The F3 Challenge is a sales competition to award prize monies to the contestants that produce and sell the most 'fish-free feed' within their designated category.
Designed to spark innovation in the aquafeed industry to find viable, cost-competitive aquafeed ingredients and feeds free of fishmeal and fish oil, to eliminate the need for inclusion of wild-caught fish and other marine animals in diets, the F3 challenge is run by a team comprising NGOs, researchers, and private partnerships; they work together to organize and administer the contest.
In this third on-going challenge, focused on carnivorous fish, the first benchmark is to submit feed samples that are verified to be ‘fish-free’. The second is to submit sales quantities.
The qualifying F3 feeds for all prize categories must not contain any ingredients consisting of or derived from marine animals, including but not limited to fish, squid, shrimp, or krill. The award is US$100,000 in each of three categories—salmonid, shrimp, and other carnivorous species.
Companies can form teams with other companies, with the Star Milling Co/The Scoular Company team leading in the salmonid category. The Empagran/Veramaris team is leading in the shrimp category, while Jiangsu Fuhai Biotech Co Ltd is in the lead in the other carnivorous species category with its largemouth bass feed, reported the F3 team.
A combined total of 145 metric tons (145,255 kg) of F3 feed was sold by the three competitors in the salmonid category, 2,951 metric tons (2,950,950 kg) of F3 feed was sold by the three competitors in the shrimp category, and 7.72 metric tons (7,720 kg) was sold by the two competitors in the other carnivorous species category.
Eight qualifying F3 feeds were submitted by the six contestants competing toward the $300,000 in prizes. Contestants began recording sales as of October 1, 2020 or after submitting their feed.
'Rising tide of novel ingredients disrupting the industry'
“We are pleased to see commercial quantities of fish-free feeds being produced by major mills and used on large farms. I believe we are seeing the rising tide of novel ingredients coming online disrupting the industry as the decreasing costs of the novel ingredients are matching the increasing costs of fishmeal and fish oil,” said Kevin Fitzsimmons, F3 Challenge chair and professor at the University of Arizona.
All sales reported by companies remain unverified. F3 Challenge judges will verify F3 feed sales prior to announcing the winners per the contest rules.
Sponsors of the F3 Challenge include the University of Arizona, The Campbell Foundation, Synbiobeta, The Nature Conservancy, University of Massachusetts-Boston, Anthropocene Institute, Dawson Family Fund, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Tides Foundation, Cuna Del Mar, the National Renderers Association and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.