- With the production of 3.5 million seafood meals every single day, comes a great responsibility for public health. (CEO Insula AS, Sigvald Rist)
With NOK 6 billion in sales, 22 factories and more than 1.100 employees, Insula has established itself as one of the leading seafood groups in the Nordic region. From the headquarters at Leknes in Lofoten, through their true love of seafood, they will make the world a better place.
When CEO Sigvald Rist is asked to tell the fairytale story of Insula, he becomes eager and proud, but equally humble and grateful.
- With the production of 3.5 million seafood meals every single day, comes a great responsibility for public health. This responsibility makes us humble, but at the same time even more dedicated to ensuring quality at every level. Being able to contribute to a better world through our love for seafood, while also contributing to creating value and jobs in local communities, makes me proud and grateful, says Sigvald Rist.
The "Lofoten" brand
The story of Insula begins back in 1994, when the municipality of Vestvågøy in Lofoten together with local investors established the seafood company Lofotprodukt AS, specializing in the production of Norwegian-style fish cakes. Although the traditional fish products soon became popular in local stores, it took many years for the company to reach stores across the country.
Insula's strategy is to be a complete provider of consumer-packed seafood. The fish cakes produced in Lofoten are one of the more than 1,000 seafood products supplied by Insula.
- The brand "Lofot Delikatesser" was replaced by "Lofoten" after a bold decision in 2003. Together with a new logo, new packaging design, and extensive and systematic sales and marketing, this greatly contributed to a significant increase in sales in a few years, says Rist, who was general manager at Lofotprodukt from 1994.
After significant growth over several years, Lofotprodukt had reached sales of NOK 100 million in 2007. Three years later, Kverva AS, the privately-owned Norwegian investment company specialising in aquaculture and marine resources, invested in Lofotprodukt. The expansion had just began: In 2011, sales exceeded 200 million NOK, and a new factory was built at the seaside in Leknes, Lofoten.
The establishment of Insula
In 2013, they reached 300 million NOK, and Lofotprodukt was at a crossroads: The major retailers had established their own brands on a number of goods, known as "private labels". They outsourced the production, including the seafood products. Lofotprodukt had to decide whether to start producing brands other than "Lofoten".
- When Kverva became the main shareholder in 2013, we got the necessary financial muscle to compete with the big market players. We had our own factories with available capacity, so we decided to enter the private label market. However, Lofotprodukt was a brand company with high quality premium products, and we believed it would be risky to produce on behalf of other companies. As a result, Insula was created as a parent company for Lofotprodukt, and private label initiatives could be made through other Insula-owned companies, Rist explains, and continues:
- Prior to Insula´s acquisition of the Swedish seafood company Domstein Foods in 2015, we operated only in Norway. With a larger market, more products and brands, and thus through the creation of Insula, we have more business streams and consequently reduced the risk, he summarizes.
Good for the body - good for the environment
In recent years, Insula has acquired several major seafood producers and sellers in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. A number of sales and marketing offices are scattered throughout the Nordic region, giving international impact.
- Seafood is a healthy and sustainable choice; Good for the body, and good for the environment. Consumers worldwide choose tasty seafood when it is easy to prepare. This is our mission in Insula, supplying healthy and delicious seafood through our proximity to the sea, the customers and the communities we are part of. But we also need courage to innovate and invest in new technology, in combination with commitment and job satisfaction. I know for sure that our employees' dedication is reflected in the taste of the products, he says with a big smile.
Expands headquarters at Leknes
Insula's growth is also noticeable at the Leknes headquarters:
- The enlargement of Insula's factory will begin in 2018, and it will include around 40 new office spaces to house key corporate functions in finance, HR, IT and accounting. There are exciting times ahead of us as well as for the business community in Lofoten. As always, hard work and taking advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead is the way to succeed, is Sigvald Rist´s closing remark.