US in for treat from leftovers

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 05:00 28/08/2014

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Pet treats made from Marlborough's unwanted blue mussels and salmon bits are to be launched on to the United States market from next month, as well as being tested on Prime Minister John Key's cat Moonbeam.

Christchurch-based company K9 Natural has teamed up with seafood producers Sanford and New Zealand King Salmon to manufacture a range of dog and cat treats from parts of salmon and mussels that would have otherwise been discarded.

In a deal that was brokered by the Marlborough Research Centre through its food and beverage cluster, Sanford was able to grow revenue using mussels and salmon parts that were previously going into compost and landfills.

K9 Natural operations manager Mike Wilson said he had just met Sanford aquaculture manager Ted Culley yesterday at an event to showcase the cluster's innovative products to Key and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy who were in Blenheim to open NZ Winegrowers' Romeo Bragato conference.

The cat treats were made from blue mussels, which grow like weeds on the lines of greenshell mussels in marine farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

Culley, who is based in Havelock, said blue mussels had been a problem for the Marlborough industry as long as he could remember.

"This goes some way to remedy that, maybe not the whole way, but it goes a long way."

The cat treats will be launched into the United States market in May next year, and will join two other products made from unused fish parts from Marlborough that will go on sale in the United States next month.

Those products for dogs are made from salmon tails and salmon fins, from both Sanford's farms in Stewart Island and King Salmon's farms in the Marlborough Sounds and its hatchery in Golden Bay.

They would sell for US$11.99 for a 113 gram bag, Culley said.

The products were all sourced, processed, and packaged in New Zealand.

The United States petfood market was worth $50 billion a year, he said, food for dogs and cats accounting for 70 per cent of that.

The natural food part of the market was huge and the fastest growing part of the sector.

Culley said the K9 Natural products were a great story about what the food and beverage cluster has achieved for businesses in Marlborough, Invercargill, and Nelson.

He anticipated other products could be developed, including treats from dory frames, undaria seaweed as an ingredient, and hoki and salmon frames as ingredients for high omega 3 pet food formulations.

It was also possible that dog chews could be made from fish skins.

Culley presented Key with a bag of blue mussel cat nibbles to give to his cat, Moonbeam, so the cat could be part of the company's "expert tasting panel".

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Key thanked him for the gift on Moonbeam's behalf, saying she would be "purring like a kitten".

Other Marlborough food and beverage cluster products including Marlborough Garlic's garlic noir, Renaissance Brewing's craft beers, and Saffron Room's saffron culinary products, including saffron vodka, were also on display for Key.

- The Marlborough Express

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