Reports from EuroTier 2018

Dutch insect feed producer in tie-up with Agrifirm

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

The collaboration would look to address, among other activities, specific health aspects in broiler and pig production by exploiting the microbial properties of insect ingredients. © GettyImages/metamorworks
The collaboration would look to address, among other activities, specific health aspects in broiler and pig production by exploiting the microbial properties of insect ingredients. © GettyImages/metamorworks
Dutch feed and agribusiness group, Agrifirm, and insect protein and oils producer, Protix, have announced that they will be collaborating on a range of new initiatives using insect-based ingredients in products for the broiler, layer and pig sectors in the Netherlands, and beyond, as well as targeted applications for soil improvement.

Dick Hordijk, Agrifirm’s CEO, said the group sees a clear opportunity to develop more products such as OERei, which is Protix’s live larvae fed egg brand, stocked by Netherlands supermarket giant, Albert Heijn, and is also in the stores of a more regional Dutch food retailer.

Protix’s range of insect derived products - ProteinX, LipidX and Bloosom - are based on the black soldier fly (BSF).  The Dutch insect feed firm is looking to significantly expand its production capacity in the Netherlands, a goal that will be fully realized in around May 2019, when its second facility comes on stream.

We caught up with Tarique Arsiwalla, co-founder and chief commercial officer, Protix, at EuroTier 2018 this week to hear more about the alliance with Agrifirm.

“Protix is based in the Netherlands, and we have close relationships with many companies [in that market]. Agrifirm covers both animal nutrition and the plant and soil business. It is active in both, that makes it more extra interesting for us, because, at Protix, we don’t only produce insect [derived feed] nutrients but also a natural soil enhancer containing high organic content [and additional micronutrients] that we want to deliver to the right markets.”

He said the professionalism, the support and the rigor provided by a company like Agrifirm, along with its huge network, would allow it to bring such products to market more rapidly.

It is a non-exclusive cooperation.

“We are not restricted in terms of working with other companies. We already work with [Dutch piglet feed company] Coppens on the lipids front. But, by working more closely together, we hope we can develop something new and exciting with Agrifirm.”

Different animal species have different challenges. The collaboration would look to address specific health aspects in broiler and pig production, for example, by exploiting the microbial properties of insect ingredients and, in the case of broilers, by adjusting the behavior through feeding them a combination of live grubs and dry feed, he explained.   

The new alliance will focus on the markets where Agrifirm is most active – the Netherlands, Belgium and Poland.

Legislation latest   

Insect derived fats can be used in all farmed animals in the EU, but insect meal can, currently, only be used in pet food and farmed fish in the region.

Arsiwalla said his best guess is the legislation to allow the use of processed insect protein in poultry in the EU will be in place in 2020, but that, hopefully, an earlier deadline of 2019 can still be achieved.

He said the recent annual conference (held November 6, 2018) of IPIFF, the European umbrella organization representing the interests of the insect production sector for food and feed, heard from an EU Commission spokesperson on that very topic.

“Brussels is very positive about having insect meal available for use in poultry production.”

He said the DG Santé representative told the delegates that while a 2019 deadline might be a stretch, it certainly won’t be as long as five years away before processed insect protein would be authorized for use in poultry feed in the EU.

Decision making on this is currently focused on coupling approval for the use of insect protein with approval for the use of processed animal protein (PAPs) derived from non-ruminants in feed for non-ruminants of a different species. “That makes it more complex.”

Global ambitions

Protix has global ambitions, said the co-founder.

It is involved in a project with Bühler that has the goal of developing insect ingredient manufacturing capabilities in different locations worldwide.  

The upcoming second Protix facility in the Netherlands will serve as a modular and scalable blueprint for future projects.

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