Ecuador's largest shrimp feed manufacturer, Skretting, has partnered with Klaas Puul, a leading shrimp importer based in the Netherlands, and Dutch sustainable food ingredient suppliers Protix and Veramaris to supply supermarkets across Europe with more sustainable shrimp produced in Latin America. The largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands, Albert Heijn, is the first retailer to join the project in line with its sustainability agenda.
Supermarkets in northwest Europe are increasingly buying shrimp from Latin America. Nevertheless, distributors are also looking beyond the requirements of aquaculture certification to identify additional ways to reduce risk in supply chains and provide more sustainable seafood products. That quest includes, for example, sourcing deforestation-free soybeans but also increasing the use of novel ingredients and by-products in the feed, alternatives to marine ingredients.
In this context, three years ago Netherlands' shrimp importer Klaas Puul established a consortium together with the Nutreco-owned Skretting, and later Veramaris and Protix. Together, they decided to launch what they define as one of the most sustainable shrimp offerings on the market today.
"It's an exciting moment for Klaas Puul, which is taking its role in the shrimp supply chain to the next level by helping global retail organisations meet their environmental sustainability ambitions", said Alan Dale, CEO of Sykes Seafood and Ruskim in the UK, and Klaas Puul in the Netherlands. "Working with partners like Nutreco/Skretting, Veramaris and Protix shows us how instrumental we can be in bringing more sustainable shrimp products to consumers across Europe", he added.
Through this initiative, Skretting Ecuador will produce a new feed that will partially replace two ingredients, fishmeal and fish oil. Fishmeal will be replaced by Protix insect meal, made from black soldier fly larvae. Fish oil, meanwhile, will be replaced with Veramaris' MSC/ASC-certified algal oil. One hundred percent of the remaining marine ingredients will be sourced from seafood processing by-products, and all will be traceable to MarinTrust-accredited fisheries in Ecuador.
In addition, the soybeans in the feed will be sourced from deforestation-free and land-conversion-free origins. All this together will make this proposed feed "a significant improvement in terms of environmental responsibility compared with most conventional shrimp feeds on the market today", according to the announcement made by Veramaris. In the first stage the new feed will be used by Klaas Puul's suppliers in Latin America to produce sustainable shrimp for Albert Heijn, but possibly in the future other retailers in dedicated ponds in Latin America will use it as well.
As said, Albert Heijn is the first major food retailer in the Netherlands to commit to buying shrimp fed with this new sustainable food. The supermarket chain, the largest in the country, is looking to make its tropical shrimp supply chains more sustainable. The project fits in perfectly with its sustainability ambitions under the motto 'Together we make eating better the easy choice. For everyone'.
"This initiative is a great example of putting our purpose of Feeding the Future into action. Working closely with Nutreco's Corporate Sustainability Director José Villalón, Skretting Ecuador will deliver one of the most sustainable farmed shrimp feeds on the market today. This will help us meet the targets of our Sustainability RoadMap 2025, particularly ensuring 5-10% inclusion of novel ingredients in feed formulations", said Carlos Miranda, General Manager of Skretting-Ecuador.
The world leader in the manufacture and supply of aquaculture feeds recently inaugurated the Skretting Aquaculture Innovation (AI) Guayas Research Station in Ecuador with the objective of accelerating the introduction of more sustainable and innovative feeds in the shrimp farming industry. Last year, the Latin American country became the world's largest exporter and producer of shrimp.
Over the next three years, Skretting, Klaas Puul, Protix, and Veramaris will continue to improve the feed formulation in line with their own sustainability goals, taking advantage of developments within the field of shrimp nutrition, while adjusting to the rapidly changing ingredient market. Over time, the consortium partners will increase inclusion rates of insect meal and algal oil, and seek new options to further reduce reliance on marine ingredients. Moreover, the consortium will also ensure that all shrimp are produced from non-ablated broodstock and are ASC certified.