Tromsø 2021: First project meeting in-person

Hybrid meeting at The Edge Hotel in Tromsø. Photo: BlueCC

On 14-15 December 2021, the first in-person project meeting took place in Tromsø, Norway – the Arctic Capital.

Technically, it was a hybrid meeting as over half of the team were unable to travel. Participants from Nofima (hosts), Chalmers University and CESAM were present, while the rest connected remotely via Teams.

The team was careful to comply with current national and local measures for infection control. In addition, everyone attending in person had to show up 15 minutes in advance each day to take a self-test for covid-19. Thankfully, we have had zero cases during and after the meeting.

The first day of the meeting included presentations and discussions on the progress in the different work packages. The surprising results from the consumer survey analysis (WP1) was thoroughly discussed. To summarise it briefly:

  • The most popular product categories were yogurt and omega-3 capsules.
  • Most consumers were not interested in the ingredient source as a selling-point (e.g. shrimp, starfish, jellyfish). They preferred not to know.
  • The most preferred benefit was collagen – supports healthy hair, skin, nails and joints

Other topics presented were on Valorization of chitin/chitosan, and enzymatic deproteinization of Chinese mitten crab (WP2); demonstrators for sustainable chitin and collagen extraction (WP3), including the news of a special strain of bacteria that can may be suitable for sustainable extraction purposes. This will be studied in more details at IME Fraunhofer in the coming months.

We also discussed the outcomes of preliminary trials for testing the health effects of novel marine ingredients (WP4) and the characteristation of marine bioactives (WP5). In January 2022, CESAM will begin the process of writing a review publication on the BlueCC value-chain of collagen and chitin production (WP6), in collaboration with project participants from different institutions.

Day 2 of the meeting consisted of a speed-dating session between those who were physically present. This was a successful addition to the meeting, as it allowed for direct interaction and brainstorming between the different WP leaders. Overall, the meeting was successful. The second day, in particular, sparked new ideas for enhanced collaboration across WPs.