Speaking to FeedNavigator this week, Gonzalo Rodriguez, corporate marketing director at the French animal nutrition and health company, said a huge amount of its R&D resources are focused on the development of alternatives to finite marine resources for fish feed.
"And when we bought Pancosma to develop our additive range and expertise, the aqua feed components were particularly appealing," he said.
Early stage aqua feed, he said, is a priority but it requires a lot of expertise as it involves working at the micrometer scale: “Our acquisition of Bernaqua, a world-wide market leader in the hatchery feed market, last December means we now have the technical know-how to innovate at the pre-larvae stage in terms of the nutritional inputs needed for greater fish performance later on."
New aqua farm app
He said aquaculture is really a new sector in terms of technical development so feed companies have a lot to gain.
“A reduction in the environmental impact of the business has to be at the forefront of any innovation in the segment, and with this in mind, we have developed a tool for farmed fish producers that aims to optimize feed utilization and eliminate waste,” said Rodriguez.
A new tablet application, InMyFarm, helps producers manage aqua farms more systematically through analysis of a range of parameters from water temperature and quality, environmental status, feeding performance, and health and hygiene conditions, he said.
“We launched the tool globally in September 2014 after a pilot testing initiative involving eight farms in Brazil and six in Mexico,” said the marketing director.
The market for aqua feed, currently estimated to be around 41 million tons in 2014 is experiencing exponential growth, with expectations it will reach 250 million tons in 2040.
Tilapia and shrimp represent 80% of InVivo NSA's aqua feed business and it has a very strong presence in feed for those species in Brazil. It ranks third in terms of shrimp feed in Mexico. It also has a strong foothold in the pangasius market in Vietnam and the shrimp sector in Indonesia.
And Rodriguez said growth in Asia is a priority for the French group in all its feed segments.
“The French market today represents 38% of our business but we have an ambitious growth plan for the next 10 years, which places the Asian market firmly on our radar screen in terms of expansion.
We expect to grow organically there but, evidently, we will need to make acquisitions in this territory as well to meet our targets,” he added.
He said the new innovation center it is building at its HQ in Brittany, slated to come on line in the first quarter of 2016, will change how InVivo NSA fundamentally carries out its work.
“We intend to explore more and more the benefits of partnerships with universities or research institutes, or suppliers. We could envisage, perhaps, having a start-up company operating within the innovation facility, with our experts actively engaging with it on a novel feed ingredient, for example,” said Rodriguez.
The company is also ensuring its various departments work synergistically, and it has recently initiated annual meetings of its globally based specialists in each feed category to discuss and find ways to address the latest sector challenges. “All our monogastric experts are meeting in France next June, with a ruminant one to follow,” he said.
FeedNavigator also recently reported on a new chick pre-starter InVivo NSA developed. It can be read here.