Starting February 4, 2020, Kvarøy Arctic (pronounced “Kwa-ray”) launched its independent brand of sustainably raised salmon available in the United States through select Whole Foods Markets. Since that moment, the third-generation, family-owned Atlantic salmon farm located on the Island of Kvarøy along Norway’s Arctic Circle has been dedicated to ensuring its nutritious, responsibly raised salmon is accessible and available to as many people as possible.
As part of this initiative since its February launch, the brand has consistently made meaningful donations of fish to food banks, restaurant industry workers, frontline workers, and other charities that are able to accept and distribute fresh food to food insecure communities across the country.
The brand has also expanded its availability beyond the in-person retail experience making fresh fish available to anyone in the United States via direct delivery from Fulton Fish Market.
Throughout this time, Kvarøy Arctic has also achieved the highest sustainability certification standards and marks signifying its exceptional nutritional value.
Kvarøy Island, where Kvarøy Arctic is based, is a close-knit community of less than 90 people, most of whom are part of the Kvarøy Arctic team. Community and a nurturing ethos is baked into the brand of this family-owned business.
It goes without saying that COVID-19 is a different kind of crisis. In our 40-years of business, we have seen many things and we knew we had to react quickly while also caring for our newly launched business.
Led by CEO Alf-Gøran Knutsen, Production Manager Gjermund Olsen, and Operations Manager Håvard Olsen, our team is ushering in a new era of sustainability for the salmon farming industry as a net producer of fish protein with a commitment to traceability and transparency.
To ensure our brand has a foothold for long-term success, and is able to carry out its mission to make nutritious food accessible to all, we had to focus on building our brand while also executing meaningful community outreach efforts and donations.
This unprecedented global pandemic has disrupted our food supply chains and everyday lives. We recognized, this crisis is not localized—there is not one specific state or region that we can rush to aid. And, this disaster is personal—we have all been impacted.
What is not different? The most vulnerable are hit the hardest and will take the longest to recover.
Since the brand launch in February 2020, our team has supported nonprofit organizations. And once the pandemic changed the US economy in March, we increased our efforts to work in areas identified as having high numbers of affected individuals to help build their capacity for response, support and recovery. This includes the restaurant and hospitality communities, food banks, front line workers, rescue missions, homeless, and those vulnerable to the economic impacts of a pandemic.
The focus on supporting equitable and responsible recovery is crucial in any disaster, but especially this one. We’ve fielded urgent calls from chefs and large food service providers assisting health care organizations feeding frontline works. We jumped in to support restaurants feeding the most vulnerable parts of their community as well as the workers who are their lifeblood, including hourly wage earners that make up the heart of this economy.
And most importantly, we haven’t slowed down showing our support. We’ve increased our effort.
According to FEMA, following a disaster, 90 percent of smaller businesses fail within a year unless they can resume operations within five days! The cascading impacts of the virus are staggering. We made the decision to not feel overwhelmed and immobilized. We had immediate work to do to keep our farm safe, our supply chain moving and create solutions that would give our family, employees and communities the support they needed. All while bringing a desperately needed, healthy sustainable fish to the US.
We come from humble roots. We will never be the largest donor, but we will be generous of heart and have impact in our actions, giving whenever and wherever we can.
This is a time to come together, think about the needs in our communities large and small, and give as generously as we can because the process of recovery will be long, but together we can strengthen the ability for communities to respond and recover.
Since launch, ASC certified Kvarøy Arctic has earned certifications with BAP and Global G.A.P. It has also earned a place as the only farm-raised Atlantic salmon certified by the American Heart Association’s® Heart-Check program.
We’ve developed new relationships and our fish is being served at respected entities like Disney Springs, Pacific Catch and Firebirds.
We’ve implemented IBM’s blockchain technology for traceability and to prevent waste in the cold chain. We’ve created new offerings to make our salmon more accessible beyond the fresh fish case. Kvarøy Arctic salmon is now available in the frozen section (families have found a frozen pantry to be essential during this crisis) including our new salmon burgers and hotdogs!
We’ve also launched Kvarøy Kids to support families with arts, tech, culinary, and science projects during Back to School.
Here are a few of the many organizations we’ve supported since our brand launched in February 2020:
ReThink Food NYC
Front Line Foods, St. Joseph Center with Adam Perry Lang and Jimmy Kimmel