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Opportunities and challenges for upscaled global bivalve seafood production


Slow growth in the bivalve mariculture sector results from production inefficiencies, food safety concerns, limited availability of convenience products and low consumer demand. Here we assess whether bivalves could meet mass-market seafood demand across the bivalve value chain. We explore how bivalve production could become more efficient, strategies for increasing edible meat yield and how food safety could be improved through food processing technologies and new depuration innovations. Finally, we examine barriers to consumer uptake, such as food allergen prevalence and bivalve preparation challenges, highlighting that appealing and convenient bivalve food products could provide consumers with nutritious and sustainable seafood options—and contribute positively to global food systems.

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Fig. 1: LCA of the GWP and EP in bivalve and fish production.
Fig. 2: Nutritional content per 100 g of edible meat for Alaska pollock, cod, tuna and bivalves.
Fig. 3: Six illustrative scenarios for bivalve production.
Fig. 4: Key opportunities for producing fresh in-shell, frozen de-shelled and cooked processed bivalve products.
Fig. 5: Global food allergy prevalence for bivalves compared with other food products.

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We thank the team at Nomad Foods for supporting R.J.N. in arranging the consumer panel, and for their feedback on the manuscript before submission. D.F.W. is supported by the Department of Zoology and a Henslow Fellowship at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge. R.J.N. is funded by Nomad Foods. D.C.A. is supported by a Dawson Fellowship at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge.

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D.F.W., R.J.N. and D.C.A. all participated in study design and data analysis. D.F.W. wrote the final manuscript. All authors reviewed and approved the manuscript before submission.

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Correspondence to David F. Willer.

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Competing interests

R.J.N. is an employee of Nomad Foods. All other authors have no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Food thanks Kate Barclay and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–2 and Discussion.

Supplementary Table 1

List of questions asked and full results from the online consumer panel.

Supplementary Data 1

Numerical source data for Fig. 1.

Supplementary Data 2

Numerical source data for Fig. 2.

Supplementary Data 3

Numerical source data for Fig. 3.

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Willer, D.F., Nicholls, R.J. & Aldridge, D.C. Opportunities and challenges for upscaled global bivalve seafood production. Nat Food 2, 935–943 (2021).

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