Press release

Egyptian chefs put farmed tilapia to the taste test

Twenty of Egypt’s top chefs came together on 29 August 2016 to taste test new preparation methods and recipes for farmed Nile tilapia, the country’s most farmed fish, at a workshop hosted by WorldFish in partnership with the Egyptian Chef’s Association (ECA).

In line with the Sustainable Transformation of Egypt’s Aquaculture Market System (STREAMS) project goals, the Consumer Market Research and Product Development workshop aimed to discover chefs’ preferences and influencing factors when buying seafood and raise awareness of the range of tilapia products available. Through this research the two organizations hope to increase and diversify the use of farmed tilapia in both catering and restaurants.

Egypt is the world’s second largest producer of tilapia, with tilapia production providing one fish per week for each of its 90 million people.

Participants at the workshop tasted and gave feedback on new products such as small fish and fillets: two products rarely found in Egyptian restaurants but widely consumed in America and Europe. This method, based on sensory science research approaches refined by the Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center, provides an accurate way to gather rich consumer acceptance and purchasing data that can be replicated in other geographies for various fish species.

WorldFish hosted the event in collaboration with the Egyptian Chefs Association (ECA), a non-profit organization representing 1000 professional chefs in Egypt, and a national authority and opinion leader on food. Other highlights of the workshop, held at the WorldFish Aquaculture Research Center in Abbassa, Sharkeya, included field visits to Nile tilapia aquaculture farms, a cooking demonstration by chef Markus Iten, and an educational session on Egyptian aquaculture.

Malcolm Dickson, Egypt Country Program Manager, WorldFish: “Farmed tilapia is affordable, tasty and environmentally-friendly, and a healthy source of protein, nutrients and essential fatty acids. By encouraging chefs to use more farmed tilapia in their restaurants, they will contribute to improved food and nutrition security in Egypt, where around 17 percent suffer from food shortages throughout the year.”

Markus Iten, ECA Founder and Honorary President: “The Egyptian Chefs Association was delighted to collaborate with WorldFish to stage this workshop to research chefs’ acceptance of new tilapia products. Nile tilapia provides a versatile and nutritious product for restaurant clientele and is at the same time an environmentally-friendly choice. The workshop was an opportunity to promote the high quality of farmed tilapia products to the hotel and catering market in Egypt, which is in line with the association's goal to promote local sourcing of food among chefs.”

The results of this workshop contribute to WorldFish’s research into value chains, which focuses on: (1) improving the efficiency of producing, processing and trading fish; (2) producing or marketing more sophisticated products with increased value; (3) reducing negative impacts such as waste, impact on natural resources or exploitation of people; (4) changing or adding functions in the value chain; and (5) improving coordination between actors in the value chain and promoting gender equality and sustainable development.

Special thanks goes to the Research and Innovation Fellowship in Agriculture and the Blum Center for providing funding for the workshop coordinator, Stephanie Webb, PhD student from University of California, USA, to design and conduct the workshop.

For more information or to request an interview contact:

Toby Johnson, Head of Communications
Mobile Tel: +60 (0) 175 124 606

About WorldFish
WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce hunger and poverty. Globally, more than one billion poor people obtain most of their animal protein from fish and 800 million depend on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. WorldFish is a member of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium in collaboration with hundreds of partners.

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