A company highly successful in selling salmon products into the human market has recently launched a range of products into the pet food market with the help of Massey University scientists and the Bioresource Processing Alliance (BPA).
New Zealand King Salmon is the largest manufacturer of King Salmon (Chinook) in the world, supplying approximately 50% of the world’s production. New Zealand King Salmon farms, processes and sells a range of King Salmon products to retailers and the foodservice industry in both domestic and export markets with brands including Regal, Southern Ocean, Ora King Salmon and now Omega Plus pet food range.
During processing, New Zealand King Salmon generates a significant amount of by-product which the company was looking to extract higher value from. According to New Zealand King Salmon’s Divisional Manager Simon Thomas, the material is high in nutritional value and is of good enough quality that the company felt it could target a new market with its products by selling salmon-based pet foods with evidence-based health benefits. “New Zealand King Salmon had undertaken some initial development work in the area of pet treats and wanted to build on this by looking at palatability of the products by animals” states Thomas. “We started discussions with the BPA about how the company could access top New Zealand scientists to investigate the products’ acceptability to its target market.”
The BPA is a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment funded research and development programme involving Plant & Food Research, Scion, AgResearch, Callaghan Innovation and university scientists. The BPA’s General Manager Anna Yallop was impressed by New Zealand King Salmon’s ability to develop, enter and promote their new product line in a relatively short timeframe. “The BPA works with companies in the primary sector to find better uses for their biological waste and secondary streams” says Yallop. “We are looking for opportunities to both reduce the amount of waste that is currently going to landfill or is of little value for companies and also help companies generate revenue by developing export products from these streams.”
New Zealand King Salmon identified researchers at the Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences at Massey University to work on the project. Dr Nick Cave and Professor David Thomas from Massey lead the research project and the results were of such value to the company that plans are afoot to approach the BPA for additional funding to conduct trials on the range of pet food products to enable New Zealand King Salmon to target the international market with some additional science behind its nutritional claims.
“We are really excited about the work that the scientists at Massey did with New Zealand King Salmon” says Yallop. “New Zealand has an excellent opportunity to capitalise on its positioning in the international market in terms of developing high quality, natural and safe food products and the pet market is seeing an incredible level of growth that we can take advantage of. Having some sound science to back up company statements is a highly valuable tool that the BPA was pleased to be able to contribute to and we look forward to watching how New Zealand King Salmon’s new product range is received by the domestic market and ultimately, the international one.”