Turning wasted salmon skin into high-protein chips

Briton Daniel Pawson had a successful career as a top-end chef working in three Michelin-starred restaurants. He’s now turned a restaurant bugbear into a new snacking business.

Throughout his cheffing career, Pawsom was always irked by the tremendous amount of food waste in commercial kitchens.

“As chefs, we saw a huge amount of fish skins being wasted in restaurants and we decided to crisp them up and serve them as garnishes. Customers loved them,” he said. That was how the idea of using recycled salmon skin to make consumer-friendly snacks was conceived about two years ago.

Demand for ethical snacks

Pawson and his business partner, Dominic Smith, (they had a food truck selling potato rostis at events in the past) decided to ask fishmongers for salmon skin as it has the perfect thickness and comes out high in nutrients after being cooked: 63 grams of protein per 100 grams and full of Omega-3.

“Fishmongers usually throw them away, but after looking into the amount of seafood waste, we felt we had to put an emphasis on addressing this issue,” Pawson says.

There is also a huge demand for ethical and sustainable snacks with health benefits in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) category, so the timing of launching Sea Chips was perfect, he notes, adding the company now sources skin from MSC-certified farms.

Sea Chips currently come in three flavours: lightly salted, salt and vinegar, and lime and chili. All of them are available in mid- to high-end retailers, such as Whole Foods, Fenwicks and Harrods stores across the UK, as well as via Amazon.

Even though salmon skin-made chips have created a buzz in the UK, Sea Chips is not the only snack brand that recycles discarded food from processors.

Ryan Farr founded snacking pork rinds brand, 4505 Chicharrones, nine years ago in San Francisco by using wasted pig skin from local butchers. Meat-producing giant Tyson Foods also created its protein crisps brand, ¡Yappah!, made with discarded carrots, celery and its own upcycled chicken breast trim earlier this year.

Sourcing investment and expanding footprint

Similar with many entrepreneurs in the CPG world, Pawson found a hard time seeking initial funding, noting that, although many Asian-inspired snacks, such as seaweed chips, had been growing in popularity in the UK for many years, crisps made of fish skin was nearly unheard of.

He and his team decided to make Sea Chips more accessible by comparing them to pork scratchings, a popular British snack, and donate 10% of their profits to ocean charities, bringing in customers who want to make a difference with their dollars.

Sea Chips’ social media sensation quickly caught the attention of Jonathan Brown, the mastermind behind Macknight Smoked Foods, while he was running the business in Florida at the time…..

Forbes: Read the full article

Related reading:

Salmon skin crisp company Sea Chips secures Sainsbury’s listing

Sea Chips has secured a listing in Sainsbury’s stores in the UK for its three-strong range of salmon skin crisps….

And for a bloggists not-very-flattering view on how these crisps eat, click here….

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