I recently went to Lidl for my 88-year-old mother to purchase her favourite salmon fillets. To those of you who dont know who Lidl is, it is a German-based global discount supermarket chain with over 10,000 stores in Europe, and it is now expanding into the United States.
Lidl’s motto is “Lidl surprises”.
Well, I certainly was surprised to notice the difference between the wild salmon and the farmed salmon. However, I dont think these difference are unique to Lidl, both the wild and the farmed salmon happens to be supplied by the same supplier Ocean Sea, and both have the same size portion of 125g, so it was easy to compare the nutritional labels.
A 125g portion of wild salmon contains about half the calories of the farmed salmon.
A 125g portion of farmed salmon contains 19 times more fat than the wild salmon.
A 125g portion of farmed salmon contains 9 times more saturated fat than the wild salmon.
And finally, the farmed salmon costs more than twice the price of the wild salmon, €4.85 for 4 X 125 g portions of wild salmon while €4.99 for 2 X 125 g portions of farmed salmon, prices as of Dec 2017.
These nutritional differences are easily explained by the food that the farmed salmon are fed, which is typically a mixture of pellets made from the flesh of smaller fish, corn gluten, ground-up feathers, chicken fat, soybeans, genetically engineered yeast and food colouring pigmentation. Pigmenting supplements are the most expensive component of the farmed salmon diet; it costs a lot of money to make the farmed salmon look the same colour as wild salmon. The purpose of the food is to get the farmed salmon as big as possible in the shortest possible time as cheaply as possible.
To combat diseases from overcrowding, fish farmers douse their salmon with tons of antibiotics and pesticides, which ends up in the food chain. So if you are eating farmed salmon dont think it is the same food as wild salmon.
I once asked my mother to try the wild salmon from Lidl, and she said it tasted terrible and not to buy it anymore. This was not a surprise as when you get used to fatty foods like full-fat milk, then low-fat milk tastes inferior.
Compare a fillet of farmed salmon from Lidl to a cheeseburger from Mcdonalds. The salmon has over 58% more fat than the cheeseburger at 19g v 12g, or we can put this a different way, about one-third of the calories from a McDonald’s cheeseburger comes from fat while about two-thirds of the calories in a farmed salmon fillet comes from fat.
It is a good idea to fully research your salmon (or any food)before you eat it. What we do know is that contamination such as mercury and PCBs in fish is proven to affect everybody and in particular babies and young children, the risks are so high that even fish that are within the permitted levels of mercury and PCB’s for the general public have a special warning, if your planning on having a baby, if your pregnant, if your breastfeeding your child, you need to be extra careful about the food you eat as many foods that is perfectly legal to sell can damage your baby.
My personal view is that if the food you eat affects the development of young children then perhaps it best to avoid that food. Let’s choose the foods with the least health, environment and animal cruelty issues and choose the foods with the most health benefits, which in my view would be a plant-based diet.
I took a visit down to Aldi and looked at the farmed Salmon for sale and it was pretty much the same fat content, they had no wild salmon on the day I looked.
Check this link as to what foods mainstream government says to avoid if you want to have a healthy baby .
Updated image from Lidl August 2019