Pelagia acquires UK seafood trading firm Ideal Foods Limited

The Ideal Foods Limited booth at Seafood Expo Global.
The Ideal Foods Limited booth at Seafood Expo Global | Photo courtesy of Ideal Foods Limited
2 Min

Bergen, Norway-headquartered Pelagia has acquired 100 percent of Cornwall, U.K.-based seafood trading firm Ideal Foods Limited.

Pelagia, a joint venture between Austevoll Seafoods and Kvefi, is a leading producer of pelagic fish products for human consumption, as well as animal feeds, protein concentrates, fishmeal, and fish oil. Through its subsidiary Epax, Pelagia is also a producer of concentrated marine-based omega-3 fatty acids for dietary supplement and pharmaceutical preparations. Pelagia operates 28 facilities in Norway, United Kingdom, Ireland, Denmark, and Ukraine.

Ideal Foods – led by CEO Tony Horner – is focused on salmon, whitefish, and shellfish, while its subsidiary Ideal Nutritional Foods is a dedicated B2B supplier of fish products for baby food producers. The company launched its own pet food brand, “Purely Fish,” that included treats, canned wet food, toppers, and raw food for cats and dogs, made from a minimum of 85 percent fish content. It has satellite offices in Grimsby, U.K., the Philippines, and China.

In 2019, the last year it reported sales figures, it had GBP 13.2 million (USD 16.4 million, EUR 15.4 million) in turnover on sales of 11,520 metric tons of fish. It exported 87 percent of its products to 40 countries globally. It sells to local fishmongers in the U.K. as well as global supermarket chains, fish merchants, and international manufacturers and processors. In 2020, Ideal Fish signed a supply agreement with Mowi Consumer Products UK, giving it access to fish byproducts including salmon heads, bellies, and collars. 

“Ideal Foods works closely with fish processors and manufacturers to utilize seafood co-products in an innovative way that aims to utilize all material and ultimately add value,” Pelagia said in a press release. “Pelagia intends to carry on with this ethos and further develop synergies with Ideal Foods that will have minimal impact to the existing management and team at Ideal Foods, ensuring a continuity of service to all Ideal Foods customers and suppliers.”

The acquisition follows on from Pelagia's purchase of a majority stake in Blomsterdalen, Norway-based Blue Ocean Technology in February 2024. Founded in 2012, BOT has developed technical solutions for the handling of fish feces, including its concentrating and drying into sludge for commercial reuse. It signed an agreement with Purecod to provide it a "plug and farm" sludge- and water-treatment facility in 2022, though the status of that project is in doubt following Purecod’s bankruptcy filing in 2023.

Strategically, Blue Ocean Technology and Pelagia fit very well together. We possess expertise in complementary areas within sludge resources, and together we become a very powerful unit. This applies not only in Norway, but also internationally,” BOT Chairman Arve Janbu Fresvik said in a press release.

Pelagia already provides resources to the aquaculture sector for handling trimmings, dead fish, and emergency preparedness solutions, and Pelagia CEO Egil Magne Haugstad said his company’s own expertise would help BOT grow, along with an additional influx of capital.

“Pelagia aims to become the best partner for the industry to solve some of the sludge challenges. If we succeed, we will increase the sustainability of the industry and reduce the environmental impact for the benefit of all,” Haugstad said.

In April 2022, Pelagia bought Norsk Fiskeindustri Invest, and in July 2021, Pelagia acquired Bekkjarvik, Norway-based Hordafor, which utilizes byproducts from the salmon farming industry to produce oil and protein, for NOK 477 million (then USD 55 million, EUR 46.5 million).

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