Norway sustainable salmon brand launches in North America

Published on
February 4, 2020

Kvarøy, Norway-based Kvarøy Arctic is launching its own brand for its fresh Atlantic salmon in the United States and Canada.

Kvarøy Arctic’s salmon was initially available in the U.S. through Blue Circle Foods. But the company has dissolved its distribution partnership with Blue Circle that began in 2012 and is now pursuing its own route to market, according to Kvarøy Arctic CEO Alf-Gøran Knutsen.

The new expansion will place its whole salmon and fillets in the fresh case at Whole Foods’ Midwest and Atlantic region stores in the U.S., and at Whole Foods Canada in Ontario and British Columbia. The supplier is developing additional sales channels throughout the U.S., and plans to expand rapidly to sell through a projected 20 million pounds of production this year.

“We are incredibly grateful for our relationship with Blue Circle and the learnings that we gained from our work with them,” Knutsen told SeafoodSource. “As we have grown and evolved, we felt that it was time for us to build a brand that can stand on its own. One that can tell the story of our family’s hard work, our commitment to sustainable aquaculture and the role that it plays as a solution in our food system.”

Now, the third-generation, family-owned business is “investing significantly in the U.S. market,” Knutsen said.

“We have built a U.S. company that can manage everything from sales to logistics, marketing, communication, and digital media,” he said. “The result of the last months of effort, will be a strong company with the highest standards of rearing Atlantic salmon with a brand that is recognizable and trusted.”

Kvarøy is already working on additional expansion of its salmon, which is recognized by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), GlobalGAP, and Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program in foodservice and specialty retail, Knutsen said.

“This is the first of a few big announcements we’re looking forward to making in 2020,” Knutsen said in a press release.

In addition to the United States, Kvarøy’s sister company is selling its salmon in several other countries.

“We are working with partners such as Corbion, BioMar, and others to stay ahead of technology, feed advancements and much more. As the brand grows, we will look to move into other countries worldwide,” Knutsen said.

Kvarøy has a collaboration with Corbion and BioMar to create a responsibly sourced, clean feed with a 0.48-to-1 fish in to fish out ratio (FIFO), Knutsen said. Because farm sites are limited in its area, Kvarøy is working with other surrounding farmers to apply its “groundbreaking rearing methods” to increase supply,he said.

“This includes the work we've done for years with BioMar on our patented Blue Feed, which led to our fish being the first to meet the Whole Foods standards several years ago,” Knutsen said. “By making the feed available more broadly, along with our other unique attributes, we can scale and expand well beyond our current capacity.”

Kvarøy Arctic’s proprietary feed model was also developed with Corbion, a Dutch food and biochemical company "whose pioneering work utilizes fermented microalgae as a source of long-chain omega-3s,” the company said.

To make the feed, trimmings of herring, mackerel, and cod are sourced from Marine Stewardship Council-certified North Atlantic wild fisheries. Kvarøy Arctic further reduces its fish-in, fish-out (FIFO) ratio via Corbion’s AlgaPrime, a microalgae feed ingredient that replaces traditional dependencies on wild feeder fish.

“Furthering its sustainability, the non-GMO algae oil is efficiently produced using energy from spent sugarcane biomass,” Kvarøy said.

The company has a policy of prohibiting the use of antibiotics in its operations, and it uses lumpsuckers to control sea lice infestations.

“Their symbiotic relationship with salmon is the answer to natural sea lice mitigation at Kvarøy Arctic,” the supplier said.

Photo courtesy of Kvarøy Arctic 

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