Karkkila, Finland-based food technology company Hailia has developed a system to push more fish-processing byproducts go toward value-added use, rather than their traditional lower-value applications.
The process turns leftover fish chunks, strips, bites, and patties into valuable protein. The result of its system resembles a cooked fish fillet and a “mouthfeel characteristic of fish,” according to Hailia.
"For instance, after filleting salmon, half of the fish weight is left over. With the widely used method, only 8 percent to 10 percent of those sidestreams can be utilized for food production, while the rest goes to low-value uses," Hailia Managing Director Michaela Lindström said in a release. "With our innovative process, we can efficiently capture all that is suitable for food production."
Using its patent-pending technology to valorize low-value seafood byproducts, the company launched its Hailia Small Fish Products brand made of Baltic herring to the Finnish market in early 2023. Shortly after, Hailia received the 2023 Seafood Innovation of the Year award in Finland. Now, it has widened its system from solely focusing on underutilized small pelagic fish to byproducts from all seafood processing.
”The core of our innovation is in turning overlooked raw materials into products with a desirable mouthfeel, using just a simple recipe with a few ingredients,” Hailia CTO Otto Kaukonen said.
The structure of the new process also allows for additional processing and integration into recipes, such as soups, sandwich fillings, pasta, and sauces, Kaukonen said.
Hailia’s processing facility in southern Finland is equipped for full-scale production, and the company is looking ahead at opportunities acting as an industrial partner for global fish processors.
“More food that is healthy for people and the planet can be produced with what we already have. Considering the planetary limitations, a lot could already be achieved if we primarily adopted resource-conscious practices. Fortunately, this opens immense opportunities in profitability too,” Lindström said.
Photo courtesy of Hailia