New technology turns the whole fish into food


Credit: Unsplash / CC0 Public Domain

In the meat industry, it is common practice to turn the whole animal into food. In the fishing industry, over half of the fish’s weight ends up as tributaries that never reach our plates. This puts a strain on the environment and is out of step with Swedish food and fisheries strategies. Now, food researchers at Chalmers are introducing a new sorting technology, which means we get five good cuts from fish and not just the fillet. A herring processing plant on Sweden’s west coast is already implementing the new method.

Once the fillet itself is removed from one fish, which remain valuable sidestreams that can be converted into products such as nuggets, farce, protein isolates or omega-3 rich oils. Despite such great potential, these products are leaving food chain to become animal feed or in the worst case to be discarded. In order to utilize valuable nutrients and switch to more sustainable procedures, the way we treat fish needs to change.

All cuts are handled with care

“With our new sorting method, the whole fish is treated with the same care as the fillet. The focus is on maintaining quality throughout the value chain. Instead of putting the various side streams in a single container to become by-products, they are handled separately, just like in the meat industry“says research leader Ingrid Undeland, professor of food science at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering at Chalmers.

The research was conducted as part of an international project called Waseabi. Chalmers researchers have recently published their findings in the scientific journal, Food chemistry.

“Our study shows that this type of sorting technology is important, especially as it means we can avoid very perishable sidestream cuts mixed with the more stable cuts. This new method provides fresh opportunities to produce high quality food,” says Chalmers researcher Haizhou Wu, first author of the scientific article.

‘The interest is there’

The new sorting method for separating the five different cutouts is being introduced at one of the partner companies in the research project. Fish processing company, Sweden Pelagic in Ellös on the island of Orust, already uses parts of the method in its production and has had good results.

“Sorting technology gives us many more opportunities to develop healthy, new and tasty foods and to expand our product range. This year, we estimate that we will produce around 200-300 tons of farce from one of the new cuts, and we aim against increasing that number year by year The interest is there, in food industry and public meal production segments such as school catering, “says Martin Kuhlin, CEO of Sweden Pelagic.

New dipping solution turns the whole fish into valuable food

More information:
Haizhou Wu et al., Lipid oxidation in sorted herring (Clupea harengus) filleting by-products from two seasons and its relationship to composition, Food chemistry (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.foodchem.2021.131523

Citation: New technology turns whole fish into food (2022, June 28) Retrieved July 18, 2022 from

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