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Foods of Norway uses wood, seaweed and other renewable bioresources to develop sustainable ingredients for animal feed. The feed has been tested on salmon and pigs.
European food production today relies largely on imported feed for animals. Fish farms in Norway, for instance, import 90 per cent of feed ingredients for salmon. Relying on imports to such an extent makes food production vulnerable, costly and highly carbon-intensive.
At the same time, global demand for food will continue to rise as the world’s population grows to an estimated 9.7 billion by 2050.
Farmers must produce 70 percent more food by 2050 in order to feed the world's population, and a sustainable increase in food production must largely come from efficiency-enhancing technologies, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
Many renewable bioresources, including wood and seaweed, are not suitable for direct human consumption, but can be used as feed for farm animals if upgraded through a biorefinery process. Foods of Norway uses cutting-edge research on processing and biotechnology to develop animal feed from such natural sources.
Wood can be converted to animal feed through modern methods of enzyme technology and fermentation. Tree biomass is transformed into cellulosic sugars and then to high-quality microbial feed ingredients, such as yeast for fish and other farm animals.
Seaweed has a natural low nutritional value, but Foods of Norway has developed a novel technology to upgrade the seaweed’s nutritional properties. Through use of a biorefining process, the seaweed is turned into sugars, nitrogen and other nutrients. These can be used in the fermentation of yeast as a protein source in animal feed.
Foods of Norway’s ground-breaking feed ingredients are not yet commercially available, but have been tested in trials with both Atlantic salmon and pigs. Results show that the ingredients promote a high feed intake and good animal health.
Novel animal feeds developed from non-food biomass could be essential to meeting the global food challenge without endangering the climate. They can help to strengthen food security, make the food production chain more sustainable, and expand the bioeconomy.
The new feeds could help individual food producers to cut costs by reducing imports, and encourage increased use of local suppliers. These renewable biomasses can also be produced in large quantities at a competitive cost.
Sustainable animal feed is in increasing demand, not only for agriculture, but also for the growing aquaculture sector. In Norway alone, the annual feed production for aquaculture is about 1.6 million metric tons, while for land-based animals it is about 1.8 million.
Foods of Norway has demonstrated in trials that yeast from blue and green biomass can be upscaled for commercial production.
Foods of Norway is a Norwegian Centre for Research-based Innovation (CRI) hosted by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). It has been in operation since 2015 and has an extensive network of industry partners, both in Norway and abroad.
Animal feed created from renewable biomass such as wood and seaweed
Successful trials with novel feeds for salmon and pigs
Reduces climate impacts, strengthens food security and animal welfare, and cuts costs