AVRAMAR Brings Simple and Consistent Seafood Solutions to U.S. Restaurants and Chefs

Avramar Lavraki with Red Pepper Relish

A versatile seafood product that can be used as an entree, sashimi, poke, or ceviche… For the restaurant chef it seems too good to be true. Yet AVRAMAR, the largest producer of Mediterranean fish is offering just that: consistently delicious high-quality seafood with the flexibility that its customers are looking for.

The name AVRAMAR, coming from “avra” meaning “breeze” in Greek and “mar” meaning “sea” in Spanish, is the unification of four aquaculture companies Andromeda, Nireus, Selonda and Perseus. These companies have been at the forefront of sustainable aquaculture for decades, with the Mediterranean being their core market in Greece, Spain, France, Italy, and Portugal. They were the first to establish the offering of Branzino, also known as European Seabass, in North America. Virtually unknown 15 – 20 years ago, Branzino has seen a 25% increase in imports year after year, establishing its value as a menu addition. North America is now 10% of their sales with a forecast of 15% – 20% within the next 3 – 5 years. Now, as one united company they will be able to offer the best quality Mediterranean fish to different parts of the world. With exports to 40 different markets, AVRAMAR is looking to expand to Northern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

Roasted Kranios with Seasonable Vegetables
Roasted Kranios with Seasonable Vegetables

Thor Talseth, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, has over 20 years of experience in the international seafood and aquaculture industry as an investor, senior executive, and sector-focused banker. He explains why the unification of these companies has created Superior Taste Award winning Mediterranean fish. “Historically speaking, aquaculture has been very fragmented, primarily family-owned companies with limited financial flexibility, and a limited talent pool,” Talseth said. “Combining these companies was a way to create an industry champion that has the financial backbone to develop the category, to partner with our customers, to develop new products, and hire people that can take us to the next level.”

Thor Talseth Avramar
Thor Talseth

AVRAMAR has earned the trust of the Culinary Institute of America and the “Menus of Change University Research Collaborative” (MCURC) that gathers 70 of the most prominent universities in the USA. “We are the only aquaculture company admitted into this fold, because of our credentials in ESG, the nutritional value of our fish, and its role in the Mediterranean diet” Talseth explains.

The critical size of their operation means that they can invest in product development together with their customers. They even have their own team of food scientists working with product development teams across North America. “Our customers are really looking for a partner, not only a supplier – but a partner that can invest together with them in creating new applications. We can offer fresh, we can offer frozen, we can offer smoked, we can offer fillets,” said Talseth. However, none of that matters without a quality product. The consistency and quality of AVRAMAR’s products can be attributed to their fully integrated system. According to Talseth, AVRAMAR has its “own breeding programs, we have our own feed production, we have our own farming operations, in-house processing capabilities, and good logistics.” They also have boots on the ground to assist their customers with any and all of their respective needs.

An example of how well their integrated system works is the volume in which they sustainably farm Stone bass, which was almost at the brink of extinction due to overfishing. According to Talseth, “it’s a pretty difficult fish to farm. You need extensive breeding, and you need to adjust your protocols to get consistent quality, but we cracked the code around ten years ago.

This fish is regarded as the best of the best locally in the Mediterranean – in fact, many people call it ‘the King’. Loved and sought after for its many varied culinary attributes, Stone Bass was on the brink of extinction in the wild due to overfishing. AVRAMAR nurtured it back to life with our innovative and sustainable farming methods, and we were able to help this regal fish not only survive, but thrive at our farms!  Now, we are bringing this delicacy stateside for restaurateurs across North America to give their guests a very special epicurean treat.  Chefs who have tried it so far, including Maria Loi, a columnist at TFS, have fallen in love with our Stone Bass. When it comes to culinary versatility, other fish can’t compete.

Avramar Whole Kranios Greek Stone Bass
Fresh caught Avramar Whole Kranios (Greek Stone Bass)

I can go on and on about Stone Bass, but the question most commonly asked is what’s it like? I can tell you it’s absolutely delicious and nutritious!  This gorgeous white-fleshed fish is full of Omega-3 fatty acids – at levels that rival (and supercede) salmon – but leaner and lower in fat, with high levels of high quality, essential proteins. Because it is responsibly and sustainably farmed with our own feed formulations, it consistently has very low levels of mercury and pollutants. The thick-yet-light flake structure, and mildly sweet, lightly briny flavor reminiscent of an ocean breeze pair perfectly with any and every ingredient you can imagine.”

Indeed, the magic of Stone bass is that it is very versatile. It can be used in raw preparations such as sashimi and ceviche, and in cooked preparations, whether grilled, pan-seared, baked, roasted, steamed, or poached, whether for appetizers, entrees, and/or hors d’oeuvres. It is a very forgiving fish that can be used in large production applications such as banquets and catering, and will keep its quality, moisture, and flavor. This is great news for the restaurant chef that is looking for a more substantial fish to use for large production events.

Avramar Lavraki with Sesame-Spiced Potatoes
Avramar Lavraki with Sesame-Spiced Potatoes

Even throughout the pandemic, AVRAMAR has seen rapid and consistent growth. Talseth believes this is because people want to eat healthy. With the world moving into a more sustainable direction, farmed fish is the most sustainable animal protein. One cannot argue about the health benefits associated with eating fish. When asked why he thought Stone bass would be successful in North America, Talseth concluded, “First of all, you don’t know anything until you’ve done it and succeeded. Providing high quality and healthy Mediterranean products worked when we introduced Branzino and will work equally well with Stone bass”.

To learn more about AVRAMAR, visit their website

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