Insects on the menu for salmon produced under the Label Rouge standard

Partners in the Scottish salmon industry drive legislative change to allow natural insect-derived ingredients in feed and increase responsible sourcing.

Credits: Protix
June 6, 2024

Thanks to cooperation between value chain partners in the Scottish aquaculture industry, salmon sold with the Label Rouge (Red Label) can now be fed diets containing insect-derived ingredients during the juvenile stages.

Label Rouge production represents 12% (8,900T) of Scotland’s salmon exports, a significant and growing segment of the industry. It is thus the ideal breeding ground to support premium responsibly sourced ingredients. The endorsement was achieved in an initiative that brought together INAO, the French Label Rouge regulatory authority; Landcatch, the Hendrix Genetics’ genetics brand for salmon breeding; Scottish Quality Salmon which acts as the management organization (ODG) for Scotland's salmon producers and companies; insect company Protix.

The internationally recognized Label Rouge requires compliance with stringent standards to ensure the best quality products for consumers. This includes specifications for feed that limit the types and amounts of ingredients that farmers can use across the lifecycle of the salmon. In a recently approved update to these specifications, insects can now be included in the diets of juvenile (freshwater) salmon – marking a significant shift for the Scottish industry towards a feed and food system with a lower footprint. This important watershed comes at a time when the industry is also increasingly putting larger smolt to sea.

Novel ingredients broaden the ingredients basket and are an important instrument in the sector’s toolkit as they push toward carbon neutrality by 2045. Protix’s insect meals have a carbon impact almost 89% lower than a similar soy alternative (soy protein concentrate) per kg while being a closer analog to the salmonids’ natural diets. Feed represents up to 80% of the carbon impact of the salmon sector, and innovation in this space drives demonstrable impact.

Landcatch supplies customers worldwide with high-quality salmon ova, fry, parr and smolts (juvenile fish) and is the first Label Rouge-certified company to have signed an agreement to use insect-derived feed in its operations. General manager Jarl van den Berg said, “Our salmon are bred with balance in mind, in line with our vision to set the standard in responsible animal breeding. This success underpins our mission of delivering premium quality, healthy and high-performing fish sustainably and profitably.”

Protix is the industry leader in insect ingredients. The company’s ethos is to operate as a positive force for the good by bringing the food system back into balance with nature. Business development manager, Michel van Spankeren, explained that “the approval of insect ingredients in one of the world’s most stringent quality labels marks another big step for the insect industry. We aim to serve up the most sustainable salmon on consumers’ plates and know that we can only do this in collaboration with forward-thinking partners. Seeing this coming to life is fantastic.”