Why does farmed salmon taste different than wild salmon?” asks Carla Consumer. It’s a common question with a simple, yet apparently not obvious, answer.
There are several species of salmon and trout – all having different qualities of taste, texture and nutrition.
For instance, the Pacific Pink salmon is a fast growing, young fish that is relatively ‘clean’ of contaminents, but is also quite low in nutritional value when compared to other species of Pacific salmon. The Pacific Sockeye is an older fish than the Pink at harvest time, and higher in unwanted nasties (pcbs etc) but much more rewarding in healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. The Chum, Coho and King (Chinook) all have slightly different qualities that all relate to lifecycle, feed source and genetic makeup. All have a slightly different taste, color and texture.
Although not common or in large numbers, all Pacific salmon can be farm-raised.
Most farmed salmon available in the supermarket is of the Atlantic variety. This salmon is not only a different species, but a different genus – much more related to a trout than a salmon. The Atlantic salmon also has different traits, the most notable being its ability to spawn more than once. For this reason, the Atlantic salmon reserves fat in its body at spawning time, just to make sure it has enough energy to spawn again, if required. As a result, the Atlantic salmon contains the highest levels of Omega 3 oils (the good ones) than all types of Pacific salmon.
So, to answer Carla Consumer’s question, “Why does farmed salmon taste different than wild salmon?”, the difference is not whether the salmon may be wild, wild-caught or farm-raised, but actually due to the species of salmon you’re enjoying.