Load a charter plane full of salmon bound for Japan
Did you know that Japan did not use salmon for sushi until the mid-1980s? In 1995, the first of a total thousand charter planes set off for Japan, fully loaded with Norwegian salmon, which is now one of the most sought-after products in the world. In 2017, Lerøy sent 9,000 tonnes of fresh salmon and salmon fillet and 1,250 tonnes of fresh trout to Japan. Lerøy supplies 25 out of every 100 salmon delivered to Japan. Sushi is also on trend in Norway.
Lerøy produces more than 40,000,000 pieces of sushi every year.
Distribution of fresh seafood in Norway
In 2006, Lerøy was selected as the main supplier to NorgesGruppen and Meny. This resulted in a profitable cooperation and – with a focus on control, quality and efficient distribution – it allowed Lerøy to supply high-quality, fresh fish to an increasing number of consumers. As part of the cooperation, regional wholesalers formed a network that was named Sjømatgruppen. This network is now a nationwide supplier to the major customer groups, such as hotels, canteens and the public sector, but also to small and larger fish counters in grocery stores nationwide. This is an example of how Lerøy continuously works to provide a wide range of seafood to all consumers, and to supply top quality fish to both restaurants and the tiniest, local stores.
Fully integrated supplier of red and whitefish
With the acquisition of Norway Seafoods and Havfisk in 2016, Lerøy became a fully integrated supplier of red and whitefish. Havfisk, with ten trawlers, is the largest trawler operator in Norway, fishing mainly for cod, haddock and saithe. Lerøy Norway Seafoods has more than 130 years of experience in the whitefish industry and receives fish from 1,700 local fishermen. Their deliveries in total are equivalent to 200 million fish meals per year. Lerøy Seafood Group is therefore no longer merely the world’s second largest producer of trout and salmon but is now a seafood corporation. This affords the Group much more control of the entire value chain, from sea to plate, and a new and unique position, not just in Norway, but worldwide.
Total ban on the use of chitin inhibitors
Chitin inhibitors have been used for a number of years as a form of medication for fish in cages. These substances have been approved by Norwegian authorities and are still in use in the fish farming industry. However, the Directorate of Fisheries has laid down restrictions on the use due to suspicions that some combinations of chitin inhibitors can harm certain species during ecdysis. To date, there is no documentation to show that use is harmful, but Lerøy Seafood Group has chosen to take a precautionary approach and has therefore eliminated use of these substances.
Defrosting using radio waves
Lerøy's filleting facility in Stamsund in Lofoten is currently testing a technological innovation for fillet production. Imagine a microwave oven similar to the one most of us have at home, where you can quickly defrost or heat frozen food, so it is ready to eat. At Stamsund, they are now testing radio waves to defrost fish prior to production. The radio waves are longer and as such less intense than microwaves and can be used to defrost gutted fish without heads in blocks of 48 kg from completely frozen to a temperature of minus 2-3 degrees in just under 90 minutes. This is most probably the first time this has ever been achieved with blocks of fish. It is common knowledge that Lofoten is the home of cod. The seas around Lofoten are where the cod come every year in the winter to spawn the next generation. The winter cod season in Lofoten is from February to April, and fishing is intense during this period. However, fish processing plants require delivery of raw materials all year around. By freezing fish just hours after they have been caught, the fish remain completely fresh, and with modern defrosting technology, Stamsund can produce using fresh fish all year around.
Fish farms with ASC certificates
Lerøy Seafood Group has taken part in the development of the ASC standard since 2004 and it was the first company worldwide to achieve chain of custody for their sales, distribution and processing, which also includes smoking fish. Lerøy now makes weekly supplies of salmon with ASC certificates from Norway all year round. ASC certification is an integral part of Lerøy's business development and the Group continues to gain certification for an increasing number of facilities. The ASC salmon standard is the strictest standard for responsible fish farming and requires a much higher level of inspection than ever before. The process for certification involves an independent third party and a number of standard requirements for factors such as feed and traceability.
Packaging fresh fish in aluminium trays in Norway
In 2007, Lerøy introduced a new range of products that make it much easier to have fresh fish fillets for dinner – fresh fish in aluminium trays that can go straight into the oven. The product was naturally called “Rett i Ovnen” or “Oven ready” and was set to revolutionise consumption of salmon. This new product was so successful that Lerøy Seafood still supplies their finest salmon, cod and catfish fillets in these recyclable trays. What started out as just a good idea has now become the standard form of packaging for fresh fillets sold in Norway today. In 2017, Lerøy developed the “Til Låns” campaign together with Norsk Gjenvinning. The name of the campaign translates as “on loan”, and it showed the general public that the aluminium trays could be recycled almost perpetually if they were deposited in the recycling station for metal and glass. If all the aluminium trays used by Lerøy every year in production are recycled, they could be used to manufacture 6,000 bicycles and would provide a reduction in our ecological footprint.
Several species in one location
In 2014, Ocean Forest was established as a cooperative project with the environmental association Bellona. Ocean Forest cultivates kelp and mussels to absorb phosphorous, nitrogen and CO2 from fish in fish farms. IMTA stands for Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture, which in practice means cultivating several species in one location. Ocean Forest also cultivates macroalgae in the same localities as salmon farms, and Lerøy was one of the very first companies in Norway to do so.