Sanford’s Big Glory Bay king salmon named top primary producer


Stand-out sustainability practices, strong growth and a reputation as a business built on the best New Zealand has to offer has seen Sanford’s Big Glory Bay salmon brand take out the Food and Beverage Producer Award, at this year’s Primary Industries New Zealand Awards.

Recognised based on a brand’s commitment to both sustainability and protection of the New Zealand producers’ image overseas, entering the Food and Beverage Producer award was a no-brainer for Big Glory Bay, who believe it’s the New Zealand environment itself that makes their King salmon so special in the first place.

Emma Croft, group marketing manager for Sanford says so much of the story is provenance. “At 47 degrees south, Big Glory Bay is one of the most remote aquaculture farms in the world. This unique location is what gives our King salmon its quality. The chilly currents of the Southern Ocean flow into the bay throughout the year, which keeps the average water temperature nice and cool. So, our fish can grow hormone-free, maturing much more slowly just like they would in the wild. Aotearoa’s pristine waters are naturally free of lice and other nasty bugs as well, so Big Glory Bay’s fish don’t need antibiotics.”

Sanford’s group export manager, Mackenzie Collis says high-end US, Asian and Australian eateries really value the where as much as the how of BGB salmon. “Being from New Zealand is a key part of our story that customers value. The incredible location within New Zealand is another part of that. The flavour of the salmon itself, tells the story. The high content of good fats and the incredible marbled flesh are some of the things that chefs all over the world comment on. Many of them tell us it’s the best salmon they have ever worked with.
And at Sanford, with a location that special and important to us, you can understand why we are so committed to protecting it.”

The Big Glory Bay team move their farms every two years to rest the sea floor, they use satellite and drone technology to monitor the bay for algae blooms and keep their farms at one of the lowest pen densities in the world, so the salmon have more room. It’s initiatives like these that go above and beyond industry standards that are the reason why King Salmon from New Zealand has earnt the coveted “Best Choice, Buy First” ranking Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Programme, meaning it’s the most sustainable farmed salmon in the world.

Big Glory Bay also verifies its products to make it easier for consumers in New Zealand and around the world to know they’re making a good choice. After all, everyone can print “sustainable, NZ grown” on the front of their product’s packet, but not everyone can partner with Oritain to forensically certify the provenance of their product down to the exact location. Five years in, this partnership is going strong, and Big Glory Bay’s salmon has maintained its certification, so shoppers know for sure they’re buying a product that has been sustainably farmed, free from GMO’s, hormones and antibiotics, right down the bottom of Aotearoa.

Mackenzie says “these strong points which the judges seemed to appreciate, are backed up by strong sales, another requirement of the Primary Industries award application. Our Big Glory Bay salmon saw a 106% rise in revenue over the previous year in 2022 and is continuing to grow in 2023, and we saw our new retail tray pack almost immediately win two medals at the Outstanding New Zealand Food Producer Awards just months after launch.”

These were exceptional results for the company in a time where rising food prices made consumers more discerning than ever about what they were spending their hard-earned money on. But for the team at Big Glory Bay, this award is less of a chance to show boat, and more of a confirmation that they’re taking aquaculture in the right direction. Says Croft, “It’s amazing to get this thumbs up from industry insiders and gives our people, Big Glory Bay and Sanford, the motivation to keep driving progress in sustainability. I can’t wait to see what clever solutions our team comes up with next.”