Los Ángeles, Bio Bio, Chile-based Salmones Austral has announced the launch of the Secret Island specialty brand targeting individual consumers on the U.S. East Coast.
The company also announced plans to expand nationwide next year – joining a growing list of salmon farmers that are specifically targeting the U.S., by far Chile’s largest export market.
“Born out of the crystal waters of Chilean Patagonia, Secret Island's specialty salmon is sustainably sourced and flash-frozen at peak freshness to deliver a premium at-home dining experience,” Salmones Austral said in a release, describing the new product as a sustainable, eco-friendly option.
Secret Island is offering delivery of packages of six-ounce portions in regions within two-day ground shipping of its U.S. East Coast logistics centers, including most major cities in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast regions.
"Everyone should be able to enjoy healthy meals at home and we wanted to accomplish that without having to sacrifice on quality or convenience," Salmones Austral Head of U.S. Business Development Daniel Del Coro said. "We are dedicated to our mission of creating a world where sustainable seafood is accessible to all and are thrilled to deliver the highest-quality Chilean Salmon straight from the ocean to your plate."
Secret Island is backing up its offer with a website that offers educational resources, including new recipes, techniques, and flavor profiles. It also launched its chef ambassador program, offering recipes by acclaimed chefs,including Jose Garces, a leading culinary authority of Spanish and Latin-American food; Top Chef alumni couple Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, owners of Sunny Side Up Hospitality, which has restaurants in New York City, Miami, and Puerto Rico; and African-American culinary expert Ashleigh Shanti, a 2020 finalist in the James Beard "Rising Star Chef of the Year" award as chef de cuisine at John Fleer's Benne on Eagle Restaurant.
Secret Island is certified under Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards and the company said it is committed to upholding the Global Salmon Initiative's (GSI) core principle of eco-friendly production.
The move is the latest in a number of actions taken by Chilean salmon firms to increase operations in the U.S. While overall exports to large markets such as China have dropped in the last year-and-a-half, exports of salmon and trout to the United States jumped 58 percent to USD 611 million (EUR 526 million) during the third quarter alone, following an upward trend observed since February 2021, and representing a more than half of all the country’s Q3 exports of USD 1.17 billion (EUR 1 billion).
Chile’s Salmon Council said it expects the market for Chilean salmon to continue its upswing as vaccination against COVID-19 expands worldwide and economies begin to open back up, bolstering the recovery of sales in hotels and restaurants while driving the growth of new distribution channels such as online and retail sales.
Last month, Santiago, Chile-based fishing and salmon-farming firm Blumar Seafoods launched an antibiotic-free salmon brand that touts sustainability as its selling point, to be distributed in fresh and frozen varieties in U.S. retail stores and restaurants. Blumar worked with Florida-based BluGlacier – founded in 2016 as a joint venture between Blumar and fellow salmon farmer Ventisqueros, one of Chile's largest salmon importers to the U.S. – to create the Laguna Blanca brand, which employs Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standards to raise salmon without antibiotics throughout the entire cultivation cycle.
Also last month, Chile-based Patagonia King Salmon announced it is breeding king salmon at its state-of-the-art recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) – a world’s first – located in the Chilean Patagonia to be sold to high-end restaurants and prominent chefs in markets including the U.S.
ProChile – which is part of Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is in charge of driving exports of national goods – secured Chilean soccer star Alexis Sánchez as the face of its “Unboxing Chile” campaign, launched in June, to promote attributes of the country’s salmon and other national products abroad.
In its campaign, ProChile looked to establish the country's food offerings as reliable, sustainable, and high-quality to drive sales and support economic reactivation.
Salmones Austral was created in 2013 following the merger of Trusal and Pacific Star. Today, it has annual production of some 45,000 to 55,000 metric tons (MT), exported to more than 20 countries, 63 percent of which corresponds to Atlantic salmon and the remaining 37 percent Coho. The U.S. and Asia are the main markets for Atlantic salmon, while Japan is the primary destination for its Coho.
The company has more than 1,400 workers operating in two processing plants and 20 freshwater and seawater farming centers in the regions of Maule, Biobío, La Araucanía, Los Lagos, and Aysén. It is vertically integrated from ocean to plate.
Photo courtesy of Salmones Austral