Developing the use of Facebook to share experiences of fish and seafood product consumption

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has challenged us to work out how digital, online platforms can support us to carry out design research with stakeholders from a distance. In the Seafood AGE project, we’ve focussed on designing two key research methods to carry out in parallel. These are designed to establish practical feasibility, receptivity and cultural acceptance of  novel circular economy methods used to make the Seafood Age Ready to cook (RTC) fish product. The methods are designed to be delivered with parity and ease of translation across different Atlantic Area regions, and to support older research participants to engage.

The first method we designed was for engaging stakeholders across the ready to cook fish product value chain. See our last report, for how we did it.  The second method is for engaging would-be RTC fish product consumers to reflect on and exchange their thoughts and experiences around fish and seafood product consumption. The insights generated from this method will in turn be fed in to conversations with the stakeholders further upstream. Check out our latest REPORT_20210329_Developing use of facebook to share experiences of fish and seafood product consumption_v1, for how we designed the second method using the structure of a private Facebook ‘social learning group’ as a tool to support engagement.

The rationale for designing the Facebook social learning group builds on key pieces of learning from the work we’ve done to date including to use an accessible, low-threshold platform to support engagement and bring added value for older research participants. The method is designed to do this through conversation and exchange facilitated by us, supported and documented by a private Facebook group. Video conferencing is used in conjunction to carry out the conversation. While having a Facebook account for taking part is ideal, if a participant does not have a Facebook account, we can still use the group together with screen sharing to support and document conversation. If you’re interested in taking part and using our Facebook group to share your experiences of fish and seafood product consumption in conversation with Hayley, our Research Associate, please let her know! She’d love to hear from you. Either email Hayley at or request to join the Facebook group.

Mapping feasibility with stakeholders on Miro: a new prototype research method for Seafood AGE

Our central task in the Seafood Age project is to develop and test prototype co-design research methods for establishing practical feasibility, receptivity and cultural acceptance of the Seafood Age Ready to cook (RTC) fish product and circular economy (CE) methods across RTC value chains in Atlantic Area regions. Through the methods we develop, we want to find out:

  1. What stakeholders see as the opportunities and risks associated with new processes and CE methods, product innovation and development for an older market, fish RTC manufacture and distribution, health, safety and nutrition,
  2. What would they design in and out of them and why?
  3. How do they see new CE methods, processes and so on applied to existing practices and what would be the barriers to application and what would support adoption?

Taking time from stakeholders as busy as those relevant to this work would be challenging at the best of times. Lockdown and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic further complicates matters. In response, we started with drawing on some of the recent learning on facilitating remote, digital methods documented by fellow co-design researchers in ImaginationLancaster and further afield. Next, we have developed a mapping method using the online platform, Miro. Our intent is to afford ourselves as many strengths of a workshop as possible whilst enabling remote, one-to-one engagement with stakeholders to link, compare and contrast perspectives, and co-construct a picture of feasibility across the value chain. We are developing this method with a view to being translated for use across Atlantic Area regions and their respective markets.

Check out the report for more on our rationale for developing this mapping method, progress being made with it, emerging insights into feasibility of the Seafood Age RTC product in industry, and our next steps.


A Story of Oamk being the only Finnish organization participating in the Atlantic Area Programme and how they got to take part of Seafood Age Project was just published. The story also includes a short introduction of Seafood Age project.

This Story is published in ePOOKI, which is the forum for Oamk´s research and development work publications. Publication is in Finnish, since the main target group of ePOOKI is Oamk´s Finnish stakeholder companies and organizations.

Link to publication:

SEAFOOD-AGE takes part in the Interreg Atlantic Area Annual Event 2020

The Interreg Atlantic Area programme annual event was held on the 18th November 2020, from 14:00 to 16:30 (Lisbon time)

Eva Balsa-Canto, as representative of SEAFOODAGE project, was invited by the Managing Authority to participate on a panel as a speaker, under the thematic ‘Sustainable food systems’. This session lasted 45 minutes, was moderated by Sandra Tavares da Silva and counted with the participation of 2 other projects. The goal of this session was to present the work and impact the projects are having on their field of action, thus contributing to the objectives of the EC in this matter, namely to achieve a sustainable transition to a climate-neutral Europe by 2050.

This event was due to take place in Bordeaux, hosted by the French Presidency of the Programme in 2020, but considering to the current situation and restrictions, it was for the first time, entirely online.

The video with the recording of the event is available below. SEAFOOD-AGE can be watched from 1 hr 31 min.

Seafood-Age 4th Project Meeting & 1st Training Session

4th Project Meeting

The fourth project meeting (18M) was celebrated via videoconference on the 3rd of November 2020. Thirty-three participants followed the presentations and participated in the discussions.

In the morning, the technical packages were addressed, while transversal topics were discussed after lunch.

Interesting progresses were presented in this meeting after one year and half of collaborative work, being rewarding to see that the different aspects of the RTE product are taking shape despite the restrictions to access the labs.

The 1st training session went successfully virtual on 4th November

Even though this kind of action was supposed to be face-to-face in order to get familiar with techniques and processes that take place at a lab or pilot scale, the partners involved were successful preparing very comprehensible and high quality home-made audiovisuals.

Researchers from IIM-CSIC presented the production of ingredients. IPMA showed the different methods to assess the bioactivity of ingredients. ICTAN explained the production of the RTE product, INL presented a demonstration of the microbial kit and IRMRS screened a video about the seaweed culture and harvest.

Two new papers released by INL in Open Access

Our colleagues from the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory have just published two new articles, both related to the detection of Listeria monocytogenes.

One of them is focused on a method of surface analysis and naked eye detection with lateral flow strips:

Application of Recombinase Polymerase Amplification with Lateral Flow for a Naked-Eye Detection of Listeria monocytogenes on Food Processing Surfaces

The second one develops a method consisting of a multiplex qPCR system to also detect other pathogens, using infant milk as a food model, although applicable to any type of food:

Multiplex Detection of Salmonella spp., E. coli O157 and L. monocytogenes by qPCR Melt Curve Analysis in Spiked Infant Formula

Seafood AGE workshop with Active Minds at Blackpool Carers

On 13 March 2020, Hayley Alter, Seafood Age Research Associate held a workshop with the Active Minds group at Blackpool Carers designed to explore practices and barriers to eating fish and seafood amongst group members.  Blackpool carers is a charity that supports, trains and brings respite, information and advocacy to people of all ages who care for dependents in the region. Active Minds is a group that meet for weekly sessions for older couples in which one spouse or partner has dementia and the other provides round-the-clock care.

Workshop with the Active Minds Group – Blackpool Carers – 13 March 2020

During the workshop, we used food-tasting and images of fish and seafood products and local places to prompt conversation about the memories, sensations and experiences they associate with eating fish and seafood. We also used a recipe proforma designed to help group members use a fish and seafood recipe they make to describe and exchange wider fish and seafood preparation and eating practices, barriers and how this contrasts with what they did in the past. The report linked below explores emerging insights from the discussion, reflections on the methods used and considerations for development. 

Key to the Seafood Age project is the learning from the workshop that group members rely on frozen, microwaveable and ready-to-eat products but see the ‘processes’ and ‘preservatives’ used in RTE fish and seafood as detrimental to taste, smell, and therefore, nutritional value. As a result, ready to eat fish and seafood products appear to make up a relatively small proportion of their overall diet. By contrast, the extent to which the prototype Seafood Age product will be ‘processed’ will be, in large part, to ensure its nutritional value when consumed. However, the poor perception of nutrition in processed fish and seafood products surfaced in this workshop indicates that a new design consideration for the prototype must be to address this barrier either through product or packaging.

Report on the Workshop with the Active Minds Group

Check out the report for more on the workshop and what we plan to do next.

First paper released by INL in the framework of SEAFOOD-AGE

picture provided by INL

Our partner, the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, is working to improve food safety. They have just published a novel multiplex real-time RPA method for the rapid detection of Listeria monocytogenes:

Comparative study of multiplex real-time recombinase polymerase amplification and ISO 11290-1 methods for the detection of Listeria monocytogenes in dairy products

The development of novel methods for the rapid detection of Listeria monocytogenes is of high interest due to due to particular concerns about this its ubiquity, resistance to sanitation processes and high mortality rates resulting from infection.

The evaluation of a novel multiplex real-time Recombinase Polymerase Amplification (RPA) method including an internal amplification control is reported in the paper released in volume 92 of Food Microbiology. The method performance was compared to that of the European reference method (ISO 11290-1) for the detection of the species in samples from 40 commercial dairy products. A limit of detection below 10 cfu/25 g or mL sample was achieved, and values higher than 90% were obtained for relative sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, positive and negative predictive values and the index (kappa) of concordance. Analysis was achieved within one working day, compared to the six days required using the ISO method. Moreover, slight modification of the ISO 11290-1 method to include secondary enrichment in half Fraser broth resulted in the confirmation of all positive samples.

Seafood-Age 3rd Project Meeting

The Seafood-Age consortium has adapted to the current circumstances of lockdown and border closures and held its third project meeting (12M) via videoconference on the 13th of May 2020. The meeting was organised by Eva Balsa-Canto, who acted as Lead Partner and moderator of the meeting, consisting of a series of sessions all day long. Twenty seven participants followed the presentations and participated in the discussions.

In the morning, partners reviewed the progress achieved in the framework of the technical work packages. Carla Pires (IPMA), Silvia Blanco/Mick Mackey (IRMRS) and Xosé Antón Vázquez (IIM-CSIC) showed the first results of the work performed during the previous 6 months regarding the production of ingredients and the assessment of their bioactivity.

Carmen G. Guillén (ICTAN-CSIC) and Hayley Alter (ULANC) gave an overview on the optimization of RTE production and the co-design workshop that have been running respectively. Ina Bremenkamp (UCC) presented the progress on eco-packaging solutions. Harri Määtä (OAMK) talked on the development of the Smart Predictive Label and Pierre Rodault (TQC) proposed a plan for the training sessions to be celebrated during the next year.

In the afternoon, transversal work packages were presented by Uxía Vázquez (Communication), Elena Couñago (Capitalization) and Eva Balsa-Canto (Coordination). Different aspects were discussed and agreements were reached, thus allowing to continue progressing despite the slowdown caused by the current pandemic, that still keeps most of the labs closed. Several technical meetings will take place online in the coming weeks to strengthen collaboration and move forward with the project activities.