The trout were produced by a co-operative of French farmers and processed by Truite Service, having been fed Skretting diets that contain insect meal from InnovaFeed – Europe’s largest producer of insect meal.
Auchan, a leading French retailer committed to responsible aquaculture, has made the insect-fed trout available in 52 supermarkets in the North and Ile-de-France, with plans to sell throughout France by the end of 2019.
The news follows on from a recent decision by some Norwegian salmon producers to use feeds containing insect meal, and Skretting sees “the commercialisation of the fish itself is a key milestone” in their bid to bring quality novel ingredients up to scale.
“The term ‘insect-fed fish’ applies only to aquaculture fish that meet two criteria – they have been fed a diet wherein at least 50 per cent of the fishmeal has been replaced by insect meal, and the fish have doubled in weight after the insect protein has been applied,” says Elodie Petit, Marketing Manager at Skretting France.
“Fish quality was an essential part of the process for us,” continues Petit. “Skretting research has enabled us to fully understand the impacts of changing raw materials on fish nutrition and final product quality, and we are very happy with the outcome.”
The sale of the insect-fed fish is the culmination of the efforts of the different players coming together to define the new specification to integrate and ensure optimal quality of the final product for the consumers.
“As a leader in fresh, high quality trout in France, we have been excited to be a player in this new phase for aquaculture,” says Laurent Terninck from Truite Service. “The fish have performed well; of course insects form a natural part of a wild trout diet, but we have been delighted that the new feed has been received well by the fish and shown great results in terms of growth, health and flesh quality.”
For InnovaFeed, this marks an important step in the development of the insect sector, and the company is keen to continue pioneering the commercial implementation of insect meal.
“A key focus for us is meeting the needs of one of the most dynamic sectors in the food industry – aquaculture. We are making a new source of protein from insect rearing (Hermetia illucens), and the protein produced is high-quality and able to replace more traditional ingredients,” says Maye Walraven, InnovaFeed. “We are very happy to see the ingredient implemented in fish that is now available to French consumers.”
All of the partners are located in the North of France, which makes it possible to promote a local supply in the store's fish markets, a key focus for today’s consumer.