The use of insects in aquatic feeds has recently been approved in both Europe and the United States, and the idea is growing in popularity across the globe. During his presentation at Aquafeed Horizons 2018, Tarique Arsiwalla, founder of Protix, shared his insights on the benefits of using insects to feed aquatic species, especially carnivorous fish.
“Insects are a very natural source of nutrients for fish in the wild, particularly carnivorous fish,” stated Mr. Arsiwalla. “Trout, for example, are used to catching insects of different sorts in the wild. Wild salmon also eat insects in the freshwater stage. It completely makes sense to start using them now that the availability it really there.”
“Insects have the potential to become a great new ingredient rich in protein that is very digestible and logical to use from a sustainability point of view,” he continued.
Protix has worked together with the International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed (IPIFF) and policy makers in Europe to navigate the regulatory framework that has resulted in the approval of insect use in feed.
“It’s a big step to start using new ingredients, but people are really interested in novel sources of protein in general,” explained Mr. Arsiwalla. “It has been received with open arms.”
According to Mr. Arsiwalla, the industry is not yet ready to provide bulk feed materials but there are existing opportunities to start production, particularly in the early stages of production.
“People are willing to pay a bit more for a fish that is produced in a logic sustainable manner very close to nature,” stated Mr. Arsiwalla. “Quite sizeable segments of consumers are willing to spend money on it.”
‘We are currently producing an insect-fed trout that is sold to high-end restaurants,” Mr. Arsiwalla continued. “It spills over to consumer aware segments wanting to go for quality and a transparent chain, knowing where the food comes from and how it is produced.”
Protix is also developing technologies for the grower stage and starting to reach into more mainstream production. The company has also recently started a new partnership with Bühler to build insect production factories across the globe. They are building factories for third parties outside of their own company in an effort to accelerate the global availability of insect products.