to enforce Regal Springs’ standards.
Caring for the environment “is really tied
into our business model,” she says. “It’s sincere
and in our best interest to fight for the environment. It’s as simple as that.”
Efficient processes, zero waste
The fish begin in hatcheries on land. Once
they’re big enough, they’re taken from the
hatchery to the lake and placed in
large, round floating cages that
never touch the bottom.
They’re raised to a certain
weight, depending on the specifications of individual retailers. “Costco
likes thick and long pieces of white
meat on the frozen side, so we have a
higher harvest weight to meet
Costco’s demands than other producers,” explains Wallhoff.
“The Costco fish is a different
model,” she continues. “In good
farming practices, there’s great control. Our
loins taste super clean. It’s all white meat.
The bloodline’s been trimmed away, leaving
it the perfect substitute for any poultry or
white fish recipe.”
Nets are hauled to shore, and the fish are
trucked to the processing facility. They are
COMPANY Regal Springs
FOUNDER AND CEO Rudi Lamprecht
HEADQUARTERS Miramar, Florida
ITEMS AT COSTCO
Kirkland Signature Frozen Tilapia. Inventory
varies by location for: fresh tilapia, Basil
Pesto Tilapia, Multigrain Breaded Tilapia,
Tortilla Crusted Tilapia, Panko Tilapia
QUOTE ABOUT COSTCO
“I was not a Costco member until I recognized how stringent they were—what their
expectations are and how they really delve
into the issues—and how much they asked
real questions about where the food
comes from. I was like, ‘Oh, if they
care to ask me these questions,
they must do that with other
products, too.’ Now I’m a
immediately cleaned, gutted, filleted by hand
and flash-frozen in state-of-the-art facilities.
This minimal process prevents them from
needing to be treated with sodium tripoly-phosphate, a common seafood preservative.
Regal Springs’ zero-waste policy means
every part of the fish is turned into something
else: gelatin and collagen for the pharmaceutical and beauty industry, fish scale chips (
popular in Asia), animal feed,
fish oil and biodiesel (which
runs Regal Springs’ trucks
and generators). Wastewater
and other solids from the
processing plant are composted or used to fertilize surrounding agricultural lands.
Supporting the communities
Regal Springs sponsors several philanthropic programs for its employees and the
communities in which it operates. Programs
include adult education and literacy, public
health interventions (everything from medical
care to providing toilets and stoves), domestic
violence and sexual harassment prevention,
road building and a microloan program that
teaches locals to farm fish.
Wallhoff explains that it’s important to
provide access to resources to help employees
meet basic survival needs. Not only does this
improve their quality of life, but it also helps
them stay focused and driven.
“Our philosophy is to foster a healthy,
educated community that values our presence. It’s this mutual respect. If we’re just
using [employees’] physical energy and their
resources and not giving back, there’s no relationship of respect and mutual growth,” she
says. “But we’re still in all the communities
where we first started. The proof is in the
people and the loyalty and the support that
they have for the company.” C
Clockwise from right: Costco buyer
Adam Matkin (left) shows off young
tilapia with employees of the Lake Toba
farm; ;shermen harvest mature tilapia;
an employee hand-feeds growing ;sh.