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Value creation for the future

The world’s most efficient and sustainable value chain
Lerøy’s fully integrated value chain for seafood is an efficient value chain, with improved resource utilisation. The world's most efficient value chain is also one of the world's most sustainable value chains for food production.
From roe to table, from fjord to table. From our parent fish facilities for salmon and trout and our own trawlers or the coastal fleet to prepacked fresh ready meals in the shops. 
 
“Long-term investments in innovation and technological developments have secured increased efficiency for Lerøy’s value chain, optimal quality and food safety throughout the chain. An efficient value chain is also a sustainable value chain from several perspectives: the climate, social sustainability and, of course, financial sustainability,” explains Henning Beltestad, CEO of Lerøy Seafood Group.
 
 
QR code tracking
Ever since 2003, Lerøy has been able to provide customers with extended traceability from roe to finished and packaged product. For many years now, Norwegian consumers who have purchased Lerøy salmon in shops have also had access to full traceability of the fish. 
 
We have now taken this one step further and can offer our customers extended traceability with a QR code on the packaging in the shops. This has been developed together with the French Carrefour Group, but we can offer the same solution for all customers who request it. 
 
Our goal is to provide the same traceability for whitefish in 2020. 
 
Reusing almost all water
Over time, Lerøy has invested several billion Norwegian kroner in every part of the value chain for both red fish and whitefish. Recycling plants for smolt production provide substantial reductions in both fresh water and energy consumption. Mud generated in the RAS plants is transformed into fertilizer for agricultural purposes. 
"An efficient value chain is also a sustainable value chain from several perspectives: the climate, social sustainability and, of course, financial sustainability”
Henning Beltestad, CEO of Lerøy Seafood Group
The investments in RAS technology not only allow better utilisation of fresh water and energy, they also provide significant, positive contributions to the next part of the value chain. Stronger and more robust fish mean less treatments in the cages. Moreover, the fish spend less time in the sea, with reductions in the discharge of nutrient salts and feed waste.
 
 
Remote monitored feeding
At our farming localities, feeding is controlled by growth centres that ensure optimal feeding, less feed loss and a reduction in resource wastage. Lerøy’s feed specialists monitor feeding with live transmission of high-resolution images. Sensors also provide measurements of salt and oxygen content, temperature, feed intake etc. This helps ensure optimal conditions for the fish and collection of data, which is analysed to enable continuous improvements to the value chain. 
 
Once the fish has reached the correct weight and is ready for slaughter, this process takes place in high-tech facilities, helping ensure improved quality and high food safety. At Lerøy’s new facility on Jøsnøya island in Hitra, the fish swim directly from the well boat into the facility, where they are anaesthetised. They are then transported through what is probably the world's most modern facility of its kind. 
 
 
Increased processing in Norway
From the moment the fish enter the facility until they shortly after leave as packaged fillets, they have been through a process including slaughter, sorting, gutting, 3D scanning, filleting and removing bones etc. The fish is then sent directly to transport, ready for customers worldwide. 
“Our vision is for the fish to have their full life cycle, from roe to packaged fillet, without being touched by human hands. We are now very close to achieving this vision,” confirms Henning Beltestad. 
 
Lerøy's investments in innovation and technology have also resulted in more processing activities in Norway. The goal is to further increase the level of processing. This will in turn generate more and safer jobs throughout the country, and will result in a substantial reduction in transport volume, as the vehicles used for transport will be fully loaded with fillets instead of whole fish. All residual raw materials are utilised, so that the facility makes use of 100% of every fish. The raw materials may be used to produce salmon oil, animal feed or biofuel. Trondheim's buses, for example, are powered by residual raw materials from Lerøy's salmon. 
 
 
3D-scan and water jet
Lerøy also has control of the entire value chain for whitefish – from the moment the net full of fish is hauled onboard the trawler until the fish is on a plate on the consumer’s dining table. Lerøy has renewed its trawler fleet and now has some of the world’s most modern trawlers, with increasing energy efficiency. Residual raw materials are utilised, some for direct sale and others converted into fishmeal, fish oil or animal feed on board the trawlers. 
 
When the fish are landed, they are processed in modernised facilities, either in Melbu, Berlevåg, Kjøllefjord, Stamsund or Bulandet, to mention a few. All these facilities have been significantly upgraded, requiring major investments. The fish can, for example, be scanned in 3D now to establish quality and to show the best way to fillet the fish. A powerful jet of water cuts like a laser through the fish, ensuring improved quality and optimal raw material utilisation for the end product. The facility in Stamsund produces fish cakes and other fish products from trimmings from fillet production, so that the focus at all times in production is to create the best consumer products using the highest percentage possible of residual raw materials. Fish heads, tongues, cheeks, liver, roe, stomachs, milt, backbones with swim bladder – everything is sorted and packaged, making use of the entire fish.
 
 
Sustainable growth
“This journey, from the juvenile fish plant, via the RAS plant, to the fish farm and then the factory is designed to safeguard fish health, the environment and climate. Our modernisation of the trawler fleet and whitefish factories is also an important factor in our efficient, fully integrated value chain. This also provides sustainable growth,” explains Henning Beltestad. 
 
“We are doing our utmost to process as much of the fish as possible along the Norwegian coast, or in other words, as close to its origins as possible, in order to minimise our climate footprint and global transport of raw materials. It is perhaps this, more than anything else, that is the most recognisable feature of Lerøy's value chain and makes us one of the world’s most efficient and sustainable seafood suppliers.”
Valencia, Spain
Spanish sushi adventure
Small, delicious and in demand. The Spanish people have recently discovered (and delight in) Japanese sushi – produced locally using Norwegian salmon.

Workers dressed from head to toe in white, wearing masks to cover their mouths and noses and with blue plastic aprons and gloves move quickly from production station to production station in the huge factory halls in Valencia. Beautifully sliced salmon, tuna and shrimp are efficiently draped over carefully weighed fingers of rice placed on white trays. Quick hands fill black trays with an assorted selection of nigiri or salmon sashimi before the trays continue on the conveyor belt to the packaging and transport stations.

Every single day, 65 employees at the new Lerøy plant in Valencia produce up to 60,000 delicious pieces of sushi for the Spanish people. 2019 was the first entire year of operations for the factory, where production started in the spring of 2018.

“The healthy cuisine from Asia is increasing in popularity on the Spanish market, and we have specialised in ready meals such as sushi. These products are becoming more and more popular with consumers in Spain,” explains Antonio Diez, CEO for Lerøy in Spain. He is in charge of four factories and a total of 429 employees in Spain, where the main activities are processing of fish and ready meals.

The Spanish factories produced more than six million trays of ready seafood meals in 2019.

Intense start-up
“Previously, we sold whole salmon and whitefish to Spain, and we have had a strong position on the Spanish market for many years. We wanted to gain a closer position to the market, and this required us to set up our own production in Spain. With local production, we can achieve the level of flexibility needed to supply processed seafood to the market. We opened sales and distribution in Spain in 2013, with our headquarters in Madrid,” explains Lina Larsen, Sales and Concept Manager in Spain.

Antonio Diez has his office in Madrid, where he is in charge of administration for Lerøy Processing Spain. In January 2013, he was the first – and at that time only – Lerøy employee in Spain, and can now look back on a busy and eventful period.


“I’ve had a number of exciting years setting up the facilities in Barcelona, Valencia and Alicante, in addition to the one in Madrid. Our factory in Valencia is the first that we have built based entirely on our own specifications. With this factory, we have focused on efficiency and sustainable energy systems, and we reuse energy to the greatest extent possible. However, the most important issues when producing ready meals are hygiene and food safety – and we have developed excellent routines in this field, which we are happy to share with the rest of the Lerøy Group,” he proudly confirms.

“I hope Lerøy will stay in Valencia for ever,” says Nuria Peris.

Continuous growth
The factory in Valencia extended its product range in 2019:
“We set up a separate production line for gyoza last year. Gyoza are Japanese dumplings, and the new production line is completely new, modern, automated and extremely efficient. We have high expectations for this product and our production,” Antonio Diez confirms. However, even though we have a number of machines to simplify production, our employees are still the heart and soul of our factories.


“Our employees play an extremely important role, obviously. Our goal is to make sure they want to work for Lerøy for many years to come. If we are to achieve this, we have to give them the space to develop and enjoy their work. We are now in the process of actively communicating the company’s core values, so that everyone at work is aware of what honest, open, responsible and creative mean,” explains the CEO.

“For me, Lerøy is a company that allows its employees the potential to grow professionally. I feel valued as a person here, and not just as a number among all the employees."
Staff member at Lerøy Valencia

Feel valued
In conversations with the employees, we hear words such as pride, responsibility and stability over and over again.

“For me, Lerøy is a company that allows its employees the potential to grow professionally. I feel valued as a person here, and not just as a number among all the employees,” says one of the staff at Valencia during a survey recently conducted by the Lerøy Group.

Another employee explained how Lerøy has helped increase his quality of life: “I feel flattered that a foreign company is investing in our local community and helping the people of Valencia dream about living a full life. It gives us faith that there are still good people in this world.”

Urk, the Netherlands
Rhapsody in blue – and salmon pink
When someone in the US eats Norwegian smoked salmon from Lerøy, there’s a good chance it was produced here, at Lerøy Seafood Centre in the Dutch town of Urk.

A sea of blue. This is the overwhelming impression on entering the premises of Lerøy Seafood Center in the Dutch fishing town of Urk. Everything is blue: the massive ventilation pipes in the ceiling, the conveyor belt, the robust concrete floor – even the employees’ workwear. And the main product, the pinky-orange salmon that is the basis for most of what happens here, really stands out against all that blue.

“If you close your eyes, you can smell that we smoke fish here. But otherwise the air is really fresh, thanks to a state-of-the-art ventilation system,” emphasises CEO Tjeerd Hoekstra.

During 2019, just over 3000 tonnes of fish in the form of smoked salmon slices left the factory for destinations all over the world. Or as prepacked fresh fish for grocery stores in the local area. 2019 was the first full year of production for the factory, which opened in 2018, the fifth Lerøy factory in the Netherlands.

Engaged manager
“We have the potential to increase production much more. This year, we expect to produce between 4000 and 5000 tonnes, but in the long term we could produce 15,000 tonnes a year here, doubling production in the Netherlands,” says Tjeerd Hoekstra, CEO of Rodé Vis, the subsidiary that runs the Dutch factories. He’s been with Rodé Vis for over 25 years and, in the same way as Norwegians are born with skis on their feet, people from Urk are born with fish scales. Hoekstra is no exception:

-“The passion for fish and fish production has always been there, and both my father and grandfather worked in the industry. I started on the factory floor and I know the entire production process well, so the factory workers and I speak the same language. And I recognise the quality of the products when I’m on the factory floor – I don’t need to ask,” he points out. He talks us through his working day as an engaged CEO:

The new factory in Urk is full of new technology and energy-efficient solutions. The roof is covered with solar panels. The surplus heat from the smoking oven heats the water used to wash down the entire factory.
“I usually wake before the alarm goes off at 04.45. I’m at work by 05.30 to attend the morning production meeting, where I have chance to ask all manner of questions. I also try to take a walk through all our factories several times a week, so that I can talk to colleagues in production. I think this helps to create a sense of pride and engagement."
 
Proud employees
And the employees corroborate this. As part of its work to create a shared corporate culture for all its facilities in Norway and abroad, Lerøy questioned employees around Europe about the Group’s values and their evaluation of the company as a whole. 
Employees in Urk particularly emphasised the fact that the management seem to be genuinely interested in the employees’ wellbeing. 
 
One of the employees wrote: “Lerøy is a proud and stable employer”, while another highlighted that “the management is in close contact with us employees, and we feel well looked after.” At the same time, Hoekstra points out all the internal opportunities available to employees by virtue of working for a big company. 
Around 70 employees work in two shifts at the new Lerøy Seafood Center in Urk.

Built for the future
Not only is the business in the Netherlands large with its five factories, the new factory is also much larger than the current production volume requires:
“Lerøy Seafood Center has been built for the future,” emphasises Ivar Wulff, COO Sales and Distribution, from Lerøy’s head office in Bergen. He explains that the new factory is streamlined for optimally efficient production of smoked fish on the one side and prepacked fresh seafood on the other, quite literally.
“Yes, the premises are large with plenty of open space so we can easily change the production line and configuration. This is an investment in the future – it’s as simple as that.”

Stamsund, Norway
The cornerstone
Can a fishcake really create stability and predictability? Indeed it can – that’s exactly what’s happened in Stamsund.

Stamsund. One of many postcard motifs from the “inside” of Lofoten, with the mountains plunging into the Vestfjord and a handful of holms and skerries encircling the old fishing village. Fishing has been the most important source of income here for generations, and the villagers have experienced both good times and bad. In 2016, Lerøy purchased Stamsund’s fish-processing business, and today the factory alone employs around 100 people. That’s equivalent to 10% of Stamsund’s population.


“There’s no doubt that the factory is important to Stamsund as a local community: it’s the cornerstone business in the village,” explains factory manager Steffen Andersen. In autumn 2018, Lerøy started up a project that has consolidated the business’s position and importance:


“We rebuilt the entire factory. The external walls are the same but everything inside is new or has been modernised. And in April 2019, we introduced a new dual-production system in the factory, with filleting on the one side and fishcake production on the other. This ensures year-round use of the facility, and is important for people working here,” Andersen emphasises.

"We’re using much more of the fish now than before. Everything that is left after the fish has been filleted and all the innards, skin and bone have been removed is used as raw material for fish farce, which in turn becomes fishcakes."
Steffen Andersen, Factory manager in Stamsund
Value generation and less food waste
Several dozen tonnes of fishcakes now leave the factory every single week, to be transported to Norwegian grocery chains such as Kiwi, Spar, Meny and Nærbutikken. Wild-caught Norwegian cod, saithe and haddock make up between 52 and 80% of the fishcakes – and Andersen says that an unusually large number of fishcakes were eaten in Stamsund last spring: 
 
“Well, we had to work out both the best recipe and the most efficient way of making the fishcakes, so we handed out many different fishcakes locally during the trial phase. After all, we didn’t want to throw them away,” Andersen smiles. Lerøy takes food waste seriously. One of the Group’s sustainability goals is to use more of its raw materials and, in concrete terms, it is working to increase the edible percentage of current food waste by a full 50%. This is why making fishcakes is a smart solution. 
 
“Yes, we’re using much more of the fish now than before. Everything that is left after the fish has been filleted and all the innards, skin and bone have been removed is used as raw material for fish farce, which in turn becomes fishcakes,” explains the factory manager. 
Steffen Andersen is the factory manager and, although he eats fishcakes from his own factory at least once a week, hjellosing (cod or spawning cod that has been semi-dried outside) and crispy cod tongues remain his favourite ways to eat fish.

Something completely new
The employees are trained to work at all stages of the production chain, so that they can rotate both internally on the production line and between filleting and processed fish.


“The idea behind this is twofold. Firstly, purely in terms of ergonomics, it’s good for the employees to be able to vary their working position. Secondly, we’re building a more robust workforce, making us more flexible and able to adjust production according to the supply of raw materials. Now that we have a more automated production system with new, modern machinery, we also require different skills from our employees. Previously, we had many manual operations, but now they need a greater understanding of machinery. It has been a challenging transition for many, but I feel we’re on the right track now,” says Andersen.


“It’s been fantastic to be able to invest in, build and create something completely new in the Lerøy context. After all, we haven’t been involved in this type of production before, so it’s been an exciting challenge for us. It’s brought us closer together too, at the same time as really giving us chance to show that we’re working in accordance with one of Lerøy’s core values: being creative.”

The converted fish-processing factory provides jobs all year round – something that hasn’t always been a given in the fishing industry. If fresh fish for filleting is in short supply, they can defrost frozen fish, and possibly ramp up fishcake production instead.
Important part of the strategy
The Lerøy Group has invested heavily in processing and expanded factory capacity along the coast of Norway in recent years. Ivar Wulff, COO Sales and Distribution, explains why: 

“Part of our strategy is specialisation for the various factories we have in North Norway. Previously, they have been fairly similar, both in terms of what they produced and the markets they served, resulting in fairly low profitability. Now we’re working instead on specialisation, so that these factories make specific products that are aimed at both a national and international market. The investment in Stamsund is in line with this strategy,” says Wulff.