The first Belgian mussels from the North Sea project have been sampled and approved

Mussels and fries, you can't get more Belgium than that. Or can you? Colruyt Group, together with a number of partners, is now farming Belgian mussels within the 'North Sea Aquaculture' research project. The first harvest from our ‘sea farm' has been sampled and approved by several members of staff, partners, and politicians at our headquarters in Halle.

Lots of flavour, lots of meat

The farmed mussels grow in the ‘sea farm' of the innovative North Sea Aquaculture research project. All participating partners and a few politicians, such as Patricia De Clercq (secretary general of the Department of Agriculture & Fisheries) and Philippe De Backer (secretary of state for the North Sea), were invited to our headquarters to sample our first harvest.

The meat content is around 36% to 39%, which is higher than that of other popular mussels. They were also judged to be particularly flavoursome in Colruyt Group's taste-and-use tests. Moreover, it is noticeable that these mussels grow faster.

First sample session for Belgian mussels
In total, about eighty Colruyt Group employees, partners, and politicians enjoyed the first mussels (of course with fries) from the research project.

Promising future

The ultimate aim is to market them under Boni Selection, the Colruyt Group's own brand. Stefan Goethaert, Director of Colruyt Group Fine Food: "The mussels fit perfectly with our aim to use more locally sourced products. But it is far too early to market them yet, as we are still in the research phase."

All the partners combine their expertise. At Colruyt Group, for example, we have a wealth of experience with sustainability analysis. Frederic Vermeiren: "As a bio-engineer with a passion for living organisms, I think it's fantastic to explore the immense potential of our seas. We investigate how the cultivation scores ecologically, what the main barriers are and, of course, whether it is economically feasible."

Bio-engineer Frederic at sea
Frederic: "We investigate how the cultivation scores ecologically, what the barriers are and whether it is economically feasible."

The 'North Sea Aquaculture' project is part of the bigger Blue Cluster, of which the Colruyt Group is a co-founder. This non-profit organisation aims to become the reference point for sustainable development in the Belgian North Sea, with a focus on ecological coastal defences, a balanced marine ecosystem and renewable energy. Click here to find out more.

With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

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