Enterra sees potential for market growth after regulatory approvals

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Feed ingredient Canadian food inspection agency

© GettyImages/Kimree
© GettyImages/Kimree
Insect feed ingredient producer Enterra is seeing new markets open as regulatory approvals for insect ingredient use expand in US, Canadian and EU markets.

The British Columbia-based company announced Wednesday that it had received several new regulatory approvals to expand the in-feed uses of the ingredients it sells in the US and Canada.

Enterra produces black soldier flies on pre-consumer waste food to generate several feed ingredients, including black soldier fly larvae meal, whole dried larvae and an oil product, it said.

Overall, the new approvals will allow the insect-focused feed ingredient company to expand its market reach, said Victoria Leung, manager of marketing and operations with Enterra.

“The successes in the past couple years, along with these recent approvals, have allowed us to sell to many more customers than ever before,”​ she told FeedNavigator.

“When we first started the company, we were only able to sell product in Canada to pet food manufacturers, because pet food is not regulated in the same way as other animal feeds in this country,” ​she said. “Insects are considered a novel feed ingredient and need to go through the full application and review process with the CFIA [Canadian Food Inspection Agency] in Canada and the FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] in the US.”

The market reaction to the insect-based feed and pet food ingredients has been positive, said Leung. “Many animals eat insects in the wild – it’s a natural feed ingredient for them,” ​she added.

“Customers in the poultry sector are excited about being able to offer a healthy, natural feed supplement that is made in Canada,” ​she said. “The aquaculture industry needs a sustainable alternative to fishmeal, and all of the major feed companies have been following the insect industry very closely.”

Regulatory approval

In Canada, the new approvals expand the types of poultry and fish that can use Enterra’s insect-meal as a feed ingredient, said Enterra. The company received approval in 2017​ from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to use its whole dried larvae product in feeds for salmonids following a 2016 approval for use of the product in the diets of broiler chickens.

The newly approved use allows the feed ingredient to be included in feeds for multiple forms of poultry including chickens, ducks, geese and turkey, the company said. “Our first approval in Canada was specifically for broiler chickens, as there was more trial work that needed to be done for layers,”​ added Leung.

“Some customers were hesitant to launch products that might be used for both broilers and layers,”​ she said. “Now that we have a more general poultry approval, which includes broilers and layers among other birds, this gives our customers the confidence to launch products in full compliance with CFIA.”

The new approval also allows for the whole insect ingredient to be used in tilapia diets, according to Enterra.

“As for tilapia, we had customers wanting to make feed specifically for this species, so we’re excited to be able to work with them on this now,”​ said Leung.

In the US, the new approvals allow for use of the company’s black soldier fly larvae meal in feeds for salmonids - a group that includes salmon, trout and arctic char. The insect meal approval marks the first time that an insect meal product has been allowed for use in aquaculture production in North American, added Andrew Vickerson, chief technology officer at Enterra.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) approval for use of the insect-based protein meal in fish feeds comes after a 2016 approval for the use of Enterra’s whole dried larvae, the company said. In addition to AAFCO support, information about the protein meal and the change in ingredient definition was reviewed and supported by the FDA.

The protein meal is similar to fishmeal and is a source of amino acids, said Leung. It could be used to replace amounts of fishmeal in salmonid diets.

“We’ve spent a lot of time working with universities on trials and working with CFIA and FDA to get our products approved for use in other feeds,” ​she said. “The challenge is that each product (although all derived from the same insect) must be approved for each target species (salmonids vs tilapia vs poultry, etc.) in each jurisdiction.”

The company also has registered in the EU with the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) and is able to export insect feed ingredients to all EU countries, it said.

Insect production

The company does not disclose production amounts, said Leung. However, the amount of insects and insect-based products has increased in the last several years.

“We have increased production and sales significantly each year since we opened in 2014, and have plans to build 5 plants in the next 5 years in order to keep up with demand,” ​she said. “The next facility will be near Calgary, Alberta, Canada.”

That facility is currently in the detailed engineering design phase and is expected to see construction start soon, she said. It is anticipated that the site will launch toward the end of 2018.

The current production facility in Langley had reached its maximum capacity, the company reported. The new facility in the planning stages is set to be a larger facility.


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