Metapod aims to square the feed circleInsect meal entrepreneurs Metapod are collaborating with Salmon Group. Photo: Metapod

Salmon Group is set to source locally-produced protein produced by Metapod from insect meal, which provides an alternative to usual soya and fishmeal feeds.

Metapod, based in western Norway, has developed technology to produce highly nutritious meal from grasshoppers and crickets, while also refining production waste from other food sectors to return this to the food chain.

“The way Metapod looks at resource management is completely in line with our sustainability work in practice, and does not exploit resources or land that could have been used for other food production,” said Salmon Group’s purchasing and feed manager Nils Inge Hitland.

“In addition, raw material from other food production that would not otherwise have been of similar value is used. This is the circular economically exactly!”

Farming insects on an industrial scale requires its own feed sources, and these are sourced from bread and brewery production and would otherwise have gone to waste. This makes production both area- and energy-efficient as making full use of otherwise poorly utilised food waste bonds carbon back into the value chain, while Metapod also benefits from waste heat from other production.

“Now that we are launching grasshopper production, this is primarily to meet the demand for new protein sources and nutritious food,” said Metapod CEO Fredrick Darien, commenting that as large scale cultivation of grasshoppers is a new ingredient in feed forf salmon and trout, Metapod’s team have developed their technology from scratch.

“This gives us control over every stage and production factor,” he said.

According to Nils Inge Hitland, Salmon Group makes constant adjustments to feed recipes to ensure optimal use and composition of all feed ingredients to ensure good animal health, low footprint and the best quality of fish.

“This adds to the range of measures we can take to achieve a feed that meets stringent requirements for more balanced resource management at every stage of the chain. We have to take an active part in this development, and the collaboration with Metapod is one such initiative, in line with the adjustments we made to the raw material composition in our feed in the summer of 2019,” he said.

“We can’t wait for others to make changes. It’s our responsibility as a business player to take this social responsibility.”

Fredrick Darien commented that until now, no Norwegian salmon or trout producer has used insect meal as a feed ingredient.

“It’s very exciting that an innovative and forward-looking grouping such as the Salmon Group, which accounts for such a large proportion of the production volume in Norway, is focusing on this. For us, this means that we can start large-scale production from day one and develop the concept further,” he said, adding that the current Covid-19 situation has highlighted the vulnerability of the world’s food supply.

“Producing locally and locally is probably going to become more important in the future to respond to many of today’s societal challenges. To be able to produce more sustainably, there will necessarily be requirements for shorter transport distances, the use of unused resources, reduced water consumption, the search for alternative protein sources and the creation of more local jobs,” he said.

“It’s important to find good, smart and lasting solutions to climate and environmental challenges that ensure that resources remain in the economy for as long as possible,” Nils Inge Hitland concluded.

“This can contribute to solutions that can be used globally and ensure food security and food security.”

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