Big grain moves on fish oil substitutes

Matt Jones
April 20, 2017
By Matt Jones

As aquaculture continues to produce an increasingly larger portion of seafood consumed in the world, it also becomes a larger and more lucrative market. In recent years that market has attracted the attention of a variety of big grain trading companies that have sought to diversify their products. Companies such as Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge Ltd and Terra Via shared with Aquaculture North America (ANA) why they wanted to become a part of the aquaculture market.

“ADM has both the production scalability and a global supply chain well-positioned to service many of the requirements of the aquaculture industry and took this as opportunity to help producers with this challenge,” says Alex Anderson, sales manager for ADM Animal Nutrition. “With demographic trends driving rapid demand and growth, aquaculture represents one of the fastest growing segments of the feed industry. Feed costs, across all species, represent over 50 percent of all production costs. As feed prices increase, producers will continue to look for alternative feed and feed ingredients.”

ADM offers “customer-focused initiatives” in the areas of complex proteins, fish meal and fish oil replacements, as well as health, wellness and nutrition solutions. One of their most notable products is DHA NATUR, which is dried algal biomass, and a highly concentrated, Omega-3 fatty acid and vegetarian source of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), produced by a heterotrophic process at their facility in Clinton, Iowa.

Bunge Ltd’s foray into the aquaculture sector came as a result of their partnership with Terra Via.

“I think it becomes a logical path to explore what you can do with the material you already have,”

says Miguel Oliveira, the company’s vice-president of Global Innovation. “Pretty much everything we introduce ends up feeding animals across the world. In a way, finding higher value applications for feed in the fish segment is one of our strategic drivers. It quickly became apparent that the capability the technology affords would allow you to play in that market too.”

From Terra Via’s perspective, Walter Rakitsky, senior vice-president of Emerging Business, says that the company has long sought opportunities to expand the use of their technology platform, spanning everything from pharmaceuticals to fuels to chemical food ingredients.

“I would say in the last three to five years, we’ve started to emphasize more human and animal

nutrition and looking for opportunities to create real value out of products with our technology platform and with the assets that we co-own with Bunge in Brazil,” says Rakitsky. “We’ve always looked at our micro algae technology platform as having the ability to address many different markets. We saw a real need as well as an opportunity in the Omega-3 space to create the capacity that we have now to deliver these Omega-3s.”

Bunge and Terra Via’s joint partnership developed the feed ingredient AlgaPrime DHA (See ANA July/August 2016, page 27).

Oliveira says that their partnership was very beneficial – with Terra Via supplying their technological muscle, there were few infrastructure investments needed to be made on Bunge’s side. He also notes one of their biggest advantages is that they have a product that’s already on-sale as opposed to developing an idea that will still need to be produced into a working form.

“I think that helps significantly to introduce it in the marketplace,” says Oliveira.

Matt Jones

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