BioMar reaches 1 million tonnes of salmon feed with microalgae

This month, BioMar hit a major sustainability milestone with the adoption of microalgae omega 3s into feed diets. This has been achieved through the help of value chain collaborations where all players, from the raw material suppliers to the retailers, have equally shared the additional costs. Marine ingredients are a finite resource, and by including microalgae in aquaculture diets, we can help stabilise the pressure on fish stocks.

“By including microalgae in aquaculture feed diets, we can bypass the wild fish stocks and go straight to the original source of essential omega 3s. This helps to relieve pressure on our oceans while ensuring that the fish are getting the optimal nutrition required”, said Vidar Gundersen, Global Sustainability Director, BioMar Group.

The innovation process began back in 2013 with the first microalgae oil, AlgaPrime, in commercial salmon feeds realised in 2016. The first mover was Kvarøy Fiskeoppdrett, in a value chain collaboration with BioMar towards Whole Foods, where the additional innovation costs were spread equally across the partners. Not long after, Lerøy adopted microalgae in all their salmon diets. Lerøy's substantial feed volume helped AlgaPrime achieve commercial viability. Today, microalgae oil is a common ingredient in BioMar salmon feeds.

“To bring something this novel to market required the support from the entire value chain. We found this among several salmon farmers and retailers that were willing to take a chance on microalgae and today’s success is owed to them all. Also, to the numerous people in BioMar production sites that found solutions to some challenging technical issues that we experienced over the years”, said Paddy Campbell, VP Salmon Division, BioMar Group.

Microalgae is one of several novel ingredients in the BioMar innovation pipeline. With limited planetary resources, the need to decouple aquaculture feed supply chains from directly competing with food for human consumption will increase. BioMar recently announced an ambitious target of 50% circular and/or restorative ingredients in their aquaculture feed diets by 2030.

BioMar continues innovation towards securing raw material flexibility and low impact feed solutions with several trials underway at various BioMar Aquaculture Technology Centres. These trials continue to deliver valuable insights that will help drive the aquaculture industry even further towards a more sustainable future.

“Through our partnership with BioMar, we’ve seen strong adoption of AlgaPrime™ DHA and have shown our ability to make a significant impact on the aquaculture industry over a short period of time,” said Marc den Hartog, Executive Vice President of Innovation Platforms at Corbion. “AlgaPrime™ DHA is helping to provide consumers with options that are better for their families and the environment and meeting retailer and consumer demand for healthy and more nutritious seafood.”

Enhancing Nutrition Responsibly

Today, salmon brands that include AlgaPrime™ DHA are now available in US, UK and EU markets – offering consumers farmed raised salmon with an improved sustainability and nutritional profile. In addition, AlgaPrime™ DHA-fed salmon has been included in ready-to-eat and meal kit delivery services – providing consumers with algae-fed salmon through multiple retail touch points.

Developed to reduce dependency on marine fisheries and enhance the nutritional value of seafood, AlgaPrime™ DHA is a native, whole algae ingredient that contains approximately three times the level of DHA of fish oil. AlgaPrime™ DHA is a clean and sustainably produced ingredient through fermentation-based cultivation with non-GM cane sugar as a feedstock. It allows incorporation at high levels without concerns of PCB and dioxin accumulation that can be an issue for some forage fish and fish oil.

“At BioMar, we’ve seen increased global demand for feed formulated with alternative ingredients, such as AlgaPrime™ DHA, due to their nutritional performance and sustainability excellence,” said Vidar Gundersen, Global Sustainability Director at BioMar. “Our aquaculture feeds with AlgaPrime™ DHA continue to be adopted and trusted by salmon farmers, as they look to improve the omega-3 content and sustainability profile of their salmon.

Since 2016, Corbion has been producing AlgaPrime™ DHA at large industrial scale relevant to the needs of the aquaculture industry. Unlike other resources such as fish oil, which can fluctuate on supply and price, AlgaPrime™ DHA is a reliable and consistent source of omega-3s.

The significant growth of BioMar feed with AlgaPrime™ DHA is the latest in a series of milestones that shows demand for algae-fed salmon among brands and retailers. In addition to the expanding industry and retail footprint, AlgaPrime™ DHA was awarded the 2017 Global Aquaculture Innovation Award by the Global Aquaculture Alliance, which recognizes individuals and companies finding new solutions to the key challenges facing the aquaculture industry.