Fighting food waste: Finnish foodtech company is innovating to upcycle seafood side streams

Finnish foodtech company, Hailia​, has created a system by which fishing industry side streams can be upcycled into mainstream seafood​ products. The innovative new approach uses all edible parts of the fish, avoiding unnecessary waste and enabling fish processors to add value to the raw materials.

“Food waste is a significant issue in the seafood industry” Michaela Lindström, Managing Director of Hailia, told FoodNavigator.

“Up to 70% of the catch weight of fish, depending on fish species, ends up as side streams. It does not only contribute to economic losses but also has environmental implications, impacting marine ecosystems and sustainability efforts.”

What are food industry side streams?

Side streams in the food industry can best be described as waste products, which are not used by the primary industry, but instead sold onto another industry sector for use.

In the seafood industry, side streams are predominantly fish heads, guts, frames and processing water. These are often sold to produce low-value products, such as animal feed.

What’s involved and what is the finished product?

Hailia is extracting more from each fish carcass, including parts which were previously cast-off into side streams or discarded as waste, and turning them into a product, which resembles a cooked fillet of fish. The finished seafood is prepared with an appetising consistency and flavour, providing plenty of healthy nutrients, which would otherwise have been lost.

“Our novel process allows us to achieve a texture and mouthfeel reminiscent of a cooked fillet of fish, without fishbones or other particles disturbing the mouthfeel,” explains Lindström.