Fishing boat

Sweden's first production of Sea Squirt

An increased production of sea squirts leads to cleaner seas and reduced eutrophication

In Hakefjorden, east of Tjörn in Bohuslän, the company Marine Taste cultivates the sea squirt, an expert at filtering out nitrogen and phosphorus from large amounts of water. Marine Taste use the sea squirt to manufacture their Ciona Umami Fond, and together with AFRY, the company is now facing an upscaling journey to increase their production of climate-smart products.

Overfertilization occurs when large amounts of nutrients are released into the water. This can come from, for example, agriculture, and is a problem in both Swedish and international waters. Too many nutrients drastically change the marine ecosystem and lead to, among other things, unfavourable growth of phytoplankton. Marine biologist Fredrik Norén has a great love for the sea and in 2017 he decided to help improve it by starting to cultivate sea squirts, which are plankton eaters.

I started the company to harvest an excess resource in the sea, nitrogen, and use it to extract energy. Our Swedish seas are extremely productive and I saw an opportunity in using the excess resource by harvesting sea squirt, which naturally accumulate nitrogen. After a while, the idea of using the raw material to make food emerged, which turned out to be successful.

says Fredrik Norén, Founder of Marine Taste

A seven times more efficient production of protein

Sea squirt is farmed in the same way as mussels, in vertical longline farming. On 1/3-hectare of sea squirt farming, Marine Taste harvests 300-400 tons of fresh raw material annually. Compared to other types of vegetable proteins, sea squirt farming has seven times the protein production per hectare. In other words, the sea squirt is not only a natural enhancer of our oceans, but also an amazing source of protein.

Sea squirt

No raw materials are wasted during the manufacturing process

The challenge Marine Taste faces is to scale up their production and find the right type of process design to make use of the raw material to 100 percent as they do today and make sure no waste products go to spill. Marine Taste has chosen AFRY as their partner during their scaling-up journey and since spring 2022 the collaboration has been under way.

We find it reassuring that AFRY is a large company with a lot of expertise. At the same time, it feels like a small, family-like company that can be on-site with us and help from start to finish

says Karl Thorbjörnson, Sales Manager at Marine Taste

AFRY's team working on Future Food guides a multitude of companies, big and small, from digitalization to scaling up operations.

"This is incredibly exciting progress in the development of sustainable food sources and Marine Taste is a great example of an innovative company that we are happy to work with" says Katrin Hedvall, Business Unit Manager Food & Pharma West, and responsible for Future Food at AFRY.

Harvesting sea squirts
Harvesting sea squirts

AFRY will develop the design and layout for their new production, including both equipment and premises, and will be on-site during the various phases of the entire journey. When manufacturing food, there are many requirements on the facility, food safety, logistics, and production design, which are issues that Katrin and her colleagues work with daily.

"We make it possible for our customers to produce food in a smart and efficient way. Of course, with a focus on making it taste good, meet food requirements and at the same time be good for the planet" Katrin Hedvall continues.

The facility meets future needs for climate-smart products

The new production facility will enable Marine Taste to ensure the sustainability of the production as well as meet the high demand for their climate-smart products. The facility will also be equipped for future needs, such as new products. At the same time, Marine Taste's innovation continues to flow, and they are currently working on a pilot project for pool-grown sea squirt, which would also become the first of its kind.

Umami fond

For further information, please contact

Katrin Hedvall - Business Unit Manager Food & Pharma West

Katrin Hedvall

Business Unit Manager Food & Pharma West

Contact Katrin Hedvall

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