Four months into her new role as UK director for the Norwegian Seafood Council, Victoria Braathen sets out her plans to continue supporting the fish and chip shop sector
Tell us a bit about your role as UK envoy for Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC)
Across the world, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) works together with and on behalf of the Norwegian seafood industry and local partners to develop markets for Norwegian seafood. I have been part of NSC for over six years now, holding various international posts, including country director in China until last year. It is a huge privilege to be working with seafood and the seafood industry. The UK is among the largest market for Norwegian seafood and our work spans from market insight to marketing, PR, and communications.
What do you hope to achieve in your role?
Looking at the big picture, seafood has a vital role to play in future food systems and is a vital part of a healthy and sustainable diet. Norway is a proud supplier of sustainable seafood to British consumers through a close collaboration with importers and distributors, the fish & chip industry, retail partners and chefs. Together with our extended team I am honoured to build on the great foundations already established in the UK market and will continue to work closely with industry stakeholders to develop and explore joint, future opportunities.
What is predicted to happen to prices and availability for Norwegian cod as we go into next year? How should fish and chip shops respond?
Norway and the UK are long term seafood partners, and the UK is one of the key markets for Norwegian seafood and whitefish such as Norwegian cod and haddock. In the current environment, with uncertainty and increasing costs felt by both consumers and businesses alike, we do expect a tougher market.
At the same time, we also predict a growing focus on sustainability, and therefore encourage our partners to work together to position seafood as a wholesome protein choice that is good for you and good for the planet. When choosing Norwegian cod and haddock, fish and chip shops are providing a delicious protein from a country that takes great pride in its fishing methods and rich heritage, delivering quality and sustainability credentials.
Do you have any plans or campaigns to work specifically with the fish and chip shop sector?
NSC have worked closely with the fish and chip industry in the UK for many years and it is important we continue to foster this longstanding relationship. As such, we are delighted to be the principal sponsors of the National Fish & Chip Awards 2023 and of the category award for recognising sustainability and good environmental practice within the industry.
We are also sponsoring National Fish & Chip Day on Friday 2nd June 2023 for a second year in celebration of the nation’s favourite dish and to further strengthen the seafood partnership between Norway and the UK. As ever, we will continue to work in close collaboration with the fish and chip industry, hosting and contributing to industry meetings places, campaigns, and roundtables to ensure that we are providing value to the industry.
How are you helping fish and chip shops to innovate?
Following a clear demand from fish and chip shop operators, we have created a dedicated digital resource hub where friers can access materials to help them communicate the importance of sustainable seafood – and to show the value in every portion of fish and chips.
The Fish and Tips resource hub (www.seafoodfromnorway.co.uk/fish-and-tips) has a range of materials available to download including an ocean-to-plate short film to use on shop screens and websites, a Fish and Tips social media tool kit designed for busy friers who are short on time, and a ‘know where your fish is from’ poster for use in-shop.
NSC is proud to be working with talented and dedicated fish and chip shop operators across the UK to seek new ways in which the provenance of their Norwegian seafood products can be highlighted. The messaging across these digital and physical resources is to clearly communicate to customers the importance of sustainably sourced seafood and will help to reassure them that the fish being served to them is of the very best quality.