Insects are the “stars” among novel ingredients to be included in aquafeeds. Officially approved to use in aquaculture feeds in the EU in 2017, there has been a huge global investment (ca. 400 M€ so far) in research and development of feeds incorporating insect-based products. In fact, the aquaculture industry represents a high potential for the use of insect meals, and it is estimated that around 200,000 MT will be needed by 2030.
Despite actual scale/cost or market acceptance issues, sustainability matters regarding insect farming production or nutritional profile possible fluctuations, the truth is that insect meals have been shown to be promising alternative protein sources, as well as interesting functional ingredients in fish feeds.
Strongly based on innovation and research as evolving tools to develop new products for the market, Aquasoja started planning and evaluating the potential of insect meals in aquafeeds back in 2016. In collaboration with different entities and while involved in several projects, the company has focused its interest on two insect species (black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, and yellow mealworm, Tenebrio molitor), evaluating its products – whole meal or defatted meal – in meagre and European seabass fish species. Several parameters have been analyzed, such as nutrients’ digestibility, growth performance, gut integrity, and whole body composition, among others. The company is sharing now some of the results obtained in its research suggesting different replacement rates of fishmeal for both species. Publications can be checked here.
The inclusion of insect meals in fish feeds is not yet a reality in Aquasoja feeds but the future seems bright for this alternative protein and functional raw material.