Reports from Aqua 2018

Matching investors, farmers with SME innovators in aqua feed

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

The INvertebrateIT consortium led a matchmaking event at Aqua 2018 in Montpellier, France, aimed at connecting aquaculture farming and feed companies, researchers, investors and any other parties interested in the use of land and marine invertebrates for feeds, special ingredients and other services across the aquaculture industry.

We caught up with Luis Lozano, co-manager of the EU-funded INvertebrateIT project, to hear more.

He told us sustainable and competitive products for aquaculture feeds are urgently needed.

Invertebrates not only help meet the increasing demand for and rising cost of proteins and oils, but they also contribute towards resource efficiency and diversification, as well as a wide range of new applications and environmental services, he added.

Insects and certain marine organisms have been highlighted by top level institutions as a promising and necessary part of food production chains, due to their high conversion factors, and reportedly lesser environmental impact.

There are a growing number of SMEs getting involved in the sector, but they need support to get them to the next level, and that is where the consortium comes in, said Lozano.

At the consortium’s brokerage event in Montpellier this week, the winners of the recent INvertebrateIT open contest also got a chance to pitch their projects.

Those pitching at the Aqua 2018 platform included France-based insect protein, oil and fertilizer start-up, InnovaFeed, along with Portugal’s Entogreen, a company also using insect larvae for animal nutrition and organic fertilizer production and Spain’s Musflour, which is focused on converting mussel waste into flour for use in fish feed.

While the original objective of that open contest was to boost the investment readiness level of the winning projects to pre-commercial level, the organizers have acknowledged that the quality and status of the three chosen projects was more advanced than expected.  

INvertebrateIT partners include Technopole Quimper-Cornouaille from France, Spain’s Innogate to Europe and Cluster de la Acuicultura de Galicia, Portugal’s Fórum Oceano, the International Insect Centre from the Netherlands, and Ireland’s AquaTT and Marine Institute.  

Funding for French insect feed start-up

In February this year, we reported on how that French start-up​ had raised €15m in a funding round led by Alter Equity with participation from Finovam Gestion, IRD Group’s Nord Creation, and Siparex-managed fund Nord France.

In October 2017, the company 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.

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