InnovaFeed, an insect protein and oil manufacturer with a production site in the north of France and an R&D hub in Evry, near Paris, is collaborating with the French supermarket chain to develop a ‘more sustainable and responsible aquaculture industry’.
The two organizations signed a Joint Declaration of Intent for Aquaculture on Tuesday (October 17) in Paris.
Feed components are central to their objective, they said, with insect protein providing an alternative to the finite fishmeal supply as the aquaculture sector continues to expand.
Several fish farmers, listed by Auchan, are in the process of integrating InnovaFeed protein meal into the diet of their farmed trout.
“The first trouts [fed on our insect protein] will be sold in certain Auchan stories around March 2018,” said Guillaume Gras, co-founder of Innova Feed, which was established in 2015.
It is envisaged that, eventually, all of Auchan’s supermarkets in France would sell the insect fed farmed trout, noted Jacques Le Cardinal, head of fish marketing, Auchan. The retailer, which says it has been championing responsible fish trade for the past few years, has 140 hypermarkets and 276 supermarkets in France as well as convenience stories and e-commerce activities.
Gras told FeedNavigator that while the alliance is only about French trout production for the moment, the partners are looking to extend coverage to salmon production in northern Europe.
“This is a great partnership that gives feed manufacturers and fish farmers a concrete and reliable outlet. This guaranteed market enables them to take the risk to innovate with us.”
In terms of how the partnership with the retailer came about, Gras said:
“We analyzed that the key value of insect protein is not so much in its nutritional value, it resides in its sustainability and the possibility [it allows] to mimic the natural diet of wild trout/salmon.
“These aspects resonate better with the end consumer. Hence, we reached out to the retailers, who are in touch with consumers. Auchan quickly understood the marketing story and was willing to support us to make it happen.”
The EU aquaculture feed market for insect derived protein only opened in July this year, following a December 2016 vote of the EU Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCoPAFF), to endorse a Commission proposal to amend Annex IV to Regulation (EC) No 999/2001.