That was one of the conclusions of FeedNavigator’s inaugural face-to-face event, Feed Protein Vision, which took place earlier this week in Amsterdam.
Delegates attending Feed Protein Vision came from as far away as Japan and the US, while others were drawn from the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Ireland and the UK, among other countries.
Looking at other key findings from the one and a half day conference, we see that maintaining a high level of feed efficiency and animal welfare will also be important considerations as the protein debate continues.
Innovation is happening in novel protein technologies, and it is being backed by large agribusiness players. However, the producers must show real scalability of these new proteins in order to attract investors, and for the industry to buy into them.
Some of the delegates anticipated EU authorization for insect feed protein use in poultry and pig diets in 2019; it was stressed that feed grade raw materials must be used to rear insects to encourage EU feed industry interest in such a protein source.
The feed industry needs flexibility, so alternatives must be as cost effective as traditional protein sources. There could be challenges with unwanted contaminants in new feed ingredients, and a lack of knowledge about their use at certain life stages.
Crude protein reduction through amino acid fortification is certainly effective, and while relatively well established in Europe and North America, such a feeding strategy is beginning to be adopted in China and other Asian markets.
The merits of greater resource efficiency - of feeding Norwegian and Scottish salmon processed animal proteins (PAPs) - was also weighed up at the event.
A bridging workshop between the feed and food protein conferences, which actively involved delegates from both, included insight from McDonalds, WWF and retailers on why sustainable feed matters.
In summary, the presenters and delegates at Feed Protein Vision indicated the more options the industry has to choose from in terms of protein supply, in order to ensure aquaculture and livestock are more sustainable, economically and environmentally, in the future, the better.
However, they said it would be the market that decides which of those fishmeal or soy substitutes are the best fit.
Tune in next week and beyond for our selection of video round-ups from Feed Protein Vision.