Is there a difference and do we reap the same benefits from both?

Salmon is widely known for its excellent nutritional value. Not only is it a source of high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals, it is a source of omega 3, a polyunsaturated fat that the body cannot naturally produce, and that we therefore have to acquire through diet.


Beginnings of Farmed Salmon

Farmed salmon was first reared in Norway in the 1960s. Along with Norway, Chile and Scotland dominate production of the fish, which ‘is due to their preference for sheltered and tidal waters to maximise growth rates and ward off disease.’

What's The Difference?

There are some dramatic differences between farmed salmon and wild salmon. If we compare half a fillet of wild salmon with the same amount of farmed salmon, the farmed variety contains significantly more fat. More omega 3, a lot more omega 6 fatty acids, and 3 times the amount of saturated fat to be specific. Though omega three isn’t a bad thing, too much saturated fat can be.

Fats are split into two main types, saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are the good guys, but saturated fats? Quite the opposite. These are the ones to watch out for. On average, Brits get 12.6% of their energy (kJ/kcal) from saturated fats, which is slightly above the 11% maximum recommended by the Government.

Not only is farmed salmon fattier, it contains almost double the calories of wild salmon. Half a fillet of wild salmon comes in at 281 calories, whereas half a fillet of farmed salmon comes is a whopping 412 calories.

The problem is, farmed salmon has expanded rapidly in the last two decades and now accounts for seventy percent of all the salmon we eat . This means that, though farmed salmon is by all means healthy, it might not be providing us with quite the number of benefits we think it is. For example, wild salmon is much higher in minerals such as potassium, zinc and iron. By consuming farmed salmon over wild, you could be cutting your mineral intake by almost 50%.

There Is Also The Issue Of Contaminants

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) are a nasty type of chlorinated pesticide, and one study, which investigated over 700 salmon samples from around the world, found that on average, the PCB concentrations in farmed salmon were eight times higher than in wild salmon. This varies between regions, but we do know that wild salmon contains much fewer contaminants than farmed.

The Expense

Of course, wild salmon tends to be a lot more expensive than farmed. Both still have substantial benefits, but factors such as pregnancy could influence your purchasing decision. Supplements can be used as an addition to your diet, and will help to replace any vitamins lost due to the growing industry of farmed salmon.

Calories

Wild salmon has 32% fewer calories than farmed salmon (412 cals farmed vs 281 cals wild).

 

Fat

Wild salmon has half the fat of farmed salmon.

Saturated fat

Farmed fish contain 3 times more saturated fat as wild.

Omega 3

Omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is about 3 times higher in farmed compared to wild salmon. We eat too much omega 6.

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