NORWEGIAN salmon farmer Lingalaks has begun commercial production of salmon fed on alternative fish oil, produced from algae.
Since last October, the producer, based in Hardanger fjord, has been feeding 50 per cent of its salmon a diet developed by Skretting, containing omega-3 EPA + DHA algal oil created by Veramaris.
The German retail chain Kaufland (part of the same group as Lidl) will be the first to put the salmon on its shelves.
‘Omega-3 EPA + DHA from natural marine algae allows us to produce healthier and better salmon,’ said Lingalaks owner Erlend Haugarvoll.
‘It also gives us the unique opportunity to differentiate our company within a competitive market.
‘Our courage to pioneer a new and more sustainable production method using algal oil resonated well with our philosophy.
‘By being the early adopter of this new technology, we found partners along the seafood value chain who supported us in realising our vision of superior, sustainable salmon quality and finding new outlets for it.’
Veramaris is a Dutch based joint venture between DSM and Evonik, and said it has driven the collaboration between the producer and retailer.
‘Our omega-3 algal oil, rich in both fatty acids EPA and DHA, is a novel ingredient for better and more sustainable salmon farming, but sometimes it takes a lot of courage and the right mindset to take the first step to adopt a breakthrough innovation,’ said Veramaris CEO Karim Kurmaly.
‘We quickly realised that traditional marketing and sales approaches would likely be to no avail and we had to bring key stakeholders around one table. Only by collaborating were we able to make this change to current practice.’
The retailer Kaufland said it saw great potential in the collaboration with Lingalaks and Veramaris. The company is pursuing a comprehensive corporate responsibility strategy, of which the seafood portfolio, particularly salmon, is an integral element, reflecting consumer demands.
‘Our customers have high demands on quality and competence of the assortment,’ said Andreas Schopper, head of purchasing at Kaufland.
‘The algal oil-fed salmon is an innovative and high quality product that lives up to our customers’ high demands for good taste and healthy nutrition, and that meets the increasing sense of responsibility for conscious consumption of resources. We are convinced that this cooperation is a forward looking decision.’
Veramaris algal oil is produced on land by fermentation of natural marine algae. The algal oil is of a high purity, free from sea-born contaminants, stabilised with natural antioxidants, excluding Ethoxyquin.
Skretting director of product development Mads Martinsen said: ‘As an industry leader with the knowledge to produce 100 per cent fish-free feeds on a commercial scale, Skretting is very happy to support Lingalaks in taking this innovative step.
‘It’s not as simple as just substitution, and many years of research have allowed this breakthrough.’