The European mussel industry s profitability levels are currently low at all levels. Non-European mussel suppliers are advancing in the European market with low-cost products, pushing the overall prices for mussel products down. The market price for live mussels has improved recently. This opens for widening the market for European mussel producers. European mussel producers are mainly located in rural areas. To allow them to benefit from their shorter distance to the European market than non-European competitors, the infrastructure must be improved. A significant cost to the European mussel sector is associated with the waste of mussels due to substandard quality. On average, 20% is wasted in the chain from producer to processer. The waste is mainly related to the current suboptimal practices in grading, handling, storage and transportation.
The proposed MusselsAlive project seeks to increase the profitability and the competiveness for the large number of SMEs in the European mussel industry. The aim is to reduce the amount of commodity that is wasted from harvest to market by 35%. This represents a 7 % increase output (20.000 tons) from the mussel production for the EEA live market.
This will be achieved by: I) improve grading technology that reduce the amount of wasted mussels in the grading process by 35%; II) develop a storage/transportation unit that minimizes handling and reduce the damaged and waste of commodity by 35%; III) develop mussel holding recirculation system for conditioning and storage of mussels. The system will reduce the waste of commodity during storage by 35%: (IV) identify and prepare best practice protocols for grading process, handling, transportation, conditioning and storage of live mussels.
The economical benefits from the project are estimated to an annual 61 M increase in market value, of which 18 M is added directly the European mussel producers and 6.6 M directly to the European mussel processors.