supplements (source).
Maybe I should just quit school, start grinding fish bones into tablets and sell them as supplements. Sounds like a plan?