Regal Springs leader calls for changing the way “by-products” are categorized

Published on
June 21, 2018

Amidst a lively discussion surrounding the value and potential of seafood by-products at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Barcelona, Spain this week, Regal Springs Group’s Peter Hajipieris noted the power of words – and suggested a revision to the way the industry refers to its “by-product” innovations and initiatives.

“By-product is an industrial term, it’s not a consumer term,” Hajipieris said during the Summit session “Maximizing the Whole Fish: How By-products Can Increase Food Production, Value, And Sustainability.” 

Engaging consumers with “by-products” won’t be as effective using such a term, he said. A classification like “value-added” would serve to better encapsulate the product innovations created from fish parts that go beyond the fillet, which accounts for less than 50 percent of the whole animal.

“Stop calling it ‘by-product’ – it’s value-added,” Hajipieris added. “That is a key mindset change that I think we need to encourage.” 

Regal Springs – which operates tilapia and fish farms in rural areas of Mexico, Honduras and Indonesia – aims to “reset the framework” regarding the way it approaches and discusses sustainable product innovations that incorporate discarded fish parts via its Zero Fish Waste Policy, explained Hajipieris. 

The policy, which stands as “a classic sustainability value creation story lead by a good, commercial business,” ensures that fish parts not used in the company’s core product range – including fillets, loins, and portions – are innovatively repurposed into commodities such as animal feeds, bandages for the pharmaceutical industry, belts for the high-end fashion sector, and collagen for the beauty business.

These products created from the balance of Regal Springs’ core premium fish range have added considerable value to the business, and have informed the company’s innovative approach to sustainability.

 “It’s a high cost material – why waste it? Just maximize it by innovating,” Hajipieris said. “And it’s the innovation piece that I think the sector’s going to get really focused on.”

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