The LYIT School of Tourism in Killybegs recently hosted an interactive workshop aimed to encourage new ways to develop crab products which will appeal to a younger European market.
The workshop was held in conjunction with Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the Seafood Development Agency and Bord Bia’s Paris office at the state of the art demonstration facilities at the LYIT’s School of Tourism. This initiative is part of the development of an innovation hub for the Northwest region.
The interactive workshop aimed to inform Irish crab companies on how to translate recipes into innovative value added products.
Patrick Subreville an award winning French Chef prepared a number of exciting recipes using a variety of available crab products with the help of School of Tourism upcoming chefs.
A group of local companies attended including Hannigan Fish Trading, Atlanfish, Errigal Seafoods, Sofrimar, Aquasea Cobh, Malin Head Fishermen’s Co-op, Whiskie Rock Fisheries, Fish Sales (Killybegs) Ltd and Olde Castle.
Ciarán Ó hAnnracháin Head of Department of Hospitality & Tourism commenting on the day said, “This workshop is one of many interactive sessions the School of Tourism is involved in to help local companies look at new ways to develop value-add products for new markets. It’s clear from today’s event that there are plenty of great ideas in this region and where possible we want to bring in leading expertise to help drive innovation in food product development.”
Currently, Irish brown crab is an important resource with an export value of €30 million in 2010. A high proportion of Irish crab are exported live but there is also a significant market for pasteurised products.
The live market presents several challenges with oversupply of the traditional European markets leading to depressed prices in recent years, coupled with increasing costs of live logistics.
Furthermore, the demographic of the live crab consumer in the important French market, is over 50 years old, which presents little opportunity for growth. On that basis, there is a clear need for innovation and new product development to produce attractive convenient products that will suit younger consumers.
Donal Buckley, BIM’s Business Development and Innovation Manager explains how this workshop signals the development of an innovation hub for the Northwest region; ‘This workshop is one of many projects in the pipeline to drive innovation and new product development in the Northwest.
“Through our partnership with LYIT, we are already well on our way to developing a seafood innovation hub for the region which was one of the recommendations set out in the Killybegs Jobs Initiative Report.
“Currently, 85% of Irish seafood is sold in commodity form and we need to develop new value added processed products to meet consumer demand and compete effectively on the global market.
“In 2010, Ireland exported over 3.5 tonnes of crab to France alone with a value of over €15 million. There is no doubt that there is great potential to grow our market share but in order to do we need to think outside the box and deliver innovative products.”