This week, salmon from Skjerstadfjorden is being launched under a new brand name in the USA. Wenberg Fiskeoppdrett and Edelfarm will supply salmon to American plates through their newly developed brand name Nordic Blu.
Text, Tord T. Olsen
Geir and Ørjan Wenberg are together with their colleague Roger Øksheim from the family companies Wenberg Fiskeoppdrett and Edelfarm on their stand at the Boston Seafood Show where they are presenting Nordic Blu.
– It is somewhat unique that a family company from Northern Norway is creating a brand in the USA, so we are very proud, says Geir Wenberg on the stand in Boston.
The seafood show is one of the world’s largest and a perfect venue to raise awareness of the new Nordic Blu brand, which is exported to the major US market.
The adventure is underway
A distribution agreement is already in place, and in January the first delivery of Nordic Blu salmon was shipped to the United States. After about two to three years we are talking about a few thousand tons to a market that pays well. This is primarily due to environmentally conscious customers.
– We work with Clean Fish for distribution in America. Currently it is hotels and restaurants that are our foremost customers, says Wenberg.
At the show, the goal is to make the Nordic Blu brand known and to try to gain a foothold in the market. There is still a lot of work to be done before the large quantities can be distributed.
– At present we are talking about whole fish and fillets. In the long term, it is an ambition to export processed fish, such as smoked salmon. The new Salten Salmon fillet factory in Bodø will play a central role in Nordic Blu’s development in the US market, says Wenberg.
Norwegian salmon is a sought after product in the US and through Nordic Blu the market gets to become part of the salmon adventure that started in a rowing boat in Skjerstadfjorden at the beginning of the 1980s, and which has now evolved into being one of Norway’s most attractive export products.
– We notice the Americans have a love for pure fish products. Lots of people stop and look at the pictures from where we are based. They are happy to stop with us for a while as we become proud ambassadors of Northern Norway, says Wenberg.
Environmentally conscious market
Last year, salmon production in Skjerstadfjorden achieved the highest ranking for environmental friendliness from the organisation Seafood Watch. They are a sea food guide that ranks producers and gives advice to the market on which food production is the most sustainable.
– The fact that we got the best rating is testament to the fact that there is a fairly extreme attitude in our business to the environment – we are the only salmon producer in the world using open net pens and having the highest environmental score, says Wenberg.
Seafood Watch ranking is based on negative effects on the environment, both locally and globally. The US market is passionate about this, and is happy to pay more for environmentally friendly food. At the Boston Seafood Show, it is this environmental aspect that has received the most attention this year.
– It is very motivating to see that all the resources we have invested in to obtain the purest product are paying off in the long term and that more gains will follow, says Wenberg.
From Boston, the company can report that the stand has been very busy and there is considerable interest from visitors to it.
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