A spokesperson for the Norwegian seafood company told us it has decreased the quantities of fish oil used in its salmon production by 15 to 20% as a result.
Danish group, BioMar, has produced the new salmon feed for Lerøy. It integrates the TerraVia/Bunge developed microalgae ingredient, AlgaPrime DHA, which is said to have levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) three times higher than that of fish oil, along with plant based raw materials and other components.
“We had been looking for an alternative for fish oil, high in the healthy fatty acids, for a long time. By using the microalgae in combination with fish oil, we will be able to keep our level of the healthy fatty acids in the salmon also in the future,” she said.
Lerøy salmon farms have already been using the new feed formulation, but only on a limited scale.
The Norwegian group, today, announced a scale up in production incorporating the new formulation. From next month, it will use this feed "for salmon at the 1kg stage until slaughtering.”
The spokesperson said the new feed formulation enables Lerøy to achieve high omega-3 levels - 7.5% EPA/DHA – in its salmon range.
The level of omega-3 fatty acids in the fish is dependent on season, the size of the fish and the total fat level of the fish, said Harald Sveier, technical manager, Lerøy. "In standard Norwegian salmon feed, 6% of the fatty acids is the omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA. Lerøy has always used 7.5% as a minimum in our feeds. The 25% higher omega-3 level in the feed is reflected in a higher level in the filet. The exact level is influenced by several factors," he told FeedNavigator.
Asked whether the retail price of Lerøy salmon products would remain stable or would increase due to the dietary modifications, she said: “It is difficult to tell. The cost of the feed has increased some, but we [still] have to see how this will influence the [retail] price.”
Lerøy claims its farmed salmon contains higher levels of omega-3s and a more natural n6/n3 and DHA/EPA ratio that its competitors’ products on the Norwegian market.
BioMar and Lerøy heavily collaborated in the rollout of AlgaPrime DHA.
The ingredient is produced at the TerraVia and Bunge joint venture SB Renewable Oils facility located in São Paolo, Brazil. That facility is co-located with Bunge’s Moema sugar mill that processes sugarcane from the surrounding fields. The companies said it is produced with low carbon, water and land use impacts.
BioMar took the lead in in developing and testing feed with the microalgae product. Since September 2016, the Danish feed producer has sold over 40,000 tons of newly formulated feed to salmon farmers in Norway, UK and Chile, but the bulk of that volume went to Lerøy.
While BioMar is currently targeting the salmon market with its algae meal, it has not ruled out using it in other fish species as well.