With increasing interest in bio food and growing consciousness regarding animals’ wellbeing, the number of intensive breeding farms is dropping significantly. One of the countries where the trend is already in place is Portugal.
The first Atlantic salmon farms in Norway were created in the 60s with the aim to breed fishes in cages, and thus assure high sales. The initiative was successful and spread from Europe to countries all over the world, including Chile and Canada. The rapid increase in production led to a significant market saturation. Today, it is estimated that aquaculture, or farming, covers two-thirds of the total production of salmon. What's more, according to recent data provided by the European Commission, up to 68% of our intake of fish and seafood comes from outside the European Union.
Local products are healthier and tastier
Experts estimate that the fish delivered to our homes a few decades ago were much less greasy and richer in micro elements such as omega 3. It shouldn't be therefore surprising that more and more people choose fish products which are produced by small, local businesses based on a traditional recipe inherited from past generations. This trend is already noticeable for example in Portugal:
- We have great Portuguese seafood. Time is the most important component needed for production - explains Filipe Dams, CEO of Hardy, a salmon producing company known for his unique recipe to prepare smoked fish. In fact, they need to take care of every detail, because all the steps in the production process are done by hand, without any use of preservatives of course. - The key issue is the quality of the fish that we buy from small producers and local fish mongers. We only use suitable wood for the smokehouse, provided by local family owned company Coopers, that maintains optimized thermal conditions - adds Filipe Dams, who did not want to reveal details of his recipe. This
is one of Portugal’s best kept secrets.
Technological innovation in the production
Maintaining family tradition proved to be a success also from the business point of view. In Portugal there is a noticeable trend of ordering products from local suppliers. Business owners estimate that over the next three years, local production could rise by up to 75%. The increase in production should not impact the tradition - salmon from Hardy still has to be prepared according to their traditional recipe. One of the most important factors is that temperature maintains below 20°C during the smoking process. To do it, Hardy uses the temperature monitoring system installed by AP Portugal, the local partner of Blulog, a French-Polish supplier of monitoring solutions.
- We installed the equipment in cold rooms and smokehouses which require constant monitoring of temperature and humidity. Production processes are very long, so monitoring is important 24/7. In case of any anomaly, the staff is immediately informed - system sends automatic notifications via SMS or e-mail - explains André Gonçalves, Project Manager at AP Portugal. Smoked salmon produced using natural methods is popular in many establishments in Portugal - restaurants, healthy food stores, etc., but also increasingly exported to other countries.