Cats and dogs set to get hooked on Ireland’s first environmentally friendly fish pet food!
Pictured: John Kenny, Atlantis with his dog, Pingu
Wexford man, John Kenny, says his “lightbulb moment” came when he attended a talk given by the Monaghan-based company, Silver Duck, a few years ago.
“It was fascinating – they spoke of how every part of the duck they produced was used to make a consumer product. Even the feathers, for example, were used to make pillows. No part of the duck was wasted, and I got to thinking how we could replicate that concept to the fish we processed.”
John is Managing Director of Atlantis Seafood, based in Kilmore Quay, and the company was producing around 50 tonnes of unused fish parts every week from its catch. Only half of the fish catch was processed for sale. So after the inspiring talk from Silver Duck, he set about looking at how his fish by-product could be used not just to make his business more sustainable, but to contribute to turnover also.
John teamed up with with a pet food company in Killiney, Harley & Marley, and they have created a range of nutritious, sustainable and healthy dried dog and cat food and treats from fish by-product.
The pet food, which will be sold under the Harley & Marley brand, will be available in Dunnes Stores around Ireland from the end of September as well as independent shops, pet stores, and veterinarian clinics. There are also plans for the pet food to be rolled out across Musgrave outlets.
The petfood launch will see Atlantis advance its mission to be sustainable by dramatically reducing its tonnes of by-product created from the processing of fish each week.
“We are very excited about the launch of this new petfood product and at the fact there is now potential for the entire fish – from head to tail – to be used.” said John.
“There are pet foods in Ireland that have some fish added. But what Harley & Marley offers is a 100% natural product with fish as the main single ingredient, possibly with small amounts of oats, parsley and seaweed.”
Harley & Marley was set up by dog-loving mums, Portia Quinn and Robin Thompson in 2019. They discovered a mutual passion to create a brand of fine Irish pet treats while walking their dogs – Harley and Marley – on Killiney Hill.
Portia Quinn, who now runs the Harley & Marley business, said: “We had a clear vision to offer top quality pet treats made with fish and sustainable ingredients – and Atlantis was the perfect partner.”
The pet food is produced through gentle air-drying, rather than cooking, meaning it doesn’t lose any of its natural goodness. The production of the Harley & Marley pet food range will be outsourced to two companies in Ireland, keeping the operation within the country and totally Irish. All products will be packed in recyclable pouches.
Said John Kenny: “This is minimal processing at its best. The pet food is junk free, and made up of fish with few added ingredients. There is no wheat, wheat gluten, unnecessary fillers, additives, artificial colours or flavours added.”
“Our focus has always been on bringing the best product to consumers. We are constantly looking at new ways of maximising the bounty of the seas around us.”
Once the pet food range launches on the Irish market the export market will be explored. “The pet food market is growing globally and there is huge potential to export,” said John.
Atlantis, which has sustainability at the heart of all it does, has been supported in the pet food venture by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) which provided mentoring and technical support. Last year Atlantis received a grant of €233,394 under the Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme, implemented by BIM, to modernise its factory and to make it more environmentally friendly.
The company has been in business for 30 years and has built its reputation on delivering quality fresh fish and seafood to top chefs and retailers across Ireland. The south-east company employs around 100 people today.
Atlantis is a verified Gold Member of Bord Bia’s Origin Green Progamme, and BRC (British Retail Consortium standard for better food safety and the control of food products) certified – and makes every possible effort to protect the ocean environment and life for now and for future generations.