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Oceans and fisheries
News article6 March 2024Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries2 min read

Holzinger: blending tradition and innovation in Austrian fish processing

View from above, the photovoltaic system that powers the plant
© Holzinger Fischverarbeitung

Holzinger a family-owned fish processing company in Upper Austria, is a cornerstone of Austria's regional economy and central European market.Holzinger has embarked on a digital and modernisation push, focusing on three key areas: using renewable energies, investing in new equipment and machines, and progressive digitalisation.

“As fish processors, we live directly with, in and from nature. The reason for our sustainability investments comes from this deep understanding of the basis of our existence.” said Mr Bernd Holzinger, Deputy Managing Director.

Adapting traditional aquaculture to a modern market

To meet market demands, extensive investments (totalling €1,745 million) were made from 2014-2021. The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) supported eight of these investments, totalling € 282,000. The investments enabled Holzinger, an Austrian pioneer, to achieve CO2-neutral production (where emissions are balanced by equivalent removal or offset) whilst still expanding production capacity.

Closing the loop and prioritising renewables

Sustainability is Holzinger’s core philosophy. They have switched to 100% renewable and sustainable energy, prioritise waste reduction and reuse, and actively protect the environment.

Part of the EMFF funding was used to develop the infrastructure for a photovoltaic system, which once built, was expanded several times and runs all heating systems along with air-heat pumps. Despite traditional roots, the company adapts to evolving markets by continuously refining both fish farming and processing techniques, with a commitment to environmental responsibility. Modern insulation, LED lighting, and a diverse renewable energy mix (hydro, wind, photovoltaic, biogas) further reduce environmental impact.

Holzinger in its rural surroundings with a view of the Alps
© Holzinger Fischverarbeitung

Holzinger goes beyond energy efficiency, championing environmental responsibility across operations. Biodegradable cleaning agents, optimised fuel-saving logistics, and minimised water use in production mark their efforts. Their commitment extends to the source, with regular stream monitoring, natural streambank preservation, and regeneration areas. They also close the loop with innovative waste management. Slaughterhouse scraps become fishmeal, filleting leftovers feed other animals, and a robust system sorts, collects, and recycles remaining waste. Even their packaging is reusable.

Committing to progressive digitalisation and modernisation

Modernisation of pond systems was also key during the investments and included the renewal and extension of a modern cold water recirculation system, to expand and improve keeping of live fish. These were complemented by improvements to fresh fish processing and smoking, and modernisation of machinery and internal logistics. Holzinger also digitised administration and developed IT systems for streamlined operations.

With these improvements, up to 600 products can be produced daily, with total company processing equalling 1,000 - 1,500 tonnes of freshwater fish annually.

Holzinger F(r)ischebox for delivery to consumers.
© Holzinger Fischverarbeitung

Making quality accessible

Bernd Holzinger stressed that “A valuable primary product like fish demands the best possible processing and daily provision of uncompromising freshness and quality.”

Consumer awareness is key for the Holzinger investments in high-quality fish processing, decarbonisation and animal welfare to pay off economically. As a result, the company developed the “Holzinger-F(r)ischebox” service, which delivers fresh, smoked, and frozen fish, Austria-wide within 24 hours. The convenient service includes next day home delivery, an easy box return policy and fully digital payment process and allowed Holzinger to create consumer awareness of their products and philosophy.

Holzinger adapted a long-term strategy to invest in environmentally friendly quality production, thanks to funding support from the EMFF, federal government and province of Upper Austria. With the funding, Holzinger was able to realise the investments more quickly and with less risk for the small family business.

More information

Website: Holzinger Fish


Publication date
6 March 2024
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries