The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund is behind the INvertebrateIT project that kicked off last April and runs until March 2019. The initiative looks to help aquaculture businesses mitigate their current dependence on "costly, volatile, and often unsustainable" fish feeds.
In November 2017, INvertebrateIT announced an open contest to find and support projects and companies with the most innovative approaches to production targeted at sustainable fish feeds, competitive aquaculture and integrated waste management.
The organizers said that while many of the 11 high-quality proposals it received were found to be investment-ready, three projects stood out to the international jury of four renowned experts, who valued their "readiness and potential impact" including:
- EntoGreen, led by Ingredient Odyssey in Portugal, which aims to create up to 60 jobs by recycling up to 1000 tons a month of organic waste from maize agriculture by using it to feed insects and subsequently producing high quality proteins and oils for aqua feeds.
- Project IPATAC, which is led by InnovaFeed in France, a company set to commercialize the first insect-fed farmed fish in Europe, and is aiming to engage with consumers and investors to fulfil their plans to expand into new regions and species, and
- Project MUSFLOUR, led by Mariscos Punta Sinás in Spain, which focuses on marine invertebrates and aims to recycle large quantities of available scraps coming from mussel aquaculture and processing for use in farmed fish feed.
“These three projects will now benefit from an INvertebrateIT-led capacity-building process to accelerate and expand their market potential, aiming to implement them into public-private partnerships in EU Atlantic regions.”
They will all be promoted at the Blue Invest event in Brussels in May, and the team behind INvertebrateIT said it would set up a focused brokerage event at AQUA 2018 in Montpellier, France in August.
Investors backing French insect protein player
In February this year, we reported on how regional and private funds had invested €15m in InnovaFeed, which is based in Evry in France
The round was led by Alter Equity with participation from Finovam Gestion, IRD Group’s Nord Création, and Siparex-managed fund Nord France.
“This is our second round of investment. Our first round was in 2016, which enabled us to fund our first factory, located in Cambrai, in the north of France, and operational since October [with 1,000 ton per year capacity]. The €15m we secured in [the latest round] will go towards the construction of our second industrial site, which will have capacity of 10,000 tons per year,” Maye Walraven, marketing and business development at InnovaFeed, told us then.
Auchan trout tie-up
The company, which was established in 2015, produces and markets meal and oil extracted from the Black Soldier Fly, Hermetia Illucens larva, as well as fertilizer made with insect droppings.
Last October, it announced a tie-up with French supermarket chain, Auchan, whereby that retailer’s listed trout farmers would use meal incorporating InnovaFeed's insect protein in their production.
The plan is to replace all of the Auchan own brand trout in the next year with the insect fed trout and, the following year, to do the same transition with salmon.