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Sustainable aquaculture practices open doors to high-value markets in aquafeed additives

26 May 20206 min reading

A number of new feed formulation strategies have come to the fore to help the aquaculture operations attain all-round sustainability—social, economic, and community well-being. Numerous potential ingredients prove promising as aquafeed additives to enhance the nutritional profiles of the feed formulation for fish and shrimp.

Ganesh RAJPUT Assistant Manager Transparency Market Research

Aquaculture operations have been making continuous strides over the years, shaped increasingly by market and regulatory pressures. According to a projection by FAO, farm- raised -fish and shrimp will account for nearly two-third of overall seafood consumption worldwide by the end of 2030. This puts a substantial pressure on farm owners to improve the profitability of farmed aquatic species. Growing concerns about obtaining the right vitamin and mineral additives for aquatic animals are some of the key drivers contributing toward market growth.

NEED FOR BOOSTING PROFITABILITY IN AQUACULTURE OPERATIONS The worldwide drive for aquafeed additives gathered vigor from the need for increasing the profitability of these operations. These operations drive the production of fish oils and meals. The role of feed additives for improving the cost efficiency of feeding fish and shrimps thus occupies a central role, driving the evolution of the aquafeed additives market.

A number of new feed formulation strategies have come to the fore to help the aquaculture operations attain all-round sustainability—social, economic, and community well-being. Numerous potential ingredients prove promising as aquafeed additives to enhance the nutritional profiles of the feed formulation for fish and shrimp.

NUTRITIONISTS THRONG MARKET WITH NEW FEED STRATEGIES Companies in the aquafeed additives market have unveiled new mineral-rich additives to improve the nutritional profile. Potential additives that can act as anti-inflammatory or digestibility improver are gaining traction among producers. Nutritionists engaged in framing new feed formulation are looking for additives that can substantially increase digestive and metabolic activities in fish and shrimps. All these factors will help the aquafeed additives market to touch global valuation of ~US$ 2.2 bn by 2029-end. Among the various product types, amino acid based additives accounted for a sizable and leading share in the global market in 2019.

The aquafeed additives market sees rewarding opportunities in the use of phytomolecules, prebiotics, and organic acids in feed formulations. On the other side of the spectrum, players are also focused on containing the prices of fishmeal. The market will increasingly benefit the stakeholders from the cohesive efforts of producers, feed, and additive suppliers to increase the sustainability of aquaculture. The demand for new additives in the formulation of aquafeeds, especially for fish, opens new avenues for feed manufacturers. This is in large part affected by increasing the market prospects of fish oil products.

Natural feed additives are generating incremental opportunities for companies that cater to demanding needs of end users. Novel compounds such as phytomolecules, prebiotics, and organic acids are helping manufacturers to leverage the nutritional value of feed supplements. However, phytomolecules are not heat stable, and heat treatment increases the loss of phytomolecules in supplements, thus reducing their efficacy in aquatic animals. Hence, manufacturers in the aquafeed additives market should coat phytomolecules onto the feed with a drum or vacuum coater after pelleting. Manufacturers should tap opportunities in countries of Asia Pacific such as Vietnam and China to capitalize on the rising production of feed additives in these profitable countries.

ORGANIC ADDITIVES/INGREDIENTS GATHERING STEAM AMONG FARM OWNERS The advent of organic additives/ingredients proves promising for farm owners to counter the various challenges in aquaculture operations. In recent years, plant-based aquafeed additives are brimming with new opportunities for feed manufacturers. This segment presently holds more than 95.4% of the market share. Though microorganisms based aquafeed additives hold a share of less than 5%, they are a promising segment in the aquafeed additives market. The reasons for their popularity are better cost-effectiveness in the long run and higher functionality than many other types. The search for alternative protein sources by aquaculture nutritionists will spur advances in this direction, stridently.

FEED MANUFACTURERS AIM AT RETAINING THE NUTRITIONAL EFFICACY OF ADDITIVES On the other hand, feed manufacturers are testing new botanical extracts and phyto-botanical compounds to develop novel feed formulations. Loss of nutrients from supplements poses considerable challenge for manufacturers and farm owners. One way to overcome this, experts opine, is applying new ways of coating phytomolecules.

A host of strategies has also been gathering steam among manufacturers. A case in point is using emulsifiers for stabilizing phyto-molecules, and hence the nutritional profile. As a result, in key regions, the demand for liquid aquafeed additives has gained currency among market players. Another promising avenue comes from the application of experimental assays for plant proteins.

The search for health-friendly functional ingredients is opening new windows of opportunities in the development of better and cost-effective aquafeed additives. The technology trend is leading to a decline in fish or animal protein sources for making aquaculture additives, and further replacing them with plant-based protein sources.

ASIA PACIFIC BRIMMING WITH NEW AVENUES The market over the past few years have seen spike in production of feed additives to meet the needs of aquaculture operators. Regionally, Asia Pacific is fast emerging as a lucrative region, alongside North America and Europe. In particular, East Asia has been at the forefront of generating revenues in the regional market. Of the various countries, Vietnam, India, and Indonesia are the forefront of the revenue generation. A number of these countries are globally prominent suppliers of fish; for instance, Vietnam accounts for more than 90 percent of pangasius catfish supply.

Key regional markets are updating their guidelines in relation to the characterization of microorganisms to be used as aquafeed additives. Interested stakeholders are stressing on overcoming challenges in the use of these in the additives. An example is assessing the antimicrobial susceptibility.

In the past two years, European Food Safety Authority has been engaged in evaluating the viability of microorganisms in aquafeed additives. Players in recent years have taken such guidelines seriously to expedite the authorization of new aquafeed additives. Companies majoring in animal health and nutrition are coming forward to tap into the vast opportunity, most notably in countries of Asia Pacific. In other key regional markets, programs of empiric screening for aquaculture species have been gathering pace, expanding the scope for innovations in the aquafeed additives market.

AUTHOR BIO: An engineer by education, Ganesh ventured into digital marketing about six years ago. He is a proven expert in SEO content and has formulated strategies that direct traffic to websites. His sound awareness about people helps him understand the pulse of the audience. He brings a counter-intuitive thought to the discussion adding customer point of view which has become central to success in today’s digitally driven business.

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