OSLO, Norway, & AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pioneering Norwegian fish farmers Kvarøy and Selsøyvik worked together with importer Blue Circle Foods, leading feed company BioMar and Whole Foods Market, to create In the Blue, an innovative farmed fish feed that conserves marine resources and reduces environmental contaminants in farmed salmon.
The new feed has led to the first farmed salmon with a fish-in, fish-out ratio below 1-to-1, earning it a “Good Alternative” rating from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program, a rare mark for farmed salmon. Other salmon farms have ratios that average approximately 1.6-to-1, though Whole Foods Market’s aquaculture standards have target ratios of 1-to-1, which In the Blue worked to exceed.
Unlike conventional feeds, which are produced with fish caught solely for feed, In the Blue is made with trimmings from wild-caught fish that are already bound for human consumption. The trimmings are pressed into oil that is cleaned to reduce environmental contaminants like heavy metals and PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls). Because environmental contaminants found in farmed fish are predominantly passed through feed ingredients, removing those substances from the oil keeps them out of salmon that end up on dinner plates.
The production method for this salmon feed was developed by connecting existing capabilities. The trimmings are sourced from established wild-caught seafood processors, and the oil-cleaning technology is already common in producing fish oil supplements.
This salmon is sold at Whole Foods Market, which launched its rigorous farmed salmon standards in 2007 and has continued to strengthen the requirements every year since. The company implements this continuous improvement process, which includes third-party-audited metrics for fish-in, fish-out ratios and contaminant levels among the other standards, to create a model of more sustainable aquaculture for the industry. Blue Circle Foods, BioMar and the fish farmers worked to exceed these standards with In the Blue feed.
“We knew we’d have to make a significant investment of time and budget to create this custom feed for only two farms, but the risk was definitely worth it when we saw the difference this process could make for consumers, the industry and our planet,” said Vidar Gundersen, Group Sustainability Manager for BioMar. “This kind of innovation is only possible because of the inspiration and partnership with Blue Circle Foods, and the purchasing commitment from Whole Foods Market. Together, we believe this farmed seafood approach will help feed the world sustainably, safely and, of course, deliciously.”
“This new approach to fish feed is so exciting because it’s exactly the kind of industry-leading solution that we hoped would result from Whole Foods Market’s Responsibly Farmed standards,” said Carrie Brownstein, seafood quality standards coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “We developed ambitious yet achievable standards to create a model of more sustainable aquaculture, and we are thrilled to see In the Blue bring that to life with better farmed salmon for our shoppers, and a better example for the industry at large.”
In addition to meeting Whole Foods Market’s Responsibly Farmed standards, In the Blue earned Blue Circle’s farmed salmon a “Good Alternative” rating from Seafood Watch. The program defines “sustainable seafood” as seafood from sources, whether wild-caught or farmed, that can maintain or increase production without jeopardizing the structure and function of affected ecosystems. This net gain of protein that Blue Circle Foods has achieved by using trimmings helped meet those sustainability goals.
Going forward, all stakeholders involved - BioMar, Blue Circle Foods and Whole Foods Market - hope the model created for farmed salmon feed can become common practice, and eventually expand to other species. The sooner the market will support this kind of growth, the industry and consumers alike can expect this highest quality farmed seafood to become an even more affordable, sustainable protein option.
For more information, and links to photo assets, please visit media.wfm.com.
For video featuring the experts behind In the Blue, visit https://vimeo.com/bluecirclefoods/intheblue.
About Blue Circle
Founded in 2005 by four food enthusiasts, Blue Circle Foods is not your average seafood company. With deep roots in the organic industry, we made it a priority to be at the forefront of a revolution in production, practice and taste. Together we bring our revolutionary spirit to the oceans with a bold mission to change the diminishing seafood landscape for good. We source, import and distribute the most responsible farm-raised and wild-caught seafood to ensure that both present and future consumers can enjoy our high quality products.
About Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett and Selsøyvik
Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett and Selsøyvik are both family run salmon farms, which were established in the late 1970s. Their farm sites are located just north of the Arctic Circle, in Norway. Three generations later, they continue to evolve but their roots lie in the core concepts established by their forefathers; to offer salmon of the highest quality, without compromising the environment or the welfare of the fish.
About The BioMar Group
The BioMar Group is one of the leading suppliers of high performance fish feed to the aquaculture industry. BioMar’s main business areas are feed for salmon and trout in Norway, the United Kingdom, and Chile, feed for trout, eel, sea-bass, and sea-bream in Continental Europe, and feed for shrimp and tilapia in South and Central America. About one out of four farmed fish produced in Europe, Chile and South and Central America are fed with BioMar fish feed. Worldwide the BioMar Group supplies feed to around 60 countries and to more than 30 different fish species.
About Whole Foods Market®
Founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas, Whole Foods Market (wholefoodsmarket.com) (NASDAQ: WFM), is the leading natural and organic food retailer. As America’s first national certified organic grocer, Whole Foods Market was named “America’s Healthiest Grocery Store” by Health magazine. The company's motto, “Whole Foods, Whole People, Whole Planet”™ captures its mission to ensure customer satisfaction and health, Team Member excellence and happiness, enhanced shareholder value, community support and environmental improvement. Thanks to the company’s more than 91,000 team members, Whole Foods Market has been ranked as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” in America by FORTUNE magazine for 18 consecutive years. In fiscal year 2014, the company had sales of more than $14 billion and currently has more than 434 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. For more company news and information, please visit media.wfm.com.