Producers of freshwater salmon, Mt Cook Alpine Salmon is today backed by a group of shareholders, many who were never salmon lovers until they experienced the Alpine Salmon difference. National sales manager Te Tane Trinick chatted with the team about consistent change and launching a limited edition sauce range.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
The roots of Mt Cook Alpine Salmon were established over 20 years ago when a group of industry pioneers started to farm Freshwater salmon in the glacier fed canals at the base of Mt Cook. These existing canals were part of a network of waterways, which support New Zealand’s largest renewable Hydro scheme. Freshwater King Salmon thrived in the fast glacial water, and the group quickly realised that they were able to farm King Salmon like nothing else on the market.
While we learnt how to farm in a remote and often challenging environment, the company quietly grew. Then, a savvy group of investors realised the potential for alpine salmon, and it’s gone from strength to strength since.
What are the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
Currently, we’re very busy keeping up with demand for both fresh and frozen formats both domestically and internationally. The salmon is different from what most Kiwis are used to. This difference is largely due to the water they’re raised in; swimming against icy-cold currents means our fish are healthy and lean. We’re also the only company to use our particular premium feed; it costs a little more, but it really does contribute to the end product.
We describe our salmon as having a well-balanced fat content, a delicate texture and a clean, subtle taste. A particular strength of Mt Cook Alpine Salmon is its versatility. Personally, I think it’s best eaten raw as sashimi, but it’s also great cooked or smoked. It even freezes amazingly well; when thawed correctly; it is often mistaken for being fresh.
Has there been any recent company news?
As we’re in such a growth phase, we are reinvesting into the company; people, assets and ongoing research and development.
We’ve also just launched a limited edition sauce range; Mt Cook Alpine Salmon Tosa, Ponzu and Teriyaki sauces have all been especially blended to pair with alpine salmon, enhancing the flavour without overwhelming it.
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
The company is consistently changing as we are in a strong growth phase. I was brought on board about 18 months ago to manage Australia and New Zealand and even with that short space I have seen a lot of change. We have some fantastic plans in place for the company over the next few years, but for the moment I’m keeping them under wraps; watch this space.
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability? If so, where would you like to see the product situated?
We currently have a small number of select customers that we are working with at the high end of the market. In retail, the likes of Farros, Moore Wilsons and Raeward Fresh stores are selling our salmon. We are also working with some fantastic distributors and are growing the foodservice side of the business. The key for us is to work with someone who is behind the story and values of the company. It’s important to have a similar business ethos.
More and more, high-end restaurants and their customers are requesting our salmon; great news for those keen to experience the full culinary potential of Freshwater King Salmon.