Fishbox workshop
Rachel Norman

Rachel Norman, Chair of Aquatic Food Security, University of Stirling

Providing enough safe and nutritious food for a globally expanding population in the light of climate change and limited resources is a serious challenge which needs to be addressed over the next few years.

In 2013 the University of Stirling set up the Centre for Aquatic Food Security. The Centre is focussed on Aquatic Food Security since that builds on our strengths in Aquaculture and aquatic food production. However, when we think of global food security there are interactions between all of the food production systems and the Centre has members from across the University who work on many different aspects of food security and the food system. We have been involved in a number of interesting activities over the last few years building networks and developing project ideas and applications.

One such project has been funded by an Interface administered Innovation Voucher allowing us to work with a company called Fishbox.

Fishbox is a seafood subscription service in which fresh and seasonal fish is delivered straight to your door. The process involves, customers choosing their loves, likes and dislikes from amongst 80 products, Fishbox sees what is fresh and in market and, based on customer preferences, sends an appropriate box (all sealed, fresh and secure so you can have it delivered to work and not worry about leaks or smells!). Currently, the fish allocation is currently done by hand but the company has grown from 40 customers two years ago to 1500+ and so the packing is much more challenging.

Our Interface project working with Fishbox involved developing an algorithm which allows their packing to operate more quickly and efficiently by allocating products algorithmically and producing a shopping list for the packers which reduces waste whilst still satisfying customer needs. Fishbox ticks all of the boxes as a sustainable solution to aquatic food security, an Msc project this summer found that compared to customers who bought their fish directly from the supermarket, Fishbox customers were encouraged to eat seafood more frequently and to eat a more diverse range of species – read my blog for Fishbox to find out more on how Fishbox is a sustainable solution to Aquatic Food security. It has been great fun working with Fishbox, who are full of ideas and innovations and we are hoping to continue to find opportunities to collaborate with them over the coming years.

This blog first appeared at: http://researchandenterpriseblog.stir.ac.uk/2016/10/13/food-security-at-stirling/ and is reproduced here with permission.

20 October 2016