In order to be able to continue to provide every person with food in the future, we need to eat less animal proteins. This development is called the protein transition. With the protein transition in mind, a team of Wageningen University and Research ecologists and economists is trying to bring to light the consumption of shellfish, including mussels. With their knowledge, they list the facts and myths surrounding shellfish and try to make these available to consumers and entrepreneurs in the chain in an accessible manner.
But why mussels?
Mussels are not only rich in protein (20g per 100g) and low in fat (4g), they are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Omega-3 fatty acids, a rich profile of B vitamins, vitamin C, selenium, manganese, iron, and zinc are all abundant in these shellfish.
Mussels also have low greenhouse gas emissions and therefore have such smaller environmental impact than other sources of animal protein. Mussels are only above tofu on the list when it comes to the amount of greenhouse gases per kilogram, but they have much smaller environmental impact than other sources of protein such as eggs, salmon and poultry. In addition, mussels can not only be eaten, but the shells can also be used as building material. Mussels store CO2 in their shells and by using those shells in construction, that CO2 is kept out of the air. Finally, mussels do not negatively impact biodiversity when grown responsibly. Dredging wild mussels can cause local depletion while mussel farming has a minimal environmental impact.
Despite all the advantages, the potential of shellfish is still untapped. In a Dutch study, several reasons are mentioned for this. The main barriers to buying or eating mussels are: they are not well known (even in the supermarket barely visible), consumers have little knowledge about preparation methods, consumers think there are not many options for variation and consumers think the preparation time is too long.
Various strategies are mentioned to stimulate mussel consumption. For example, sampling is a good way to introduce the consumer to a new or unknown product. Communication about the country of origin is also important, because consumers often prefer products that are produced domestically. Finally, eco-labels are important to guarantee that the products are produced in an environmentally friendly way.
The Hague Tech - Wilhelmina van Pruisenweg 35 - 2595AN - The Hague - The Netherlands
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