Charles Mansour, managing partner, Bleu Marine, tells HN why this superfood is making waves across the region’s kitchens and how high standards, a strategic location and product-line expansion have combined to keep the company’s operations moving forward swimmingly.
Recognizing an opportunity
We decided to enter the regional salmon market having realized that there was huge growth potential due to the lack of technological advancements across the industry and the limitations these were putting on the product lines that our competitors were able to offer their customers. We created Bleumer to fill that void by making available more customized products, introducing new lines and building a facility where we could operate with the latest advanced machinery to the highest food safety standards.
Our expansion story
Since then, Bleumer has expanded into Saudi Arabia, which is not only the largest MENA market in terms of consumers and buyer power, and in the midst of remarkable growth, but also provides us with easier access to other regional markets. We chose to open our factory in Riyadh, where we have formed an alliance with one of the biggest distributors in the MENA region. This strategic move gives us a key industry advantage, enabling us to offer fresh products in both Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.
Setting the standard
Aside from being the first and only salmon-processing plant in the region, we are proud of our key industry credentials, which include ISO 22000 and CCPB certification for organic salmon. We also hold FSSC 22,000 – the highest food safety standard recognition available and are the only salmon-processing plant with that accreditation in the Middle East. The ingredients we use in our processing, such as organic salt and maple wood and fruit for smoking, also set us apart from the competition. Our aim is to offer a healthy product with plenty of Omega 3 and free from additives and nitrate.
Diversifying the product line
The salmon market in the Middle East has huge potential due to the growing interest in health and nutrition. However, there is still a need to raise awareness about its benefits and position it as a primary protein option, on par with beef and chicken. Our new product lines have helped us to increase our sales and provided customers with more options, enabling them to introduce salmon products into their meal plans more frequently. These include salmon burgers, patties for burgers, our smoked salmon loin, our smoked salmon log, smoked salmon stuffed with cream cheese for appetizers and our smoked marinated salmon varieties.
Bestsellers and special varieties
Our best-selling item is our smoked salmon, produced using a unique technique that respects the traditional method of curing the Atlantic salmon fillet in sea salt. The fillet is cold-smoked with maple wood and fruit to enhance its flavors, resulting in a delicacy that’s ideal for events and special occasions. We offer options that we can tailor-make for hotels, restaurants and the catering industry in KSA. Our limited, high-end smoked and marinated salmon signature items include: salmon with dried orange; salmon with beetroot; salmon with crushed pepper and thyme; salmon with sesame oil and seeds; salmon with citrus flavors; and salmon togarashi.