New Amazon, Kroger partnerships drive Kvarøy Arctic sales
Buoyed by new partnerships with Amazon and Kroger, Kvarøy Arctic expects sales of USD 80 million (EUR 68 million) in 2021.
The Kvarøy, Norway-based seafood company has grown significantly since it debuted value-added salmon products – including portions, hot dogs, and burgers – in the U.S. last summer, according to Kvarøy CEO Alf-Gøran Knutsen.
Previously available primarily in Whole Foods Market stores and on FultonFishMarket.com, Kvarøy Arctic’s value-added salmon products are now available on Amazon, with six different bundle options. Bundling the products means that shoppers get more value and less-expensive shipping rates, according to the company. Its Kvarøy Arctic Salmon Basics Bundle, which retails for USD 109 (EUR 92), includes: Salmon Hot Dogs, Salmon Burgers, and four pounds of Salmon Fillet Portion Packs.
“The response to these programs has exceeded our expectations. While still relatively young, the reception to our value-added products has buoyed the excitement around the brand and has allowed us to tell our story in places that were unexpected,” Knutsen told SeafoodSource. “An exciting development is our entry into the Amazon marketplace. We could not have done that without the value-added program.”
The salmon hot dog – introduced last July – has been a breakthrough product for Kvarøy, Knutsen said.
“Can the world be changed by a hot dog? Maybe not, but it certainly can open the door to many that would not have considered eating fish before they tasted these incredible hot dogs," he said.
Kvarøy has realized “tremendously strong sales” of its burgers and hot dogs in retailers such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.-based Giant Eagle.
“They are carrying our fresh fish, hot dogs and retail 2-pound frozen portion packs – all of which are exceeding initial sales expectations,” Knutsen said.
Knutsen said he’s also proud of the products’ environmental credentials. The frozen products, which are shipped via FedEx ground two-day overnight rather than by airplane, have a smaller carbon footprint, he said. And their Green Cell Foam packaging, a corn-based insulating material that is biodegradable, is able to be dissolved in water after use, creating zero waste, Knutsen said.
Kvarøy is working hard to expand its value-added programs both at retail and in foodservice, Knutsen said. He said the company is partnering with Mer Rouge, Mauritius-based Afritex Ventures, which operates Fair Trade-certified subsidiary Pescamoz, on several value-added product lines that will debut in U.S. Kroger stores in the coming months.
“This has all been driven by demand for Fair Trade USA-certified seafood products,” Knutsen said, adding that all of Kvarøy products carry the certification. “Some in our industry have wondered if Fair Trade USA seafood certification is worth the effort. I can say that, while it is an extensive process, it has created demand in places that we could not have otherwise had access to.”
Knutsen credited its strong showing through the COVID-19 pandemic to the company’s “close-knit” team and its ability to adapt quickly to change.
“Traditional ways of collaboration and connection with our customers were more complex during 2020, so we focused on the fundamentals and innovation,” Knutsen said. “As a result, our company and our team in Norway and the U.S. are more digital and dynamic.”
The third-generation, family-owned business currently produces around 8,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon via its ocean net-pen aquaculture operation, Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett, and is planing to begin construction on its first land-based salmon farm, Arctic Seafarm, this fall. It is expected to come online by 2023 and eventually will produce 15,000 metric tons of fish annually. The company also recently upgraded and expanded Kvarøy Smolt, which will have the capacity to produced 10 million smolt per year.
“With new concessions and the land-based facility coming online in 2023, our growth is expected to increase by more than 30 percent each year through 2023,” Knutsen said.
Photo courtesy of Amazon