Fly-fed salmon tastes “very good”: researcher

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Celebrity chef, Christopher Haatuft, prepared a whole new type of salmon at his Lysverket Restaurant in Bergen on Tuesday. The fish had grown up on feed in which costly fish meal had been replaced with insect meal.

The Bergen-based Haatuft, whose style is described as neo-fjordic punk, has cooked food at New York’s Per Se restaurant, voted the best restaurant in the Big Apple by the New York Times’s food critics.

“It tasted very good, and I don’t notice any difference,” said researcher, Erik-Jan Lock, project leader of the Aquafly project aiming to replace fish meal, which taxes ocean resources, with cultured protein derived from black soldier fly larva. So far, the four-year study has yielded insect meal and insect oil fish seem to like.

Read First crop of insect-fed salmon shows promise

The taste-testing is the final stage of this Europe-wide study hosted in Norway by the Havforskningsinstituttet and a well-financed north-Norwegian research facility. Early studies noticed that feeding the fly’s larva algae yields more iron and Omega 3 in the supplement.

“We saw no difference in fish growth either in the sea or in fresh water. It grew just as well as the salmon that got ordinary fish feed,” Lock said.

More research on taste, quality and fillets are underway at food-research outfit Nofima. Articles in scientific journals and project results are due out soon.

Before the taste tests, Norway’s Food Safety Authority approved the fly-fed salmon. By Christmas 2017, the Authority had approved insect proteins for fish feed (six months after the European Union had issued its approval).

Read New insect feed yields new salmon brand