Aquaculture Magazine February-March 2021 Vol. 47 No. 1

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Recent news from around the globe by By Suzi Dominy*

Have alternative proteins and oils begun to cross the chasm? In his iconic book, “Crossing the Chasm”, Geoffrey Moore identifies the stages of product acceptance as: innovators; early adopters; early majority; late majority and laggards. The model holds true in most sectors, including aquafeed. It looked for a while as though alternative proteins and oils for aquafeeds were pretty much stuck in the innovators stage, as developers struggled to scale up to commercial volumes, while the feed industry was, by and large, hesitant to take a risk on an unknown product.

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As we enter 2021, however, there are signs that there are more early adopters – and if the first F3 (Fish-Free Feed) webinar on insects in aquafeeds that was held in February is anything to go by, there is certainly no lack of interest. More than 21,000 people joined the live stream in China and from the Chinese website, FishFirst. Beyhan de Jong, senior analyst – Animal Protein at Rabobank, confirmed this assessment, saying in a recent report the insect industry is on a path to increase scale, backed by investments and partnerships. Efficiency gains due to increasing tech-

nology, automation, improvements in genetics and legislative changes will help bring down costs. “We believe 500,000 metric tons by 2030 will represent a turning point for the insect industry. After reaching half a million metric tons, it will get easier for the industry to expand supply,” said De Jong. From that point on, it will take much less time to double or even quadruple production volume and exceed one million metric tons. The pace of acceleration would depend on R&D, legislation changes, capital inflow to the sector and marketing. As de Jong stated, partnerships between protein and oil developers, investors, researchers and feed companies have proved key in the jump from innovators to early adopters, as readers of this column will know. Now one of the largest agrifood conglomerates, Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL (CP Foods) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chiang Mai University to develop insect-based protein from black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens). Under this MoU, CP Foods will fund the project and jointly develop the first smart farm for black soldier fly in Thailand.