Low-cost, fat-free fish protein facility gets go ahead

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Bluewave Marine Ingredients’ new food-grade facility in Peru will soon start production of its fat-free, membrane-refined fish protein and fish peptide products, offering the food industry ‘new opportunities and applications’.

The company uses a patented membrane system to produce fish protein isolate at half the price of canned or frozen fish methods, and allows for the inclusion of protein in powder form for products including breads, pastas and soups.

The membrane system works by having one stream enter and three streams exit. The membrane system inside separates the main stream into a high fat plus protein stream, a zero fat plus protein stream, and a biogenic fraction. The fishiness is removed by the membrane, since it removes the oil and fat.

New facility

The new food-grade facility, located in Pisco, Peru, recently obtained its Sanitary License by the Peruvian Sanitary Authority, Instituto Tecnologica Pesquera (ITP), and will reportedly begin exporting and selling locally commercial quantities in June 2011.

“This unique facility meets the declared Peruvian goal of utilizing a greater percentage of the vast Sardine biomass (​Engraulis Ringens) for value added, food grade applications… not just traditional fishmeal applications for aquaculture,”​ said Michael Mussell, Bluewave CEO.

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA, Mark Rottmann, the company’s COO, explained that the company doesn’t see its products as competing with whey or dairy proteins. “We’re developing new opportunities and applications,”​ he said.

The facility can produce up to 9,000 tons per year, added Rottmann, but it is currently equipped to produce 2,000 tons.

Cost effective

Bluewave is already in discussions with several companies and social programs, including South American “Papilla” – non-branded baby food provided in local social programs for ages 6 months and above.

The company’s fish protein isolate is currently being used as a replacement for expensive egg/ whey proteins, which cost at least $8 per kg: BlueWave fish protein isolate costs $5 per kg.

According to the company, the fish protein isolate has a hypoallergenic molecular weight profile and ultra purity, and, when used at an inclusion rate of 6 percent, test panels have reported no taste/smell difference in the final product, compared with the typical milk/ egg-based baby foods.

Local companies are also investigating the potential of the fish protein isolate to replace more expensive proteins in food products, such as sauces and pastas, said the company.

Reset the expectations

“Introduction of the product to the marketplace requires resetting the expectations of the users,”​ said Rottmann. “They think of fish protein products of always having a ‘fat/oil’ component which brings in fish flavor/smell characteristics. BlueWave’s Perfect Digest FPi minimizes these characteristics, thus increasing exponentially the market application potential.

“Currently the Asia market offers a variety of Fish Collagen Peptides based on fish skins as the raw material, but these typically run $10-20/kg.

“BlueWave PerfectDigest line utilizes the entire fish, so from a nutrition standpoint we bring the entire amino acid profile into the food product – and we can’t be beat from a cost perspective,”​ added Rottmann.

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