Thai Union trialing Calysta FeedKind alternative protein shrimp feed
Thai Union Group has begun a trial partnership with Calysta that will see its alternative protein ingredients in Thai Union’s proprietary shrimp feed.
Announced at the 2019 Seafood Expo Global, the partnership will involved Thai Union using Calysta’s FeedKind feed as a replacement for the 10 percent of its shrimp feed previously sourced from wild-catch fisheries, according to Thai Union Responsible Sourcing Manager Tracy Cambridge.
The partnership is still in its early stages, and FeedKind-fed shrimp produced by Thai Union are still not available on the market, Cambridge told SeafoodSource. The first product available to the public was sampled at a reception at Seafood Expo Global hosted by Thai Union on Wednesday, 8 May.
“The two pillars the company wants to stand for and be known for are innovation and sustainability,” Cambridge said. “This represents a real sweet spot working in the intersection between them, and is resulting in some really good product quality as well.”
Calysta President and CEO Alan Shaw said FeedKind will enable Thai Union to increase its output to meet growing global demand for shrimp while at the same time reduce the company’s reliance on fishmeal made from wild fish.
"Thai Union is one of the world's largest seafood producers and, like us, they are committed to improving sustainability and traceability in the shrimp farming industry – making this partnership a significant moment for the seafood sector,” Shaw said in a press release.
The partnership involves Calysta sending its United Kingdom-produced feed to Thai Union’s production facilities in Thailand, where the pellets are broken down and recombined into Thai Union’s proprietary feed blend, which is also made from fish oil rendered as a byproduct from its tuna processing operations.
Cambridge said that in trials, the shrimp it grew using FeedKind showed no discernable differences from its standard product, including having nearly identical growth rates, taste, and smell.
“Everything was the same, except that we had removed the 10 percent of the feed that contained wild-caught fish,” she said.
The partnership between Calysta and Thai Union has its origins in the 2018 Our Oceans Conference in Bali, Indonesia, where Shaw met Darian McBain, Thai Union’s global director of corporate affairs and sustainability. McBain approached Shaw about the possibility of a partnership, in line with the company’s SeaChange sustainability strategy.
“Thai Union is always looking for innovative ways to bring greater traceability and more sustainable products to market," McBain said. "By working with FeedKind, we are able to offer shrimp that have been grown using feed that has completely replaced the fish caught for fishmeal in the feed with an innovative alternative protein.”
McBain said the fact that the protein has a unique carbon signature that helps provide traceability and reduce seafood fraud is another “significant” benefit.
Shaw said that benefit will help Thai Union demonstrate its commitment to transparency.
"Calysta's aim is to help create a future where the world's growing population has guaranteed food security,” he said. “By introducing a sustainable alternative protein that allows us to determine whether a shrimp was fed FeedKind protein with a simple test, FeedKind offers the industry a new level of transparency."