Insect meal
Raw materials
Field trial

Black Soldier Fly – a protein for today and for the future

In light of recent developments in guidelines issued by the European Union, more and more companies are seeking ways to incorporate sustainable practices into their everyday operations. In aquaculture, one way to introduce sustainable fish production is to go the extra mile and test various raw materials, which may potentially substitute the currently used ones.

                Aller Aqua, as one of the industry leaders and a company that embrace innovation and forward thinking, has been working towards that goal for some time now. In partnership with Aller Aqua Research and Development, we are cooperating with several academic institutions to explore and identify potential new raw materials, which may be even better than the originally used raw materials both in terms of performance and sustainability. There are several on-going projects, and to name a few, at the beginning of 2024, Aller Aqua Norway AS was awarded 10 million Norwegian kroner (NOK) to investigate the potential use of grass protein in feeds for aquaculture. Another project undertaken by Aller Aqua focused on crab protein as a possible ingredient in aquafeed.

                Recently, in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and Austevoll Elaks AS, a Norwegian salmon producer, Aller Aqua tested insect protein as a potential aquafeed ingredient. The insect meal is made from the black soldier fly (Hermetia illucens), and the insect meal and oil that comes from the black soldier fly is suitable for many aquaculture species, including both fish and shrimp species. The insect has been approved as one of the few insect species to be used as feed in aquaculture by the European Union.

"Insect meal is already a proven raw material for the aquaculture industry that is suitable for both fish and shrimp feed production in terms of nutrition and palatability. It is an easy raw material to formulate with, which creates no challenges in the feed factory process. From the trials conducted with insect meals we also see some initial observations that indicate that there is a positive effect on fillet quality and taste with inclusion of insect meal in, for instance salmon feed."

Jesper Clausen,

Group Director for Research and Development

Aller Aqua Group

Austevoll Melaks, together with Aller Aqua and in cooperation with the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, conducted trials using insect meal containing black soldier fly larvae at his salmon farm in Norway. The company began their business activities in 1976, when Edvard Melingen, the CEO of Austevoll Melaks, was merely 19 years old. Thanks to his long-standing experience in the industry, he is able to precisely differentiate between the types of salmon Austevoll has managed to grow throughout that time. The first series of trials has already ended, and both Aller Aqua's and Austevoll's specialists have evaluated the end product by conducting a taste test among a selected sample group.

"At Austevoll we have witnessed the salmon is superior on several counts. It grows better; it has better colouration, 70 per cent in a taste-test preferred the salmon fed with insect meal in the feed."

Sturle Skeidsvoll

Business Development Manager

Aller Aqua Norway

Aller Aqua, in cooperation with Protix, a producer of insect-based products, conducted benchmark trials between a traditional fish diet and a diet with the inclusion of insect meal. It turned out that there were no negative impacts in terms of performance, FCR, and fish survivability.

Those findings offer an exciting glimpse into the future of not only feed composition but also the whole aquaculture sector. The industry is making good progress on usage and research of alternative protein sources, and this will continue also in the future.. Aller Aqua will stay committed to the task and continue its cooperation with academic institutions, suppliers of the novel ingredients and farmers to progress the aquaculture sector and ensure that the future for aquaculture is bright and sustainable.

Black soldier fly meal in feed for aquaculture

Aller Aqua tests aqua feed containing insect meal made from the black soldier fly at Austevoll Melaks in cooperation NMBU |(Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

Feeding Atlantic Salmon with black soldier fly larvae meal instead of soy protein concentrate improved fillet firmness, juciness, and taste, while at the same time increased salmon yield without adverse welfare effects. This sustainable feed alternative enhances both the quality and marketability of farmed salmon.