Maltento’s product is a digest, not an insect protein. “We utilize traceable byproducts of the agro-processing industry in South Africa to rear our insects. This ensures a high quality, consistent insect to produce our digest product. The insects are then hydrolyzed with enzymes and cooked to produce an attractive aroma and flavor. Our digest is then added at a small inclusion as an additive to enhance feed response and stimulate gut health,” said Dean Smorenburg, founder and CEO of Maltento.
The company has tested the product at Virginia Tech University in the U.S. and a local trout producer. “Our product showed a statistically significant weight gain in fish over the trial period, increased feed response and a reduction in mortality during two (unplanned) stress events, namely, an Aeromonas outbreak and failed heat pumps,” Smorenburg explained. The company plans to perform trials first on shrimp and also tilapia and abalone. “Our main success to date has been in the pet food space where we compete against global market leaders on price and performance as a palatant,” Smorenburg said.
“Our product is generally top coated during post-extrusion but not all manufacturers have this capability and so there is an option to include it in pre-extrusion. We are currently working on a dry version which will be released in 2024,” Smorenburg stated.
In terms of price, Smorenburg said that it competes on price and performance with market incumbents in the aqua and pet digest space. “Our main constraint is getting more companies to work with us and understand that insects play a role much bigger than just a protein inclusion. We are the only facility in Africa that is able to export our product to the EU (the strictest market). We are currently in trials in one of Europe's largest feed manufacturers.”
When asked if krill is not an indispensable ingredient for aquafeeds, Smorenburg said that the answer lies in a balanced solution. “I do not think there is a silver bullet but rather a combination of ‘alternative/sustainable’ ingredients that will allow us to provide all the nutrition and functionality required that do not cost the planet, nor compromise on performance,” Smorenburg stated.
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