Irish marine food ingredients company receives state investment
Bio-marine Ingredients Ireland (BII) has received funding of EUR 750,000 (USD 874,586) from Enterprise Ireland to develop value-added protein products for human consumption from fish sourced in Irish waters.
BII recently commenced full commercial production at its EUR 12 million (USD 14 million) processing facility in Lough Egish, County Monaghan, and the latest investment follows completion of a EUR 4 million (USD 4.7 million) funding round by the marine ingredients company earlier this year.
According to BII CEO Jason Whooley, with ongoing food ingredient inflation and a rising demand for quality protein in the food manufacturing sector, there is “a strong and increasing demand” for marine derived nutritional and bioactive ingredients which can both substitute and be complementary to vegetable and animal ingredients.
Whooley said that collaborative initiatives are advanced with a number of Irish universities and negotiations are progressing with some major food companies regarding end-products. Opportunities have also been identified in the Asia Pacific market for protein fortification, with the global protein ingredients market projected to be worth USD 39 billion (EUR 33.4 billion) by 2020.
The Monaghan facility has capacity for 12,500 metric tons (MT) of fish, with blue whiting providing the plant’s principal source of raw material.
BII has also secured planning permission for a second, larger marine ingredients processing facility in Killybegs, County Donegal, which will cost an estimated EUR 35 million (USD 40.8 million) to develop and will have capacity for 120,000 MT of fish. Construction is provisionally scheduled to begin in 2018.
The company is a joint-venture between the Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation and Norwegian firm Biomarine Science Technology.
Most of the raw material will be purchased from processing plants in Killybegs with 750,000 MT of blue whiting being fished off the Irish coast annually.