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Making use of salmon blood

Lerøy has managed to find a use, or a market, for everything from swim bladders, fish heads and fish skin. But salmon blood has left the whole aquaculture industry scratching its head.

According to the research organisation SINTEF, the aquaculture industry has a residual raw material utilization rate of approximately 94 percent. The only remaining part that is not utilized is the blood. Transforming the blood into a resource is something the industry has been working on for over 20 years. For years, Lerøy has been collaborating with several R&D communities to explore opportunities and how to exploit them.

 “After working hard for several years to develop this unique product, we are proud to see the results. This really underlines Lerøy’s reputation for innovation and sustainability”, says Mats Trones, who heads the 100% Fish department.

Mats Trones
Mats Trones will lead the new department 100% Fish.

Iron from salmon 

The product, which has been given the name SalmoFer®, is not just the world’s first iron ingredient from salmon, but also the first of its kind.

“To our knowledge, this is the only commercially available iron ingredient from marine raw materials”, explains Mats.

What is unique about SalmoFer® is that it makes use of the protein haemoglobin in the salmon blood. This is naturally rich in heme iron, which is a natural source of iron.

“Heme iron is a fantastic source of iron! Our bodies absorb it more efficiently and easily than non-heme iron”, he says.

In practice, this means you avoid the unwanted side effects such as an upset stomach, constipation and stomach pain, which many people experience when taking iron supplements. In addition, its absorption is not affected by drinking coffee, tea or wine, or by consuming dairy products.


Sustainability in the spotlight 

Lerøy’s goal is to create the world’s most efficient and sustainable value chain for seafood. As a sign of its dedication to this, the company is committed to meeting the Paris Agreement goal of reducing emissions by 46 percent by 2030.

“Lerøy is putting a significant amount of effort into measuring and reducing the greenhouse gas emissions throughout its value chain”, says Anne Hilde Midttveit, Head of ESG & Quality at Lerøy.  

One of the things the company is doing to reach its sustainability goals is making use of a higher proportion of its raw materials.


Strategic focus 

“One of our strategic priorities is to make better use of our own raw materials by increasing the value of our by-products”, says Lerøy’s CEO, Henning Beltestad.

The 100% Fish department, which is behind the product SalmoFer®, was established with that in mind. The department will work on developing, commercialising and selling innovative products made from Lerøy’s own raw ingredients to new market segments.

“By using all our raw ingredients and expertise at Lerøy, as well as our good partnerships with R&D communities, biotech ventures and start-ups, we want to bring more innovative products to market in order to make even better use of our raw materials and add more value”, says Mats.

In relation to the other projects the department is working on, he is keeping his cards close to his chest.

“I cannot give away too much, but I can say that we are already working on several exciting projects, both internally at Lerøy and in partnership with third parties”, says Mats.