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‘Surge in salmon industry interest’ in freezing tech

Skaginn's Ragnar Guðmundsson reports increased enquiries from the salmon industry. Photo: Skaginn 3X.
Skaginn's Ragnar Guðmundsson reports increased enquiries from the salmon industry. Photo: Skaginn 3X.

A switch in demand from fresh to frozen fish caused by the Covid-19 outbreak has prompted a surge of interest in freezing technology from producers including the farmed salmon industry, according to Icelandic processing equipment manufacturer Skaginn 3X.

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The company said the closure of restaurants, hotels and fresh seafood counters in response to the outbreak had caused the demand for fresh fish to plummet.

But as buyers’ patterns of shopping turn to stockpiling, demand for frozen seafood had risen sharply, and many producers were already retooling their processing lines towards frozen production, either in part or in whole.

Skaginn's Automatic Contact Freezer is one option being looked at by fish producers. Click on image to enlarge.
Skaginn's Automatic Contact Freezer is one option being looked at by fish producers. Click on image to enlarge.

‘Big uptick in demand’

“We’re already seeing a big uptick in demand for freezing solutions,” said Ragnar Guðmundsson, Skaginn’s sales operations director for Europe, who said there had been interest from the salmon farming industry in Scotland, Europe, Scandinavia and the United States.

“We’re proud to be able to equip our partners without delay with the kind of equipment that allows them to freeze product at peak quality in a cost-efficient way and get it out to the market quickly.”

Guðmundsson said one of the products most in demand was its Automatic Contact Freezer, a fully automated machine available in a range of capacities, up to 100 tons per 24 hours for a single unit.

Adapting quickly

The sales director said there was very little wait time for new machinery, but that the company was making every effort to meet increased demand.

“As an industry we’ve got to adapt as quickly as possible and seize the opportunities we’re presented with,” said Guðmundsson.

The Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) has reported strong demand for fresh salmon in the UK supermarket sector, but exports have been badly hit and companies supplying the food service sector have seen their market disappear.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has given Scottish farmers dispensation to breach biomass limits if they are forced to delay harvesting because of the effects of Covid-19.

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