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FOSS analytical solutions for the surimi production

In September 2022, FOSS presented our solutions at the 12th Surimi School Europe, taking place in Barcelona, Spain. The three-day event was designed for executives, operators, marketers, and technologists from the global surimi and surimi seafood industry to develop a pragmatic knowledge of the surimi technology and its utilization in food production development. In the dialogue, new ways of using NIR for quality control in the production of surimi and surimi seafood were reviled.

 

The drive for nonmeat proteins has sparked an increasing interest in surimi as an alternative protein source. With a reputation of being one of the most sustainable sources of seafood and with a high level of proteins, the product has seen an increase in popularity with Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, and Thailand being the most prominent players and rising interest in North America and Europe.

History and development of surimi

Created more than 850 years ago for making kamaboko, surimi represents an ancient Japanese way of grinding and salting leftover fish as a means of preserving the extra catch. In 1959-60, Japanese scientists discovered how to keep fish protein stable while frozen and preserved. This discovery kickstarted, what is today a global industry and a popular part of the cuisine also in countries outside of Japan like the US, Thailand, France, and Spain.

The fish usually used for making surimi includes Alaska pollock, Atlantic cod, Pacific whiting, black bass, and various tropical fish. Since surimi is now traded globally, it is affected by global market conditions and has experienced periods of extraordinarily high prices (in 1991-1992 and 2008-2009) as well as difficulties during COVID and now due to increasing energy and raw material prices.

 

 

As the prices have risen, the surimi industry has been seeking methods to optimize production. Techniques developed in the mid-1990s have further improved the recovery of fish meat during the washing process and the industry is in constant development improving its techniques to optimize the use and quality of the surimi product.

Surimi quality analysis with NIR
New technologies allow new resources to be used as raw materials and better application for fisheries continues to strengthen conservation. This also includes introducing NIR as an analytical tool in the surimi industry as an easy way to secure quality control and optimization of the product.

Speaking with professor and surimi specialist Jae Park, who for nearly 30 years has implemented training programs for manufacturers of surimi and surimi seafood, it is clear that NIR is a technology the surimi seafood industry can have great advantage of including in their production. He explains “I was introduced to NIR 20 years ago and have since been interested in how NIR can help the surimi seafood industry in developing a reliable calibration model as an alternative to wet chemistry” he says and continues. “FOSS is globally known for their NIR, and I thought it would be a great idea to introduce their technology in the surimi seafood industry. Using NIR could have a huge potential as it would minimize extensively the labor cost for securing top quality of surimi.”

 

 

At the Surimi School Europe, FOSS presented solutions for measuring both the raw surimi and the final surimi seafood product. “As I see it, the optimal places to use the NIR technology is where the sample is homogeneous.” Prof. Jae Park explains “For the raw material, the optimal use of NIR would be in the suppressing process as this is where the moisture is removed from the product. Both before and after suppressing the surimi product, measuring the moisture would be an important control point for manufacturing surimi. For surimi seafood, an important control point would be measuring the moisture of the paste when the heating is applied.”

Speaking with Poul Erik Simonsen, head of the meat and seafood segment at FOSS, he agrees with there being great potential in using the NIR technology in surimi production. “The benefit of using our NIR solution is that we have already developed an analytics package that can cover all aspects of the surimi and surimi seafood production. In less than 30 seconds you can measure key parameters like fat, protein, moisture, and salt, and our solutions are already used by a surimi crabstick manufacture producer in Europe.“ he says and continues. “I see great potential for using both our ProFoss 2 and FoodScan 2 solutions in the surimi industry. ProFoss 2 is for measuring surimi products transported in a pipe and analyzing the product content of fat, moisture, and protein to guide and optimize the production process to secure consistent final product quality. The FoodScan 2 is for quality control based on checking samples of the final products. If a surimi producer has already a ProFoss 2 installed, the FoodScan 2 can also be used to validate the performance of the ProFoss 2.”

Presenting the NIR solutions in Barcelona, Poul Erik Simonsen further explains “With many years of experience providing NIR solutions for the meat industry, I see a huge potential in a similar collaboration with companies in the seafood industry” he says and concludes “At the Surimi School Europe, I saw a general interest in NIR as an alternative to the time-consuming wet chemistry quality control. We have global experience working with the meat industry. Now we have decided to start focusing on the seafood industry where we see many areas where our solutions can help the seafood and surimi industry by analyzing multiple parameters in one rapid sample check.”

FOSS presented solutions for the seafood and surimi industry for the first time at Jae Park’s Surimi School Europe in Barcelona 28-30 September 2022. In 2023, FOSS is planning to present our solutions for seafood analysis at the Seafood Expo exhibitions in March in Boston and in April in Barcelona.