A new “app” for smartphones and tablets with information for seafood buyers. When this „app“ was ready to be tested in the UK retail market, the retailers were reluctant to use it.
New „app“ for seafood buyers
Matís has been developing an „app“ that gives consumers information about the fish that is on sale in stores or restaurants. In the developing we strived to fulfil UK consumers’ demands for increased access to information about the product they are considering to buy, Jónas R. Viðarsson, Research Group Leader at Matís, said in an interview with Fiskifréttir, a national Icelandic newspaper focusing on fisheries.
Differentiation in the market and increased sales
Matís participates in the Nordic project „WhiteFishMall“ which aims to enable producers of cod and haddock-products to differentiate themselves in the market, thereby contributing to increased sales of their products. Jónas said that in the beginning of the project, fish consumers in UK had been approached for ideas on ways to get them to buy more cod and haddock products from the North Atlantic. Meetings were held were focus groups presented their ideas, and in addition there was a consumer survey in which 1600 people participated. The result was that people said they were ready to increase consumption of fish from the North Atlantic if they got more reliable information about the product, which showed, among other things, where it originated, how healthy and environmentally friendly it was et cetera. In short, they wanted to know the whole process through the value chain in a presentable way.
Prototype of the „app“
Whith these results in mind a prototype of the „app“ for smartphones and tablets was developed. By scanning the QR code the app gives you information about the fish on sale in stores or restaurants. The information is of two kinds, it gives traceability e.g. where and when the fish was caught and also information that only need to be updated once a year or less, i.e. information about stock sizes, recipes and such. This “app” can give you answers about the fish species, whether the fisheries are sustainable, where and when the fish was caught, what fishing gear was used and from what vessel, besides there is information about nutritional value and more. It is also possible for the retailer or restaurant to add information about their businesses.
Fish & Chips restaurants were most positive
According to Jónas the project went well and everyone, all througt the value chain, was redy to give access to information; catching, processing, export, distribution et cetera. However, the UK retailers were reluctant to give consumers access to all their information. In particular they were reluctant to give information about where and when the fish was caught. The Fish & Chips restaurants were the most positive and they are testing the application to get feedback from their customers.
„This project is in essence completed as far as we are concerned. The solution has been developed in co-operation with producers, intermediaries and consumers, and this installation and method of communication works well for producers and consumers. We do not consider taking part in further production or sale of software of this sort. The only thing that attracted us to the project was to identify consumer needs and demonstrate that the overall concept worked. There are others better suited to take up the baton and utilize this knowledge in the production of applications for smartphones and tablet,” said Jónas R. Viðarsson at Matís.