Benemilk Ltd, a joint venture of Raisio and Intellectual Ventures (IV), has filed a United States patent application for a Finnish fish feed invention and is starting the commercialization of the invention in the USA. The fish feed invention was developed by the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute and the patent application concerns the way fish oil is used in the feed. Fish oil has traditionally been used in fish feed, but this new invention utilizes the more ecological and affordable rapeseed oil. This new formulation maintains the quality and health benefits of the fish while ensuring that any resulting products meet consumer needs.
Raisioagro has been a key partner for the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute in the development process of the new aquafeed and the company has already begun utilizing the new methodologies outlined in the patent application. Salmon feeding regimens can incorporate more plant-based ingredients without reducing the nutritional values of the fish. With this invention, the company claims, both the profitability and ecological sustainability of salmon farming will improve as the use of wild fish oil can be significantly reduced.
In the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation (Tekes) study coordinated by the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, the more expensive and limitedly available fish oil was primarily replaced by Finnish rapeseed oil in the early growth stage of salmon. High fish oil content was used only in the final stage of salmon farming. Replacing the fish oil with rapeseed oil at the early growth stage halved the required amount of fish oil. In addition, the health benefits, growth, processability, shelf life and taste of the fish remained high. The contaminants in fish products were also further reduced. According to the study, beneficial fatty acids were found in greater abundance in rapeseed oil fed salmon than in Finnish wild fish or in imported whitefish.
At current prices, the use of rapeseed oil as a replacement for the twice as expensive fish oil significantly improves the supply chain and profitability of fish farming. Although global fish oil production volumes have so far been sufficient, the use of rapeseed oil will help reduce the pressure on wild fish stocks. There is generally more upward pressure on fish oil prices than on rapeseed oil prices.
Raisio’s CEO Matti Rihko said: \"It is encouraging that once again we will be able to commercialize Finnish expertise globally. It is also encouraging that the invention resulted from cooperation between academia and the business world. The value of the invention can increase in the coming years due to an expected increase in consumer demand for salmon coupled with an expected decrease in wild fish stocks, the basis for fish oil production. The invention is a functional and sustainable solution to improve food chain efficiency, which is a key challenge and opportunity for the building of the future food chain.”
IV co-founder and chief technology officer, Edward Jung, said of the invention: “This new fish feed invention is an indication of the great potential that the food and agriculture sector has to tackle global problems while also improving profitability. This patent application is a practical demonstration that the joint venture between Raisio and IV can serve as a platform for even wider cooperation.”