Shrimps are normally imported into Switzerland from breeding facilities in tropical countries. According to the Albert Schweitzer Foundation, about 3.4 million tons of shrimps are bred each year and, according to the SRF, about 9000 tons of these are imported into Switzerland each year. In most cases, shrimps on the farms are treated with antibiotics to prevent disease and promote faster growth. Flooding, soil salination and groundwater contamination are local side effects of shrimp farms. Long supply chains and antibiotic resistance are consequences that also affect consumers in Switzerland. SwissShrimp AG is in the process of changing this.
The innovative approach of Swiss Shrimp AG
In this day and age we do not want to do without foreign delicacies. Due to long supply chains and shrimp rearing with antibiotics, the footprint of shrimp consumption is large. After visiting shrimp farms abroad, the founders wanted to find an antibiotic-free, environmentally friendly alternative.
The solution came in the form of a vacant site next to the Riburg salt works, a site of the Swiss Salinen AG. The Swiss salt works cover the salt supply of the whole of Switzerland. Due to the salt production the salt works have excess heat. A circular economy is the starting point for Swiss Shrimp. Swiss Shrimp can use the excess heat and salt from the salt flats to heat several large salt water basins. In this way SwissShrimp imitates the natural environment of shrimps and can thus produce in Switzerland.
What are the challenges?
The challenges of shrimp breeding in Switzerland are manifold. Firstly, there is no supplier of locally produced shrimp feed in Switzerland. Shrimps are fed with a mixture of fish meal, fish oil and soya meal. For Swiss Shrimp only organic feed with the highest quality standards is used, which is why the company imports the feed from France. Swiss Shrimp also has its own designed shipping boxes produced abroad. It is therefore one of the company’s main objectives to continue to reduce its footprint.
What are the results (impact)?
Swiss Shrimp AG is now in its second year after entering the market and has already been able to sustainably produce almost 20 tonnes and sell antibiotic-free shrimps in Switzerland. In this way, the company is making a contribution to SDG 3: Health and Welfare for sustainability-oriented consumers who do not want to do without shrimps. In addition, the company makes optimum use of the advantage of the Salinen AG site. In this way, Swiss Shrimp implements the idea of a circular economy, makes a contribution to SDG 12 and also keeps the company’s footprint as small as possible.
What vision does SwissShrimp AG pursue?
The vision of Swiss Shrimp is to become even more sustainable and to increase the share of locally produced shrimps on the Swiss market. In concrete terms, this means continuously optimizing its production and seeking alternatives in feed, packaging and shipping options that can further reduce the company’s footprint. A long term vision of Swiss Shrimp is to find a partner who wants to use the chitinous shell of the shrimps, which collects in the tanks during the growth phase. Chitin is used in many ways, especially in food and pharmaceutical products. If it were to be reused, the cycle of Swiss Shrimp und Salinen AG would spread.
Can the SwissShrimp solution be multiplied and scaled?
In theory, the solution can be scaled and multiplied well, but in practice it is dependent on suitable locations that would allow a closed loop approach. In addition, the solution approach is also strongly dependent on consumer awareness and purchasing behavior. Swiss shrimps are twice as expensive as imported shrimps and are therefore a delicacy for which some consumers probably fall back on a cheaper alternative. However, we at Business Sustainability Today have long been convinced of Swiss Shrimp. One thing is clear to us: if you want shrimps, then we love them from Rheinfelden. Discover further innovative solutions from companies.