Companies within the poultry industry have done well in promoting their products that were raised without antibiotics, while those who process pork and beef are following suit. But have you ever wondered why one major protein sector has not yet taken the opportunity to market an antibiotic-free product?

According to Dr. David Funderburke, chief operating officer of Cape Fear Consulting, who spoke at ONE 17, The Alltech Ideas Conference, it may be just a matter of time before consumers start seeing advertisements for fish that are raised without antibiotics.

Funderburke said that meats that are raised without antibiotics present a great marketing opportunity for processors, so it would not be all that surprising to see a fish company take that avenue.

Why haven’t we heard of antibiotic-free fish?

The reason the marketplace has not yet seen any fish companies promoting a raised without antibiotics fish product, Funderburke believes, is because of the way the majority of U.S. fish consumers perceive the industry.

While more than half of all fish products sold at retail in the United States come from fish farms, most consumers do not know that.

“I think they think all of the fish comes straight out of the ocean, and the ocean is all clean and healthy and free of antibiotics,” Funderburke said.

If one company leads, others will follow

Funderburke believes that all it will take is one fish company to introduce a raised-without antibiotics product, and its competitors will soon respond with a similar promotional campaign.

“No one is really making a lot of comments about being antibiotic-free, but as soon as one fish company starts marketing their product, and telling the industry that they are 100 percent antibiotic-free, then the other companies will have to conform,” he said.

And whoever is the first to do so, will “drive the industry,” he said.