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A Bergen-based company, Salmoncuts, is aiming to cut down on waste in the seafood industry.
Two Norwegian entrepreneurs want to change the way we think about salmon offcuts.
The Bergen‑based company Salmoncuts is aiming to redefine these products as top-quality ingredients, in an effort to cut down on food waste.
Stian Trellevik, one of the company’s founders, explains that while working in the seafood industry, he noticed that cuts such as salmon heads and bellies are often seen as “by-products”.
They are commonly used to produce fish feed or, in the worst cases, simply thrown away.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. As Trellevik points out, “these cuts of salmon are very much enjoyed by diners in other parts of the world such as Asia and Eastern Europe.”
Salmoncuts’ two founders, Andre Skoge (left) and Stian Johannes Trellevik, want to raise the profile of Norwegian salmon offcuts.
Waste not, want not
In countries such as China and the Philippines, fish heads often go towards making tasty broths or curries. Elsewhere, in Eastern European countries, salmon bellies are highly prized.
Trellevik, and his co-founder André Aasgard Skoge, want to see a higher proportion of Norwegian offcuts being sold to these countries in future.
This can provide a better income for fish farmers, while also leading to less food waste.
Trellevik says, “Taking this step will help aquaculture companies to become more sustainable. This will be increasingly important for seafood consumers in coming years.”
Now, he and his co-founder believe they have worked out the formula for success.
From by-products to delicacies
The two entrepreneurs are aiming to rebrand Norway’s salmon offcuts as high-end delicacies.
Trellevik explains that although some aqua farmers already supply these cuts to the Asian market, there is a lot of room for improvement.
The offcuts are usually offloaded quickly and cheaply, with little thought towards branding or marketing.
Instead, explains Trellevik, “We are working with Asian wholesalers to fine tune our product, and to create more attractive packaging.”
He believes that this will help Norwegian fish farmers to gain a higher price for their wares.
Ultimately, this will ensure that a higher share of Norway’s farmed salmon ends up on dinner plates across the world.
The founders want to ensure that more Norwegian salmon goes to feed people around the world.
A Christmas gift with a difference
The two founders are already making a big impression within the local seafood industry.
At the beginning of 2019, Trellevik and Skoge were crowned the winners of western Norway’s “Founder’s Christmas Gift” (Gründerjulepresangen) competition.
This annual event sets out to reward the region’s most exciting aquaculture start‑ups. Each year, the lucky winners receive a package of business support and benefits with a value of nearly $30,000 dollars.
Trellevik says, “Winning the Founder’s Christmas Gift prize felt really great, and the help we have received has been amazing.”
This has included working with a local designer to create new packaging for their salmon boxes, as well as support in applying for grants from Innovation Norway.
With committed founders, and an ambitious business idea, Salmoncuts might yet succeed in rebranding salmon offcuts as a true Norwegian delicacy.
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